How Socio Cognitive Robotics Laboratory of Sharif University of Technology Assists Children in Education and Healthcare?

For six years now, the research team at the socio cognitive robotics laboratory at Sharif University of Technology, comprised of experts in the fields of robotics, mechatronics, psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, electronics, computer, artificial intelligence, and art has carried out interdisciplinary research in robotics. Here is a review from Dr. Ali Meghdari, head of the laboratory and Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department, on the activities of the laboratory.

The laboratory started its research with the examination and measurement of the impacts that the robots could have when used in the process of children’s learning and getting medical treatments; numerous papers were published in accredited journals and presented in international conferences. This was well before the time when the laboratory starts the design and manufacture of social robots tailored to the needs of various research objectives. During the years of this laboratory’s activities the educational and curative approach in studying children and adolescent’s interaction and response remains the main target for the group to pursue.

“Arash” is a social robot designed to work with children diagnosed with cancer or other chronic diseases who spend time in hospital, far from their home. “Rasa” is a social humanoid robot who helps the deaf and hearing impaired children to learn sign language. “Maya”, the little elephant who helps autistic children in their education, is proved to do well in reducing the stress level of children in schools as well as motivating them to participate in learning activities. She detects and tracks faces in motion and recognizes facial expressions that helps her communicate efficiently. “Taban” is a robot that expresses emotions using a projector inside his head and “Roma” is a fashion model. These are the members of the Sharifi family of social robots.

Currently 25 students are pursuing research in the Socio Cognitive Robotics Laboratory of Sharif University of Technology in Bachelor, Master and PhD levels.

The research in this laboratory is supported by Research Vice Presidency of Sharif University of Technology, Iran National Science Foundation, Iranian Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, Cognitive Sciences & Technologies Council, Islamic Azad University-West Tehran Branch, Research Institute for Information and Communication Technology, Center for the Treatment of Autistic Disorders, Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences at Shahid Beheshti University, and Dr. Ali Akbar Siasi Grant.

To get familiar with Dr. Meghdar’s research group, you might visit here