Research

Elin Björling

Spring 2018

Human-Robotic Interaction DRG Team

Adolescents are subject to high levels of stress in their lives, resulting from school, relationships, and family life. Not surprisingly, school stress is most commonly reported as the biggest source of stress for teens. Therefore, accurately measuring and intervening to reduce teen stress is imperative to support this vulnerable population.

Social robots are being used to help other populations, such as the elderly and young children. However, there is very little research on either the experience of stress in teens, or the interactions between teens and robots. This presents a unique research opportunity in the field of human-robot interaction (HRI).

Our interdisciplinary team has three DRGs for Spring, 2018. We are using participatory, human-centered design to:  (1) continue in the development of our social robot, EMAR (2) conduct usability tests on our virtual reality robot designer game, and (3) begin initial design of a virtual reality environment to reduce teen stress.  For more information, see our blog at www.blogs.uw.edu/EMAR.

The team is led by Elin Björling (Human-Centered Design and Engineering), Maya Cakmak, (Computer Science and Engineering), and Graduate Research Assistant, Alisa Kalagina (Computer Science and Engineering).

During Spring quarter, we are offering an interdisciplinary DRG to further develop two aspects of EMAR (1) customization of EMAR’s face to elicit the attribute of “calm” 2) social robot movements (using the robot Blossom from Cornell) to elicit a feeling of “calm.”

Interested students:

We currently have no openings for Spring quarter, but interested students should watch for openings for Fall, 2018.


Spring 2018

Robot Designer (Virtual Reality Game) DRG Team

Adolescents are subject to high levels of stress in their lives, resulting from school, relationships, and family life. Not surprisingly, school stress is most commonly reported as the biggest source of stress for teens. Therefore, accurately measuring and intervening to reduce teen stress is imperative to support this vulnerable population.

Social robots are being used to help other populations, such as the elderly and young children. However, there is very little research on either the experience of stress in teens, or the interactions between teens and robots. This presents a unique research opportunity in the field of human-robot interaction (HRI).

Our interdisciplinary team has three DRGs for Spring, 2018. We are using participatory, human-centered design to:  (1) continue in the development of our social robot, EMAR (2) conduct usability tests on our virtual reality robot designer game, and (3) begin initial design of a virtual reality environment to reduce teen stress.  For more information, see our blog at www.blogs.uw.edu/EMAR.

The team is led by Elin Björling (Human-Centered Design and Engineering) and Graduate Research Assistant, Ada Kim (iSchool).

During spring quarter, we will be conducting usability tests in the field (local high schools) to see how teens use our collaborative VR game to design robots. From that testing we will be continually iterating on the current VR game to improve engagement and performance.

Interested students

The DRG participants will meet weekly, on Fridays, 1:00-2:00pm. In addition, UW students will be expected to be available to conduct field work at local high schools, which typically occurs after school at 3:30-5pm. Days vary depending upon the school.

We currently have two openings for a students with experience in VR design and development. Please contact Ada Kim (kimsk@uw.edu) with a cover letter and resume if you are interested.


Spring 2018

Virtual Relaxation Environment for Teens

Adolescents are subject to high levels of stress in their lives, resulting from school, relationships, and family life. Not surprisingly, school stress is most commonly reported as the biggest source of stress for teens. Therefore, accurately measuring and intervening to reduce teen stress is imperative to support this vulnerable population.

Social robots are being used to help other populations, such as the elderly and young children. However, there is very little research on either the experience of stress in teens, or the interactions between teens and robots. This presents a unique research opportunity in the field of human-robot interaction (HRI).

Our interdisciplinary team has three DRGs for Spring, 2018. We are using participatory, human-centered design to:  (1) continue in the development of our social robot, EMAR (2) conduct usability tests on our virtual reality robot designer game, and (3) begin initial design of a virtual reality environment to reduce teen stress.  For more information, see our blog at www.blogs.uw.edu/EMAR.

The team is led by Elin Björling (Human-Centered Design and Engineering) and Jennifer Sonney (Department of Family and Child Nursing).

Spring quarter we will be conducting co-design sessions with teens and prototyping environments and activities in VR.

Interested students

We currently have no openings for Spring quarter, but interested students should watch for openings for Fall, 2018.

The DRG participants will meet weekly, on Fridays, 1:00-2:00pm. In addition, UW students will be expected to be available to conduct field work at local high schools, which typically occurs after school at 3:30-5pm. Days vary depending upon the school.


Winter 2018

VR Stress Reduction: Co-Designing a Virtual Environment to Reduce Teen Stress

Note: Enrollment in this research group is at capacity.

Facilitators

Registration
UW Seattle: HCDE 496/596
Credits
2-3, CR/NC
Meetings
TBD
Locations
TBD

Background

Today’s teens are suffering from increased stress and depression, impacting their mental and physical health. A great deal of stress stems from school and academics, thus we are working to design a self-serve VR station to reduce student stress.

Our Focus

In order to provide an intervention tool that is successful in reducing stress in teens, we first must engage teens in the design of such a tool.  Therefore we will be using the methodology of human-centered design, specifically co-design, working with teens and using evidenced-based data at each state of the design process.

Our team

The team is led by Dr. Elin Björling (HCDE) a stress researcher who studies adolescents and Dr. Jennifer Sonney, (Family and Child Nursing) who studies health promotion interventions for children and teens.

Interested students

We are looking for a small number of dedicated, enthusiastic UW students at any levels (undergrad to doctoral) to join us to work with teens to design this virtual reality tool.

The DRG participants will meet weekly at a time that works for the team. In addition, design sessions with teens maybe be scheduled outside of our weekly meeting time.

You should apply if you are interested in design pedagogy, psychology, UX design, working with teens, and virtual reality.

Specifically, we are looking for students who have a combination of the following skills:

  • Deep understanding of the HCD design process
  • Outreach and/or co-design with teens
  • Educational design
  • Virtual reality experience and/or development

Note: Enrollment in this research group is at capacity.

 


Winter 2018

Project EMAR: Facilitating a High School Design Challenge

Note: Enrollment in this research group is at capacity.

Facilitators

Registration
UW Seattle: HCDE 496/596

UW Tacoma: TIAS 499 (or contact Dr. Rose)

Credits
3, CR/NC
Meetings
Wednesdays, 11–11:50 a.m.
Locations
UW Seattle: Sieg 420

UW Tacoma: TBD

Background

Today’s teens will most likely be the first generation to spend a lifetime living and interacting with robots. Although there is a great deal of research in human-robot interaction, including focusing on specific age groups such as children and seniors, little work directly looks at teen-robot interaction.

Project EMAR is an NSF funded project using a human-centered approach to design and deploy an autonomous social robot to live in a high school. The focus of the robot is to help teens and schools understand and manage teen stress. Learn more about Project EMAR.

Our focus: Facilitating a design challenge

Building on our previous quarter where we designed a series of instructional videos on human-centered design, we are now launching the high school design challenge. This is a participatory design project where teens will prototype a robot to live in their school.

In Winter quarter, the DRG will conduct outreach education and support for 6 local high schools as their teams follow the HCD process in designing a robot prototype. DRG students will provide support to teams as they navigate the HCD process: developing prototypes, evaluating the emerging designs with users, and iterating based on their feedback.

The design challenge culminates in a showcase at UW on March 24, 2018 (3–5pm) where the student teams will present their designs to the public and a team of experts from academia and industry.

Our team

The team is led by Dr. Elin Björling, HCDE a stress researcher who studies adolescents and Dr. Emma Rose, UW Tacoma Assistant Professor in Writing Studies and UX researcher.

Interested students

Although we have students continuing from the Fall quarter DRG, we are looking for a small number of dedicated, enthusiastic UW students at any levels (undergrad to doctoral) to join us to help support the student teams. This project is open to students from both UW Seattle and UW Tacoma campuses.

The DRG participants will meet weekly. Seattle and Tacoma teams will meet on their respective campuses and participate in a weekly teleconference. In addition to the weekly meeting, DRG participants should anticipate going to visit local high schools 2-4 times during the quarter and spend time connecting with schools online (via email) when necessary.

You should apply if you are interested in design pedagogy, psychology, UX design, working with teens, and social robots.

Specifically, we are looking for students who have a combination of the following skills:

  • Deep understanding of the HCD design process
  • Outreach with teens
  • Educational design

Note: Enrollment in this research group is at capacity.