Doctoral Consortium at IDC 2021
Socially assistive robots (SARs) receive a lot of research attention due to their positive impact in a variety of contexts. Importantly, studies have shown that children with autism are much more receptive to SARs in therapy while resulting in similar learning outcomes. Given the sensitive nature of therapy and the current state of autonomous robots, in practice robots are teleoperated by a therapist controlling their motion and dialogue. There is an opportunity to produce more effective teleoperation interfaces of SARs in the context of therapy for children with autism. In this paper, I outline research for improving teleoperation interfaces of SARs through (1) analyzing current teleoperation usage, (2) interviewing therapists about their needs, and (3) implementing and evaluating varied designs for teleoperation interfaces.