Socially Assistive Agents - Asset-based tools for Tele-Therapy and Education

Socially assistive robotics (SAR) is a new field of robotics that focuses on assisting users through social rather than physical interaction. Just as a good coach or teacher can provide motivation, guidance, and support, socially assistive robots attempt to provide the appropriate emotional, cognitive and social cues to encourage development, learning or therapy for an individual.

In this talk presented by the ATLAS Institute's BTU Lab,  Aubrey Shick, an ATLAS research affiliate, will discuss the background and applications of socially assistive agents and the opportunity to scale educational and therapeutic outcomes. Shick, also the executive director of PEERbots, a software nonprofit providing free tools to support therapy and education for social, emotional and developmental challenges, will talk about how robots can lengthen engagement and significantly increase verbalization and rapport building, especially in new child-adult relationships or when children are working through social and emotional challenges.

PEERbots are essentially remotely-controlled puppets, also referred to as "socially assistive agents,"  that use software built in Unity, where the facilitator; a therapist, teacher, or caregiver, is completely in control of the puppet's responses. Non-technical individuals can easily create, edit, and share content in advance, and expert educators or therapists can scale their impact by sharing with others, allowing for  continuity and consistency even when the robot is operated by different caregivers.  Shick has seen particularly powerful progress working with children on the autism spectrum and older adults with dementia and Alzheimers.   

Dial-In Information
Meeting ID: 991 5731 8027
Passcode: Robots!

Tuesday, October 27 at 6:00pm

Virtual Event
Event Type

Lecture/Presentation, Virtual


Science & Technology, Education, Research & Innovation, Internet & Digital Media


Students, Faculty

College, School & Unit

Engineering & Applied Science


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Aubrey Shick

Aubrey Shick left a positive review 10/26/2020

Awesome time learning about cool robots. The demo was good too. Good toolkit and ope-source project for protyping robots.

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