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Special Session

List of special sessions

Situated Interaction and Embodiment - the use of social robotic systems in education and care for people with special needs
Dr. Ben Robins, Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn
University of Hertfordshire, UK

In recent years increasing numbers of robotics applications have been researched and developed as assistive technologies for the education and welfare for children and adults with special needs (e.g. children with autism, elderly people in care etc). Socially interactive robots have raised a growing interest as therapeutic tools. Their physical, perceptual and behavioral characteristics can help to promote and sustain interaction against specific educational and therapeutic objectives.

It is therefore important that more researchers from interdisciplinary research fields, including robotics, computer science, psychology, sociology, and pedagogy, share an opportunity to present their research challenges and achievements and discuss results related to the potential importance in the use of robotic systems and their possible effect on the lives of people with special needs.

We aim for this session to provide the opportunity to present case studies and applications of cutting edge research in social robotics, highlighting the challenges in the design of, and conduct of investigations where the situated and embodied interactions with robotic systems play a key role in the education and care of people with special needs (children and adults).

Artificial Empathy: Models, applications, social, ethical and theoretical implications
Dr. Luisa Damiano, University of Bergamo, Italy
Professor Paul Dumouchel, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
Dr. Hagen Lehmann, University of Hertfordshire, UK
One central issue of Social Robotics research is the question of the affective (emotional) involvement of users. The problem of creating a robot able to establish and to participate competently in dynamic affective exchanges with human partners has been recognized as fundamental, especially for the success of projects involving Assistive or Educational Robotics. This locates Social Robotics at the crossroad of many interconnected issues related to various disciplines, such as Epistemology, Cognitive Science, Sociology and Ethics.

Among these issues are, for example, the epistemological and theoretical problems of defining how emotions could be represented in a robot and under which conditions robots could be able to participate competently in emotional and empathic dynamics with human beings. Can robots experience emotions, or only express them? If we identify robotic ‘emotions’ as ‘pure simulations’, to which no actual experience corresponds, are there conditions in which we can consider robots as partners in emotional and empathic relations?

On the one hand these questions are related to basic scientific research, to which Robotics can contribute through operational models and experimentation carried out with the help of social robots. On the other hand these questions are inseparable from the technical issue of an efficient implementation of theoretical models in the diverse social environments in which robots are interact with humans. Which are the current technically feasible models? Which are the results?

The issue of application raises also problems connected to the social and ethical dimension of Robotics. What are the implications of introducing robots with affective competence into our social world(s)? To what extent and in what way will supportive relations be improved if robots gain affective competences? Does handing over aspects of social care to robots mean abandoning vulnerable individuals (such as elderly persons, children, or people with disabilities) to inauthentic affective relations?

These issues lead back to epistemological and theoretical questions. Under which conditions can affective and empathic relations with robots be considered authentic?

This special session aims at offering an interdisciplinary forum in which the different dimensions of Artificial Empathy can be connected and enriched through scientific exchange of ideas. Most of the invited participants have a Social Robotics background or come from scientific disciplines dealing with the questions mentioned above. Our goal is to stimulate the interaction between applied research and theoretical and epistemological reflections, and to promote a front line in Social Robotics research that takes all the complex aspects of this endeavor (epistemological, theoretical, technical, social and ethical) into consideration, without losing sight of its fundamental question: Under which conditions can a robot become a social partner for humans?

How to submit a proposal for a special session

Proposals for special sessions consist of the following:

  • A proposed session title;
  • The organizers of the session;
  • A brief summary for the session;
  • A list of papers with titles, authors and abstracts for the papers.
The soft copy of proposals should be emailed sec.icsr@gmail.com. After submission of the proposal, the organizer(s) will receive a confirmation e-mail. Special session proposals have to be followed by the individual submission of the full version of all invited papers. The paper template and submission instruction could be found at http://icsoro.org/paper.html.

How to submit a paper to a special session

  1. Prepare your full paper(s) following the instructions at http://icsoro.org/paper.html;
  2. Log in the paper submission system (https://cmt.research.microsoft.com/ICSR2012/Default.aspx);
  3. Select your role: "Author";
  4. Click "create a new Paper Submission";
  5. Please select the special session topic as your primary subject area when you select the "Subject Areas".

Enquiry: sec.icsr[at]gmail.com


Important Dates

Invited Session
Proposal Submission
20 May 2012 (Extended)

Paper Submission
7 June 2012 (Extended)

Proposal Submission
30 June 2012 (Extended)

Notification of the
Papers' Acceptance
15 July 2012
22 July 2012

Final Camera-ready Paper
15 August 2012

Registration and
Welcome Reception
28 October 2012

Conference Dates
29-31 October 2012