Workshop Objectives

The main objective of this workshop is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of researchers to identify and address key challenges for studying socio-emotionally adaptive robots for wellbeing and its relevant aspect for socially assistive robots in the lab and in the field. The workshop aims at (1) including the advances in affective computing and machine learning into social robotics context; (2) investigating the crucial topic of wellbeing in clinical and non-clinical contexts during a post-pandemic era; and (3) advancing the field of social robotics in a situated context focusing on open challenges.

1. Adaptive and Socio-emotional Robot Behaviors to Promote Wellbeing

Despite their popularity in the machine learning community, adaptation and emotional capabilities have not been explored largely in robotic applications. For robotic agents, learning adaptive and socio-emotional behaviors raises new challenges due to the critical issues of their embodiment and their social interaction with humans. This workshop seeks to draw a research agenda that encompasses the directions for machine learning methods highlighted in the literature and help researchers in the field of robotics to identify priorities and challenges to address in their future work.

2. The Role of Socially Assistive Robots for Wellbeing

Within the HRI community, a promising venue to assist people with special needs during their everyday life tasks is Socially Assistive Robotics (SAR). SARs have been explored mainly for home assistance for the elderly and therapeutic interventions for children with autism. Past works have also focused on using socially assistive robots for wellbeing. However, the understanding of their role in context is still in its infancy. With this open challenge in mind, this workshop will focus on better highlighting (i) which are the different roles a socially assistive robot can assume into specific context (e.g., in-home, therapeutic centers) to promote wellbeing (e.g., companion/peer, assistant, coach) and (ii) how the user perception of the robot changes across the different roles.

3. Opportunities and Challenges of Designing Robots to Promote Wellbeing

The robotic applications are spreading out into our everyday lives, leading to a greater understanding that robotic progress influences the human physical and social environments. Nowadays, the robotic field is pivoting towards the wellbeing and healthcare of the present and future generations. In this context, one of the main opportunities and challenges is the reflection on the design of robots for promoting wellbeing, which will be one of the important highlights of our workshop.