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Award Abstract #1208500

NRI-Small: Spacial Primitives for Enabling Situated Human-Robot Interaction

Div Of Information & Intelligent Systems
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Initial Amendment Date: July 17, 2012
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Latest Amendment Date: June 10, 2013
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Award Number: 1208500
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: William Bainbridge
IIS Div Of Information & Intelligent Systems
CSE Direct For Computer & Info Scie & Enginr
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Start Date: August 1, 2012
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End Date: July 31, 2017 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $758,000.00
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Investigator(s): Maja Mataric mataric@usc.edu (Principal Investigator)
Clifford Nass (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Southern California
University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0001 (213)740-7762
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NSF Program(s): National Robotics Initiative
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Program Reference Code(s): 7923, 8086, 9251
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Program Element Code(s): 8013


To enable natural and productive human-robot interaction (HRI), a co-robot must both understand and control "proxemics" -- the social use of space -- in order to communicate in ways commonly used and understood by humans. This project focuses on answering the question: How do social (speech and gesture), environmental (loud noises and low lighting), and personal (hearing and visual impairments) factors influence positioning and communication between humans and co-robots, and how should a co-robot adjust its social behaviors to maximize human perception of its social signals?

The project will develop principled computational models for the recognition and control of proxemic co-robot behavior in HRI using both telepresence and autonomous co-robots. The research will establish a foundational component of HRI for co-robotics, with specific impact on special needs users in socially assistive contexts -- particularly the elderly, both aging in place and in institutions -- with the goal of mitigating isolation and depression, and encouraging exercise and socialization.

Broader impacts: The work will inform robot design and control, and provide software and a corpus of public HRI data for use by researchers worldwide. Beyond robotics, the project promises to inform, validate, and extend longstanding research in the social sciences. This project also includes a strong public and K-12 outreach component consisting of weaving the HRI themes being developed into annual regional and international outreach events. The events feature large-scale open houses and educational workshops with interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities that highlight human factors in computational systems as an effective means of increasing interest in STEM-related activities.


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Ross Mead, Amin Atrash, and Maja J Matari?. "Automated Proxemic Feature Extraction and Behavior Recognition: Applications in Human-Robot Interaction," International Journal of Social Robotics, v.12369, 2013, p. 1-12.


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