Friday 7 June 2024 at 10:00 AM EDT, 4:00 PM CET

By Goldie Nejat  (University of Toronto, Canada)


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As the world’s older population significantly increases, dementia is becoming one of the fastest growing diseases, with no cure in sight. Socially assistive robots are a unique disruptive innovation that are becoming a crucial part of everyday society, aiding people in everyday life to meet urgent and immediate assistive needs and help minimize social isolation. This talk will present some of my group’s recent research efforts ( in developing intelligent socially assistive robots to improve quality of life and promote independence (aging-in-place) of older adults, including those living with dementia and their care providers. In particular, I will discuss some of my team’s many robots including Brian, Casper, Tangy, Blueberry, Salt and Pepper, and Luke and Leia that have been deployed successfully in human-centred environments from long-term care homes and hospitals to grocery stores to autonomously provide cognitive and social interventions, help with activities of daily living, and lead group recreational activities and therapies. Our novel multimodal interactive robots are serving as assistants to individuals as well as groups of users. Through the synergy of robotics and AI, they are learning to personalize these interactions to the needs and wants of these users by using perceptual, behavioral and persuasive intelligence. Numerous user studies conducted in care settings will also be discussed to highlight how these robots can effectively be integrated into people’s everyday lives to support person-centered care.

Presenter’s bio:

Dr. Goldie Nejat, Ph.D., P.Eng., is the Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society and a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. She is also the Founder and Director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory ( Professor Nejat is an Adjunct Scientist at both KITE in the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (University Health Network) and the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, and a Fellow of both ASME and CIFAR.
Dr. Nejat’s research focuses on developing intelligent service robots and robot cooperative teams for applications in health, eldercare, emergency response, search and rescue, security and surveillance, retail and manufacturing. Her ground-breaking robotics research is leading the development of intelligent socially assistive robots aimed at meeting the challenges posed by a rapidly aging population. She has been invited to speak about her research to scientists, healthcare professionals, policymakers, governments and the general public at many events, conferences and institutions around the world. She has served on the organizing, program and editorial committees of numerous international conferences and journals on robotics, automation, human-robot interaction and medical devices. She is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Social Robotics and is also a past Associate Editor for IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), and IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE). Her team’s work has been presented in over 100 media stories including in Popular Science, National Geographic Magazine, Time Magazine, Bloomberg, NBC News, the Telegraph, Reader’s Digest, and the Discovery Channel. In 2022, she received the Robotics Society of Japan (RSJ) Pioneering Research Award in Robot & Human Interactive Communication along with her students and collaborator. In 2022, she was also internationally recognized as 1 of 50 women in robotics you need to know by Women in Robotics for her inspiring contributions to robotics. In 2020, she received the Engineering Excellence Medal from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (PEO) and the Professional Engineers Ontario. Her other recognitions include the Engineers Canada Young Engineer Achievement Award, and the Young Engineer Medal from PEO.

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