Speaker: Maja J. Matarić, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Chan Soon-Shiong Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics; Interim Vice President of Research; Founding Director, USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center; Director, USC Robotics Research Lab, University of Southern California
Host: Dr. Ev Fedorenko
Date: December 9, 2020
Talk title: Socially Assistive Robotics as a Path to Accessible Personalized ASD Therapy Support
Abstract: The last decade has seen a convergence of technologies that make it possible for users to interact with intelligent agents in therapeutic settings. Concurrently, much research has been done into socially assistive robotics, physically embodied systems (typically designed to be small and safe) aimed at delivering personalized interactions for children on the autism spectrum, demonstrating promising results in improving various behavioral outcomes. In the absence of large-scale clinical trials evaluating such methods, it is important to not overlook their promise or overstate their abilities. What can socially assistive robots do, what have they already done to date, why aren’t they in many homes yet, how soon will they be in our homes, and what may that mean for ASD therapy and for early childhood development more broadly? This talk will discuss the science and technology, as well as commercialization, accessibility, and privacy implications of socially assistive robotics for ASD.