Lola Canamero

Robin, an Autonomous Social Robot for Diabetic Children

Robin is a cognitively and motivationally autonomous affective robot toddler with "robot diabetes" that we have developed to support perceived self-efficacy and emotional wellbeing in children with diabetes by providing them with positive mastery educational experiences of diabetes management in a playful but realistic and natural interaction context. Underlying the design of Robin is an "Embodied Artificial Intelligence" approach to robotics. In this talk we discuss the rationale behind the design of Robin to meet the needs of our intended end users (both children and medical staff), and how "New AI" provides a suitable approach to developing a friendly companion that fulfills the educational, therapeutic and affective requirements of the children, beyond other approaches commonly used in educational and assistive robotics for child-robot interaction. Finally, we will illustrate with some examples and video material how our approach permitted our robot to interact with and provide suitable experiences of diabetes management to children with very different social interaction styles.

Dr Lola Canamero is Reader in Adaptive Systems and Head of the Embodied Emotion, Cognition and (Inter-)Action Lab in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire. She holds Bachelor and Master degrees in Philosophy from the Complutense University of Madrid and a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from the University of Paris-XI. She turned to Embodied Artificial Intelligence and robotics as a postdoctoral fellow in the groups of Rodney Brooks at MIT and of Luc Steels at the Free University of Brussels. Since 1995, her research investigates the interactions between motivation, emotion, and embodied cognition and action from the perspectives of adaptation, development and evolution, using autonomous and social robots and artificial life simulations.

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