International Conference on Social Robotics


Workshop proposal submission is now closed.

Offered Workshops

The Synthetic Method in Social Robotics (SMSR 2016)

Workshop Link

Contemporary advancements in Social Robotics, implying the introduction of robots in an increasing number of operative contexts populated by human agents, are rapidly accelerating the emergence of mixed human-robot social ecologies. The awareness of this imminent transformation, potentially able to affect the structure of human sociality, makes it urgent to support frontier research in Social Robotics with a reflective interrogation directed to identify the possible impacts of its technological production on human social dynamics and systems. One of the essential steps of this complex and plural exploration consists in the clarification of the ways and the objectives that currently guide the construction of “robots as social partners”, that is, the analysis of methods and goals that today orient design, implementation, and integration, within human social contexts, of robots endowed with “social presence” and “social competences”. The SMSR 2016 workshop intends to contribute to this investigation by focusing on the use of the Synthetic Method within the research fields of Social Robotics and HRI, that is, one of the most diffused methods in the development of “Artificial Sociality” for robotic agents. In its most generic expression, this methodological approach – often synthetized through the slogan “Understanding by Building”- prescribes scientists to model living and cognitive processes, lato sensu, through the construction of artificial systems capable of generating these processes. The goal is twofold: testing scientific hypotheses on the mechanisms underlying the target processes, and building better artifacts, able to exploit these mechanisms to enhance their performances. The application of the Synthetic Method in Social Robotics and HRI generally consists in the attempt of re-creating aspects of human and/or animal sociality in robotic agents, in order to test theories about related social dynamics, and to improve social capabilities of these agents.
 The SMSR 2016 workshop aims at creating a cross-disciplinary forum analyzing and discussing ways, goals, possibilities and limits of the application of the Synthetic Method in Social Robotics, on the basis of the idea that the part of Social Robotics that currently is engaged in the robotic modeling of human and animal sociality offers a particularly relevant perspective to study the emergent social metamorphosis generated by “social robots”.

Luisa Damiano, ESARG (Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial Research Group), University of Messina, Italy

Social Robots: A Tool to Advance Interventions for Autism

Robots are increasingly being employed to promote the development of communicative and social skills in individuals with autism. As with any instrument, the ways in which we employ socially assistive robots (SAR) in this domain are actively being explored, tested and fine-tuned. Given that several core deficits present in autism typically revolve around human-human relationships, compelling questions persist: What roles can a robot assume to ultimately facilitate these human-human relationships? In what specific capacities can robots be useful tools for practitioners to broaden or extend the impact of traditional autism interventions? Is there a specific set of fundamental hardware and software requirements needed for a SAR to be effective with this population? What are the long-term goals of deploying a SAR robot as part of an autism intervention? This half-day workshop will include presentations from invited experts from robotics, computer science, psychology and special education to provide insights from a variety of viewpoints and encourage open discussion of these and other related challenges facing this research domain.

Invited Speakers:
Mohammad Aldosari, Cleveland Clinic
Ryad Chellali, Nanjing Tech University
Antonia Lina Krummheuer, Aalborg University
Leah Perlmutter, University of Washington
Marilena Mademtzi, Yale University (Organizer)
John-John Cabibihan, Qatar University (Organizer)
Laura Boccanfuso, Yale University (Organizer)

1:30 Welcome and introductions
1:45 Mohammad Aldosari
2:10 Ryad Chellali
2:35 Marilena Mademtzi
3:00 Antonia Lina Krummheuer
3:15 Break
3:30 John-John Cabibihan
3:55 Laura Boccanfuso
4:20 Leah Perlmutter
4:35 Discussion/future directions
5:00 End of workshop

Using Social Robots to Improve the Quality of Life in the Elderly

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The aim of this workshop is to widen the debate on how best to ensure that social robotics fully enters the mainstream of wellbeing, health and social care service provision for the rapidly rising proportion of the elderly in the developed and developing countries. Several social and demographic indicators point to a society where the population over 65 will double, and those over 80 will triple in few years. This situation will lead us towards new social and economic problems. Social Robots represent a possibility to face some of these new problems. For example, Social Robots will help to decrease the economic burden to families and governmental healthcare systems. Moreover, they can relieve the lack of qualified personnel to take care of elderly people and improve their quality of life. This half-day workshop will seek to foster the exchange of ideas, experiences, and problems that researches have encountered due to the singular interaction between Social Robots and elders; for example, the acceptance of social robots by the elderly, the concerns that arise, the inherent lifestyle changes involved, and inevitable interaction issues that occur. During the workshop, prominent researchers that are investigating the application of social robotics to an ageing population will share their experiences and discuss about its application on several areas, such as entertainment, assistance, and surveillance, among others.

Miguel A. Salichs, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)
Elizabeth Anne Broadbent, The University of Auckland (New Zealand)
Markus Vincze, Vienna University of Technology (Austria)

Organizing Committee:
Álvaro Castro-González, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)
María Malfaz, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)
Esther Salichs, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)

Workshop Chairs

Hae Won Park, MIT

Maryam Mahani, Ricoh Americas Corporation