Social Robots in Therapy

Workshop on Social Robots in Therapy: Focusing on Autonomy and Ethical Challenges

in conjunction with the

13th ACM / IEEE International Conference on

Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2018)

Chicago, IL, USA from March 5–8

It has been proposed that robots in future therapeutic scenarios should be capable of operating autonomously (sometimes while remaining under the supervision of the therapist) for at least some of the time. A fully autonomous robot might be able to infer and interpret a patient’s intentions in order to understand their behavior and provide real-time adaptive behavior given that patient’s individual needs. However, full autonomy (in the sense that the robot can adapt to any event during the therapeutic sessions) is currently unrealistic and not desired as the robot’s action policy will not be perfect and in certain therapeutic scenarios, every single action executed by the robot should be appropriate to the therapeutic goals, context of the interaction, and the state of the patient. It is the aim of this workshop to reflect on existing RAT robots and ongoing research on HRI in the domestic and care facility contexts. A lot of work has already been completed to understand user needs and design more autonomous robot behaviors, as well as to build platforms and evaluate them in terms of acceptance and usability. In this workshop we want to gather, compare, and combine knowledge gained in various HRI projects with robots in therapy in the US, Europe, and Asia. This should lead to a broader understanding of how increasing the degree of autonomy of the robots might affect therapies as well as the design and ethical challenges of health-care robots.

Topics of Interest:

  • Shared or full autonomy in robots in therapy
  • Adaptive mechanisms for robot used in therapy
  • Engagement in therapeutic human-robot interaction
  • Ethical systems and challenges for robots in therapy
  • Identified user needs at home and in-patient care facilities
  • Acceptance studies on social robots used in therapy
  • Patient-centered HRI studies
  • Long-term therapeutic interaction studies
  • Clinical validation of robot-assisted therapies.

Target Audience:

The primary audience of the workshop are researchers in the field of HRI and RAT. In particular researchers working with the elderly, individuals with physical impairments and in rehabilitation therapy, and individuals with cognitive disabilities, patient-centered HRI evaluation, and ethical and moral implications will be interested in this workshop. In general, we are convinced that this workshop will attract a broad target audience, as the topic is of huge interest in the community. As we want to address both sides of the topic, namely the patient-centered and the robotic-centered perspective we expect an interdisciplinary audience.