With Aubrey Shick

July 22 - 26, 2019

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Participants will learn how to build a socially assistive robot from scratch (using a kit and foundation plans), needs assessment, storyboarding and prototyping,  design for robust field deployment, design of interactions to support behavioral development in a measurable way, and how to use socially assistive robots in context. We will provide an overview of the Socially Assistive Robotics literature and research space, doing a deep dive in what’s been done and the impact, spend time focusing on needs finding, identifying where there are gaps, where help is needed, and understanding therapeutic practice (this may include a field trip). We’ll then break into teams, share learnings and conduct brainstorming on ways of solving the problems we observed. 

We will create multiple concepts and evaluate in a critique-style format. After getting feedback as a team we will commence prototyping and fabrication of the robots and related software. Prototypes will first be tested and demonstrated in the class. We will assess the interaction design and provide feedback and iteration on methods measuring the success of interactions (these may be automated or qualitative depending on the participant's skills and  interests). The course will conclude with a final field trip to a site where we can interact with prospective users and stakeholders and share back our learnings as a class. 

Who is the workshop for?
This workshop is for anyone who is interested in building robots that measurably help people. Folks who have an understanding of basic mechanics programming and/or interaction design may get the most from the experience. *There are no specific skills required for this workshop, however a lot of skills may help you have more fun and develop a more robust prototype. We will be starting from an open source robot, encompassing hardware (mechanical and soft goods), software and therapeutic interaction framework. All of these items are open-source for you to alter and improve to create new robot solutions. *Applicable experience: Unity, Arduino, CAD / Fusion 360, Illustrator / Inkscape, Sewing Machine, Laser cutting

What should participants bring?
Participants should bring a laptop computer. Also, bring an old Android phone and/or Android tablet if you have one. We will also have laptops for use and phones/tables to borrow if necessary. Optional but encouraged supplies include fake fur or fabric and a sketchbook. 

About the Instructor
While at Carnegie Mellon, Aubrey designed Romibo, a socially assistive robot for older adults and children with special needs, particularly autism. The robot itself turned out to be a successful therapeutic intervention, with open-source derivatives seeing over 10,000+ users in 7+ countries. She’s now the Technology Advisor of a non-profit using robots successfully with autism and memory care patients, serving hundreds of clients a year.

Outside of her non-profit work, Aubrey works in consumer hardware including wearables. She worked for Intel in the New Devices group, designing and researching augmented reality and as a Product User Experience Lead for enterprise head-worn products. After Intel, Aubrey returned to social robotics as the Head of Human-Robot Interaction and User Experience at Embodied, Inc. a robotics “wellness” startup in stealth mode based in Pasadena, CA for a year and a half.


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