Research and Development Partners

Three research and development partners will develop algorithms and methods for deployment on socially assistive robots, and oversee the integration of technology and expertise from the other partners. All three investigators have a strong track record in socially assistive robotics, human-robot interaction, and in leading interdisciplinary teams.
Brian Scassellati
Brian Scassellati (PI)
Yale University
Brian Scassellati has extensive experience in socially assistive robotics and human-robot interaction, developmental modeling, and the development of technology for children with ASD (in collaboration with Dr. Volkmar and Dr. Paul). His responsibilities will include project oversight, development of cognitive models of social primitives, and the integration and deployment of therapeutic robots for children with ASD.
Maja Mataric
Maja Mataric (Co-PI)
University of Southern California
Maja Mataric has 20 years of experience in intelligent robotics research. Dr. Mataric has shown pilot results on the role of physical embodiment, personality, and robot adaptation on enhancing human engagement and task performance in play and rehabilitation tasks. She is also PI of a K-12 teacher-training site with Dr. Ragusa (outreach partner, see below). Her responsibilities will be to develop novel assistive HRI methods and to aid in evaluation.
Cynthia Breazeal
Cynthia Breazeal (Co-PI)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cynthia Breazeal brings to the project expertise in building socially interactive robots to support long-term interaction, personalization and adaptation. She recently developed and evaluated a novel social robot for weight management in a 6-week in-home study. She has also studied the role of non-verbal communication cues in trust and perceptions of persuasiveness and credibility. She will focus on long-term adaptation and personalization in early education settings.

Technology Partners

Four technology partners provide expertise in the creation of safe and robust autonomous systems, in machine perception, and in machine learning. They will provide component technologies that will be integrated into our demonstration systems and that will adapt existing best practices to the unique challenges of assistive technologies for children.
Aaron Dollar
Aaron Dollar
Yale University
Aaron Dollar brings expertise in both electromechanical design and rehabilitation robotics. He has previously developed robotic upper- and lower-limb prosthetics, wearable robots for gait rehabilitation, and novel designs for robotic hands. Dr. Dollar is also the co-founder and editor of RoboticsCourseWare.org, the open-access online repository for robotics curricula that we will use.
Kurt Konolige
Kurt Konolige
Willow Garage
Kurt Konolige is an expert on real-time robotics and machine vision systems. He is a Senior Researcher at Willow Garage and was previously a faculty member in the Computer Science Department at Stanford. Dr. Konolige brings extensive experience on designing and implementing real-time vision systems for mobile robotics.
John Morrell
John Morrell
Yale University
John Morrell has expertise on building integrated systems for the real world and on providing safe, controllable operation of robotic systems. He was the leader of the controls and software development for the Segway Human Transporter (http://www.segway.com) and the iBot wheelchair, a dynamically stabilized, stair climbing wheelchair (http://www.ibotnow.com).
Fei Sha
Fei Sha
University of Southern California
Fei Sha provides expertise on machine learning, in particular on manifold learning, speech and object recognition, and optimization algorithms for large margin classifiers. Dr. Sha will support our efforts to construct personalized systems that adapt to the unique learning methods used by individual children.

Application Partners

Seven investigators (Ackermann, Gidney, Paul, Schwartz, Spruijt-Metz, Volkmar and Wolf) provide domain expertise in addressing the educational needs of children. These application partners each share existing research ties with at least one of the research and development partners and will be involved throughout the design cycle to ensure that stakeholder needs are met.
Edith K. Ackermann
Edith K. Ackermann
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Edith K. Ackermann has 30 years of experience as a developmental psychologist and interaction designer. Her focus is on assistive robots which offers unique occasions to safely explore, enact, and address some of the hurdles that identity formation entails.
Calvin Gidney
Calvin Gidney
Tufts University
Calvin Gidney focuses on bilingualism, bilingual education, and second-language acquisition. Dr. Gidney will serve as consultant on the project as we focus on language acquisition issues of English-language learners.
Rhea Paul
Rhea Paul
Yale University
Rhea Paul studies child communicative disorders, including speech perception, prosody, and pragmatics in children, as well as the development of language-based literacy skills in school-aged children. Dr. Paul is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Daniel Schwartz
Daniel Schwartz
Stanford University
Daniel Schwartz is an expert in human learning in classroom settings and the use of agent technologies in STEM instruction. He is co-Director of the NSF Science of Learning Center, Learning in Formal and Informal Environments; he will focus on the social basis of learning.
Donna Spruijt-Metz
Donna Spruijt-Metz
University of Southern California
Donna Spruijt-Metz is an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is an expert in mobile health technologies to improve, prevent, and treat obesity in minority youth, as well as in measurement of diet and physical activity.
Fred Volkmar
Fred Volkmar
Yale University
Fred Volkmar is a world-renowned expert on autism and pervasive development disorders. He directs the Yale Child Study Center, an NIH Autism Center of Excellence, and is the editor of the widely cited reference book The Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
Maryanne Wolf
Maryanne Wolf
Tufts University
Maryanne Wolf is a renowned expert in early literacy, the origins of reading and language-learning. She is the Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts and is best known for her research on reading interventions.

Outreach Partners

Two investigators on our team (Ragusa and Resnick) will focus on bringing the results of our efforts directly to preK-12 classrooms. These outreach partners will aid in the development and deployment of curricula and readiness skill evaluations and the assessment of our outreach methods.
Gisele Ragusa
Gisele Ragusa
University of Southern California
Gisele Ragusa is the Director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation and the Associate Director of Outreach and Educational Assessment in USC’s NSF-funded BIoMimetic Engineering Systems ERC. Her research focuses on teacher education, measuring teacher efficacy, content area literacy, engineering education, assessment and measurement.
Mitchel Resnick
Mitchel Resnick
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mitchel Resnick develops technologies that engage children in creative learning experiences, including the "programmable bricks" that were the basis for the LEGO MindStorms and PicoCricket robotics construction kits. Resnick co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, an international network of after-school youth centers in low-income communities.

Evaluation Partners

Finally, the team includes two evaluation partners (Nass and Takayama) who have the responsibility of determining the efficacy of the developed methods and systems and for generating insights into human social abilities from the interactions of these systems.
Clifford Nass
Clifford Nass (Co-PI)
Stanford University
Clifford Nass will direct our efforts to characterize and evaluate the impact of the Expedition research. Dr. Nass is an expert in human-computer and human-robot interaction, the author of two widely-cited books, The Media Equation and Wired for Speech. He will lead the effort to characterize the impact that this technology has through experimental methods.
Leila Takayama
Leila Takayama
Willow Garage
Leila Takayama will co-direct our efforts to characterize and evaluate the impact of the Expedition research. Dr.Takayama is a researcher in human-computer and human-robot interaction, conducting studies with personal robots and tele-robotics. She will focus on evaluation of issues and variables that cut across the Expedition projects and application areas.