My work focuses on developing knowledge of how novel technologies can serve to mediate interactions between people and robotic systems. In particular, my research agenda involves:

  • Designing new methods for understanding, measuring, and analyzing the efficacy of robotic technologies

  • Building empirical understandings regarding the fundamental principles that support human use of interactive systems

  • Applying theoretical knowledge, experimental findings, and practical insights in the creation of new algorithms, systems, and integrated solutions that provide enhanced capabilties for assisting human endeavors


Developing Principles for Effective Human Collaboration with Aerial Robots

Small aerial robots represent a novel platform uniquely suited to assist humans in exploratory, surveillance, inspection, and telepresence tasks across a variety of domains. Recently, there has been an explosive growth in the development of such platforms, which is expanding their availability for potential use in military, commercial, and personal contexts. This project explores methods to enhance robot usability, perceived safety, and collaborative potential to support the deployment of flying robots working alongside humans in environments such as warehouses, construction sites, and the International Space Station.


Supporting User Interaction with Virtual, Mixed, and Augmented Reality

Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies hold great promise at providing users with new ways to interact with information via immersive 3D visuals. These technologies are rapidly maturing and opening up novel possibilities for applications across robotics, computer-supported collaborative work, and visualization. This project characterizes the perceptual affordances of modern mixed reality technologies and leverages their capabilities in developing new user interfaces for intuitively interacting with data, robots, and other people.


Repurposing Robots for Novel Interactions

This project explores how robots might be repurposed such that their use transcends traditional notions of “put-and-place” or data collection tasks. We explore a wider design space for robotics, for instance examining robot abilities to support opportunistic tangible input and haptic output for traditional Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) or act as assistive devices for users with disabilities.


Designing Adaptive Robotic Products and Educational Technologies

In this project, we explore how to develop educational technologies such as robots or virtual tutoring systems. A major focus of this work is developing systems that can autonomously adapt to changes in users’ behavioral, cognitive, and task states. We follow a transdisciplinary design process that draws on robotics, educational psychology, and neuroergonomics to design and evaluate the effectiveness of such adaptive educational technologies.


Artistic Expressions with Robotics and Interactive Technologies

Advances in sensing, projection, and robotics are creating new design spaces for merging technology with artistic performances and athletic activities. This project develops new methods for human activity recognition within the context of non-traditional movements, such as in sports or dance performances, and designs interactive exhibitions that combine human movement and adaptive artistic expressions.

Exhibitions and Performances

  • Merideth Burgess and Daniel Szafir. (2016). Graphic Impulse, Pole Theatre USA. Winner of the Pole Art category.