Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Speaker Information

Heather Knight
Assistant Professor
Computer Science
Oregon State University


The pandemic has brought increasing numbers of robots and automation into everyday human spaces, making our prior work in service robots, expressive communication, and autonomous and human-in-the-loop robot behavior systems ever more relevant. Using examples from 20 years in the field, this talk illustrates how technology designers can repeatedly leverage human-inspired communication systems into robot perception and enactment systems that can add social and functional value to robots operating with, for, and around humans. It will also present work from the CHARISMA Robotics lab at Oregon State University, an acronym for Collaborative Humans and Robotics: Interaction, Sociability, Machine learning and Art. From robot furniture to robot comedy, from nonverbal expressions to the cultural situation of robots operating around people in factories, workplaces, and sidewalks, CHARISMA contributes to the fields of human-robot interaction and social robotics, regularly deploying robots in naturalistic human settings and entertainment contexts.

Speaker Bio

Heather Knight runs the CHARISMA Robotics research group at Oregon State University, which applies methods from entertainment to the development of more effective and charismatic robots. Their research interests include minimal social robots, multi-robot/multi-human social interaction, and entertainment robots. Her previous work includes a postdoc at Stanford University that explores minimal robots and autonomous car interfaces, a PhD in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University exploring Expressive Motion for Low Degree of Freedom Robots, and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she developed a sensate skin for a robot teddy bear at the MIT Media Lab. Additional past work includes robotics and instrumentation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, sensor design at Aldebaran Robotics, and nine years of producing an annual Robot Film Festival exploring positive storytelling about robots. Additional honors include a robot flower garden installation at the Smithsonian/Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, robot comedy on, and a British Video Music Award for OK GO's "This Too Shall Pass" music video featuring a two-floor Rube Goldberg Machine.