LCSR Seminar: Laurel Riek “Robots in Hospitals and in the Community: Supporting Wellbeing and Furthering Health Equity”
The pandemic exacerbated inequities faced by people with disabilities and healthcare workers — both are at high risk of adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Robots alone are not going to fix these major societal problems; however, our work explores how we can design technology to lessen the burden of systemic ableism and healthcare system stress. I will discuss several of our recent projects in acute care and community health contexts. In acute care, we are building hospital-based robots to support the clinical workforce, to support item delivery, telemedicine, and decision support. In community health, we are creating interactive and adaptive systems that aim to extend the reach of cognitive neurorehabilitative therapies, provide respite to overburdened caregivers, and explore how technology might serve as a means for mediating positive interactions during hardship. We focus on building robots that can adaptively team with and longitudinally learn from people, and personalize and tailor their behavior.
Dr. Laurel Riek is a professor in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, with a joint appointment in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and is affiliated with the Contextual Robotics Institute and Design Lab. Dr. Riek directs the Healthcare Robotics Lab and leads research in human-robot teaming and health informatics, with a focus on autonomous robots that work proximately with people. Riek’s current research interests include long term learning, robot perception, and personalization; with applications in acute care, neurorehabilitation, and home health. Dr. Riek received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, and B.S. in Logic and Computation from Carnegie Mellon. Riek served as a Senior Artificial Intelligence Engineer and Roboticist at The MITRE Corporation from 2000-2008, working on learning and vision systems for robots, and held the Clare Boothe Luce chair in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame from 2011-2016. Dr. Riek has received the NSF CAREER Award, AFOSR Young Investigator Award, Qualcomm Research Award, and was named one of ASEE’s 20 Faculty Under 40. Dr. Riek is the HRI 2023 General Co-Chair and served as the Program Co-Chair for HRI 2020, and serves on the editorial boards of T-RO and THRI.