“Robots that Teach” at the Bruce Museum

Dr. Brian Scassellati of Yale University will discuss “Robots that Teach” at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich on Tuesday, June 14. Dr. Scassellati will highlight recent advances in building supportive robots for teaching development skills to children. Light refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. The lecture begins at 7 p.m.Reservations are required by calling 203-413-6757. The event is free to Museum members, $15 non-members.

Socially assistive robotics is a new field of robotics that focuses on developing robots capable of assisting users through social interaction. Robots have long been used to provide assistance to individual users through physical interaction, typically by supporting direct physical rehabilitation or by providing a service such as retrieving items or cleaning floors.  Socially assistive robotics focuses on developing robots capable of assisting users through social rather than physical interaction. Just as a good coach or teacher can provide motivation, guidance, and support without making physical contact with a student, 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, Professor Scassellati will review some of the reasons why physical robots rather than virtual agents are essential to this effort, highlight some of the major research issues within this area, and describe some of our recent results building supportive robots for teaching social skills to children with autism spectrum disorder, early language learning for bilingual children, math skills tutoring for 3rd graders, and for teaching nutrition to 1st graders.

Dr. Scassellati is Professor of Computer Science, Cognitive Science and Mechanical Engineering at Yale University and Director of the NSF Expedition on Socially Assistive Robotics. His research, widely recognized in the scientific community, focuses on models of human social behavior, especially the development of early social skills in infants and children. His other interests include humanoid robots, human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, machine perception, and social learning.

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