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22nd May 2018

ICRA2018 Forum: Social Robotics


ICRA2018 Forum: Social Robotics

Social robotics is an emerging field. As new generations of robots are developed that participate in our lives and exist in public spaces, we need to consider the impact of these technologies and how we can harness their benefits. Social robots must collaborate with people and prove themselves as capable partners. They must make good teammates, learn from us or teach us, as well as communicate with and understand us. The goal of this workshop is to explore where social robotics is heading and how we can best navigate the multi-disciplinary challenges such robots will present.

There will be three Forum sessions on Tuesday 22nd May 2018 at ICRA 2018 (21-25 May 2018) each 1h 15mins long. Each session will comprise presentations by three to four speakers, followed by a 15-minute interactive panel discussion with questions and comments from the audience.


22nd May 2018





P6 Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

SESSION 1: Applications of Social Robots. Chair: Sue Keay, Australian Centre for Robotic Vision


Speaker: Maya Cakmak, University of Washington


Speaker: Janet Wiles, The University of Queensland




Speaker: Angelica Lim, Simon Fraser University


Speaker: Nicole Robinson, QUT


PANEL DISCUSSION - Social Robots is there a limit to their application?


SESSION 2: Social Robots at Home and Work. Chair: Elizabeth Croft, Monash University, Melbourne


Speaker: Elizabeth Croft, Monash University


Speaker: Rashid Alami, CNRS


Speaker: Dana Kulic, Waterloo University




PANEL DISCUSSION - Social Robots at work and home


SESSION 3: Social Robots and Social Intelligence. Chair: Mary-Anne Williams, The Magic Lab, UTS, Sydney


Speaker: Amit Pandey, CTO Softbank Robotics


Speaker: Harry Surden, Stanford University




Speaker: Xun Wang, CommBank and Mary-Anne Williams, MagicLab, UTS


PANEL DISCUSSION - Social robots and social intelligence


Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson

Social Robots to Deliver Behaviour Change Programs

Nicole Robinson is a PhD candidate at Queensland University of Technology. Her research goals involve discovering how innovative technology, including social robots, can be used as a healthcare tool to help improve people’s health and well-being.

Nicole’s main interest areas include the use of web and smartphone-based applications, virtual reality, digital avatars, software agents and a specialty focus on humanoid robots to help encourage people to create and live healthy lifestyle behaviours.

She is currently conducting research in the area of humanoid robots and their ability to deliver a health intervention. Her research involves using a small humanoid robot (NAO Robot) to autonomously deliver a new version of the motivational interview developed in association with Professor David Kavanagh.

Dr Rachid Alami

Dr Rachid Alami

A Joint Action approach to assistand and teammate robots

Dr. Rachid Alami is Senior Scientist at CNRS. He received an engineer diploma in computer science in 1978 from ENSEEIHT, a Ph.D in Robotics in 1983 from Institut National Polytechnique and an Habilitation HDR in 1996 from Paul Sabatier University. He contributed and took important responsibilities in several national, European and international research and/or collaborative projects (EUREKA: FAMOS, AMR and I-ARES projects, ESPRIT: MARTHA, PROMotion, ECLA, IST: COMETS, IST FP6 projects COGNIRON, URUS, PHRIENDS, FP7 projects CHRIS, SAPHARI, ARCAS, SPENCER, H2020 Projects MUMMER  France: ARA, VAP-RISP for planetary rovers, PROMIP, ANR projects).

His main research contributions fall in the fields of Robot Decisional and Control Architectures, Task and motion planning, multi-robot cooperation, and human-robot interaction. Rachid Alami is currently the head of the Robotics and Interactions group at LAAS.

Dana Kulic

Dana Kulic

Learning and Teaching during Human-Robot Interaction

Dana Kulić received the combined B.A.Sc. and M.Eng. degrees in electromechanical engineering, and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia, Canada, in 1998 and 2005, respectively. From 2006 to 2009, she was a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow and a Project Assistant Professor at the Nakamura Laboratory at the University of Tokyo. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo, Canada. In 2014, she was awarded Ontario’s Early Researcher award for her work on rehabilitation and human-robot interaction. Her research interests include human motion analysis, robot learning, humanoid robots, and human-machine interaction.

Angelica Lim

Angelica Lim

Multimodal Perception for Social Robots

Angelica Lim is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Computing Science at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada, who has worked on social robots for over 10 years in France, Japan and Canada. She leads the SFU Rosie Lab, focusing on building robots with social intelligence and empathy, particularly using affective and developmental robotics paradigms. Previously, she spent 4 years as a Software Engineering Manager at SoftBank Robotics, where she led the emotion and expressivity team for Pepper the humanoid robot. She has been featured on the BBC, TEDx, hosted a TV documentary on robotics, and was recently featured in Forbes 20 Leading Women in AI. She received her B.Sc. in Computing Science from SFU and a Ph.D. and Masters from Kyoto University, Japan.

Amit Pandey

Amit Pandey

Chief Scientist, SoftBank Robotics Europe

Dr. Amit Kumar Pandey is Head Principal Scientist (Chief Scientist) at SoftBank Robotics Europe (formerly Aldebaran Robotics), Paris, France, also serving as the scientific coordinator (R&D) of its various collaborative projects. Earlier for 6 years he worked as researcher in Robotics and AI at LAAS-CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), Toulouse, France. His Ph.D. thesis in Robotics (title: Towards Socially Intelligent Robots in Human Centered Environment), is the second prize winner (tie) of the prestigious Georges Giralt Award for the best Ph.D. Thesis in Robotics in Europe, awarded by euRobotics (the European Union Robotics Community). His current research interest includes Socially Intelligent Robots, Human Robot Interaction (HRI), Robot’s Cognitive Architecture, Lifelong Learning and Robots in Education. On these aspects, he has been actively contributing as principal investigator, researcher, and industrial scientific coordinator in various national and European Union (EU) projects, as well as involved in their design and proposal.


Xun Wang

Xun Wang

Lead Robotics Research Engineer, Commonwealth Bank Australia

Xun Wang is the lead robotics research engineer at Innovation Lab, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Previously, he was a Chancellor Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) working on Human Robot Interaction and robotics software development for PR2/ROS platform. Xun received his Ph.D for a study in risk modelling and management in intelligent agents 2013. He was a core member of UTS Unleashed! robot soccer team from 2008 to 2013. Prior to his Ph.D study, Xun has worked as a software engineer in various industries for a decade.

Sue Keay

Sue Keay

Australian Centre for Robotic Vision

Forum Chair & speaker

An experienced R&D leader with a focus on disruptive technologies, Dr Sue Keay runs the world’s first robotic vision research centre. Her background in commercialisation helps successfully bridge the gap between ideas and implementation. Sue recently developed a successful $1.5m R&D project supported by the Queensland government to explore the vision capabilities of Softbank’s social robot, Pepper. Sue has a PhD in Earth Sciences from the Australian National University and was an ARC post-doctoral fellow at The University of Queensland, before escaping the lab and moving into research management and commercialisation where she has demonstrated national leadership. With interests in entrepreneurship and disruptive technologies, she is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and serves on the Board of the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction and the Advisory Board of Brisbane.AI. She is currently completing her MBA with UQ Business School.

In 2017, Sue was named as one of the first Superstars of STEM by Science & Technology Australia, announced by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO. As part of the program, Sue hopes to inspire others to consider a career in STEM.

Elizabeth Croft

Elizabeth Croft

Social Work: Collaborative behaviours that measurably improve human-robot interaction

Forum co-chair & speaker

Over the last decade, there has a been a significant research investment in humanoid and human-friendly robotics platforms. New safety standards have been developed, particularly ISO 10218:2011 aimed at human-robot collaboration. Interaction studies related to these developments have gained prominence. In the recent paper on the ten Science Robotics Grand Challenges the need for “Social interaction that understands human social dynamics and moral norms and that can be truly integrated with our social life showing empathy and natural social behaviors” was listed. A key enabler for this challenge is the development of human-robot collaboration modalities that permit shared understanding of tasks, intentions, and responsibilities necessary for working and living together. This talk will discuss HRI techniques for prototyping and evaluating collaborative interactions, and examples of multi-modal methods, including visual and haptic channels, for supporting shared understanding in everyday interactions.

Bio: Professor Elizabeth A. Croft (B.A.Sc UBC ’88, M.A.Sc Waterloo ’92, Ph.D. Toronto ’95) is the Dean of Engineering at Monash University since January 1, 2018.  From 2013-2017 she was Associate Dean for the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  As a professor of Mechanical Engineering at UBC she was Director of the Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CARIS) Laboratory. She leads research on human-robot interaction, to develop robot behaviours, motions and control strategies to promote safe, effective and helpful human-robot collaborations with applications ranging from manufacturing to healthcare and assistive technology. She held the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon) from 2010-2015 and the Marshall Bauder Professorship in Engineering Economics, Business and Management Training from 2015-2017. Her recognitions include a Peter Wall Early Career Scholar award, an NSERC Accelerator award, and WXN’s top 100 most powerful women in Canada. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineers, Engineers Canada, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Mary-Anne Williams

Mary-Anne Williams

University of Technology Sydney

Forum co-chair & speaker

Mary-Anne Williams is Director of the Innovation and Enterprise Research Laboratory (The Magic Lab) at UTS. Mary-Anne has a Masters of Laws and a PhD in Knowledge Representation and Reasoning with transdisciplinary strengths in AI, disruptive innovation, design thinking, data analytics, IP law and privacy law. Mary-Anne is a Faculty Fellow at Stanford University and a Guest Professor at the University of Science and Technology China where she gives intensive courses on disruptive innovation. Mary-Anne chaired the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia Committee that undertook a national evaluation of Mathematics, Information and Computing Sciences in 2012.

Mary-Anne has a passion for design led research and innovation.  She works with her research team in the Magic Lab to bring science fiction to reality; the research goal is to design autonomous technologies that can learn to delight and adapt in novel situations as they collaborate with people to achieve shared goals.


Sue Keay

Sue Keay

Australian Centre for Robotic Vision

E: sue.keay@qut.edu.au

+61 408 778 667

Australian Centre for Robotic Vision
2 George Street Brisbane, 4001
+61 7 3138 7549