Multidisciplinary Collaboration for Socially Assistive Robotics

American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)
2007 Spring Symposium Series
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, March 26-28, 2007

Latest News Overview Symposium Objectives Organizing Committee Submission Information Important Dates Special Events Contacts

Latest News

The list of accepted papers can be found here.
We are also happy to announce that we have three special invited speakers: Prof. Sal Restivo of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA), Prof. Brian Scassellati of Yale University (USA), and Prof. Rachid Alami of LAAS-CNRS (France).
The detailed schedule is now available.


Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) for socially assistive applications emphasizes the centrality of social relationships to our everyday experiences. As we endow robots with interactive capabilities and integrate them into our lives, research is increasingly focused on the design of social interactions that have the potential to enhance the quality of life of a variety of populations. Such robots should use social capabilities to assist humans in physical or cognitive tasks such as rehabilitation and training exercises, therapeutic and educational play, mobility, providing information, housework, etc. An effective socially assistive robot must understand and interact with its environment safely, exhibit social behavior, and focus its attention and communication on users in order to help them achieve specific goals. The robot's physical embodiment, appearance, verbal and non-verbal communicative abilities, and empathy play key roles in its assistive effectiveness.
The complex integration of social factors and technical design encourages problem-, task- or issue-based engagement across multiple disciplines with an artifact rich in both social and technological significance. Research in this field is therefore of interest to, and draws from, a range of disciplines in engineering, health sciences, psychology, social and cognitive sciences, and the arts. This collaboration requires close coordination and communication between diverse communities of practitioners at all stages of the process: inception, design, development, use, and evaluation. Working in this domain is challenging due to the differences in terminology, methodology, practices, and ethical considerations inherent in multidisciplinary collaboration.

Symposium Objectives

To showcase current socially assistive robotics projects;
To bring together researchers from multiple fields to foster interdisciplinary, as well as intra-disciplinary, discussion about collaboration;
To discuss experimental design for socially assistive human-robot interaction;
To explore factors relevant to the acceptance of assistive robots by a community of users (especially those with special needs);
To consider how different research questions, analytical frameworks, and methods can be applied to building assistive robots that interact socially with humans.

Organizing Committee

Adriana Tapus (co-chair), University of Southern California, USA
Marek Michalowski (co-chair), Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Selma Sabanovic (co-chair), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
Cynthia Breazeal, MIT, USA
Kerstin Dautenhahn, University of Hertfordshire, UK
Carl DiSalvo, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Maja Matarić, University of Southern California, USA
Francois Michaud, Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada
Illah Nourbakhsh, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Reid Simmons, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Submission Information

Prospective participants should submit an extended abstract (up to three pages) describing recent work. Authors should specify whether expansion to a full paper (up to eight pages) is possible and/or desired; authors of selected papers will be invited to expand and present at the Symposium, and authors of abstracts will be invited to attend and participate in alternative programming (e.g., panels).
All submissions are due in PDF format to Adriana Tapus at tapus(at) by the AAAI submission deadline. Submissions will be judged on technical merit and on potential to provoke active discussions. The output of the Symposium will be organized into a technical report.

Important Dates

6 October 2006 Submission deadline
3 November 2006 Notice of acceptance
26 January 2007 Camera-ready versions due on the AAAI website
26 January 2007 Fax "Permission to Distribute" forms to AAAI at +1 650 321-4457
9 February 2007 Registration deadline
2 March 2007 Final (open) registration deadline
26-28 March 2007 Spring Symposium Series, Stanford University

Special Events

At least two special events have been planned for the symposium, in collaboration with the relevant faculty participants. The first will be a tour and symposium-relevant demonstrations in the Prof. Clifford Nass's laboratory, the "Communication between Humans and Interactive Media (CHIMe) Lab ( at Stanford University, which focuses on studying human-machine communication. The second will be a tour and symposium-relevant demonstrations of the lab of Prof. Oussama Khatib, which focuses on safety of human-robot interaction in manipulator robotics (


Dr. Adriana Tapus: tapus(at)

Marek Michalowski: michalowski(at)

Selma Sabanovic: sabans(at)

Last updated: 06/27/06