Special Issue on Socially Assistive Robotics

Summary and Motivation

Demographic changes bring to light new challenges and issues to ensure care of an increasingly aging society with an unmet demand for dedicated professionals and increasing cost pressure. Moreover, statistics show that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children is continuously increasing (as of 2017, in Japan 161 children per 10,000 children, in UK 94 children per 10,000 children, in USA 66 children per 10,000 children). Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization, 15 million people suffer stroke worldwide each year and stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. In addition to these, there are also many other diseases and disorders such as obesity, Parkinson disease, etc. (this list is far from being exhaustive). All these vulnerable populations need long-term personalized assistive care and, due to serious shortage of health care professionals, socially assistive robots have been shown as a viable complementary tools to address this need.

 Socially Assistive Robotics 2.jpg  Socially Assistive Robotics 1




Image Credits: TiaGO robot in interaction with an elderly person suffering of MCI (left image). Maya Association - Nao in interaction with a child with autism (right image) and ENRICHME project.

The goal of socially assistive robotics (SAR) is enabling robots with the ability to help people through social interaction in a non-contact manner during their daily tasks, in rehabilitation, training, and education. This special issue is intended to collect the state-of-the-art as well as recent novel results in the field of socially assistive robotics.

Call for Papers

Continuous new developments in robotics allow an increase in the introduction of robots in our daily life. The optimal assistive robot should share a human centered environment, be able to cope with human presence, interact in a very engaging way, monitor the human’s behavior, provide useful feedback, adapt to the human’s profile over time, allow for long-term interaction, etc. Moreover, interacting with vulnerable populations is also very challenging and introduces new issues such as empathy, paternalism, etc.

This special issue aims to present state-of-the-art and recent advances in socially assistive robotics for various target populations (i.e., the elderly, people suffering of autism, stroke, Parkinson disease, etc.).

 Topics of Interest

  • Long-term interaction
  • Machine learning for adaptive and personalized interaction
  • Multimodal perception for human behavior modelling
  • Performance indicators for HRI in assistive robotics
  • Empathy, trust, and acceptance in assistive robotics
  • Ethical issues and principles for assistive robotics
  • Data sharing and benchmarking HRI for assistive robotics
  • And others

Tentative Schedule/Important Dates

10 June 2018 - Call for papers
1 September 2018 -1 August 2018 1  Submission deadline EXTENDED
1 October 2018 - Notification of Acceptance
15 October 2018 –Preliminary/Final recommendation to EiC
1 November 2018 – Notifications to authors by EiC
15 December 2018 – Deadline for rebuttal
1 February 2019 – End of second review round
15 February 2019 – Final recommendation to EiC
1 March 2019 – Notifications to authors by EiC
1 March 2019 – Guest editorial submitted to EiC
15 March 2019 – Final submission and forward to publisher
10 June 2019 – Special Issue

Guest Editors

Ayanna Howard portrait
Ayanna Howard
SI Socially Assistive Robotics
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta (GA), USA
Isamu Kajitani portrait
Isamu Kajitani
SI Socially Assistive Robotics
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
Tokyo, Japan
Adriana Tapus portrait
Adriana Tapus
SI Socially Assistive Robotics
Paris, France

Short Bio of the Guest Editors:

Prof. Adriana Tapus is Full Professor in the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Lab in the Computer Science and System Engineering Department (U2IS), at ENSTA-ParisTech, France. In 2011, she obtained the French Habilitation (HDR) for her thesis entitled “Towards Personalized Human-Robot Interaction”. She received her PhD in Computer Science from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland in 2005 and her degree of Engineer in Computer Science and Engineering from Politehnica University of Bucharest, Romania in 2001. She worked as an Associate Researcher at the University of Southern California (USC), where she was among the pioneers on the development of socially assistive robotics, also participating to activity in machine learning, human sensing, and human-robot interaction. Her main interests are on long-term learning (i.e. in particular in interaction with humans), human modeling, and on-line robot behavior adaptation to external environmental factors. Prof. Tapus is an Associate Editor for International Journal of Social Robotics (IJSR), ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI), and IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems (TCDS) and in the steering committee of several major robotics conferences (General Chair 2019 of HRI, Program Chair 2018 of HRI, General Chair 2017 of ECMR). She has more than 150 research publications and she received the Romanian Academy Award for her contributions in assistive robotics in 2010. She was elected in 2016 as one of the 25 women in robotics you need to know about. She's also the PI of various EU and French National research grants. Further details about her research and her activities can be found at http://www.ensta-paristech.fr/~tapus .

Prof. Ayanna Howard is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Howard’s career focus is on intelligent technologies that must adapt to and function within a human-centered world. Her work, which encompasses advancements in AI, assistive technologies, and robotics, has resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Howard received her B.S. in Engineering from Brown University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of STEM educational products to engage children of all abilities. Prior to Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was a senior robotics researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She has also served as the Associate Director of Research for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Chair of the Robotics Ph.D. program, and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Dr. Isamu Kajitani is Senior Researcher in the Service Robotics Research Team (SRRT) in the Robot Innovation Research Center (RIRC), at National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan. In 1999, he received his PhD in Engineering from University of Tsukuba Graduate School Division of Engineering, Japan in 1999. His research interests include assistive-product, prosthetic hand, service robot, social acceptance of such products, and applied behavior analysis. Further details about his research and his activities can be found at https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3178-9388

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