Long-Jing Hsu, a Ph.D. student in informatics at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, won the best student design award at the 18th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction, which was held March 13-16 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Hsu won for her project, GratiBot: Enhancing Relationships of Caregivers and Older Adult Care Recipients through Gratitude. She collaborated with her sister, Long-Yuan Hsu, who is studying at Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University. The project promoted gratitude practices among caregivers and older-adult care recipients.
“It's an amazing feeling to win this competition, not just because of the recognition and opportunity it brings, but also because it was a bonding experience with my sister,” Long-Jing Hsu said. “Winning with her makes it even more special and meaningful.”
The conference, the most prestigious in the human robotic interaction field, draws a large number of international scholars. The student-design competition was designed and implemented by the students and wasn’t part of a larger lab research project. It had 22 entries from all over the world.
“The student-design competition is judged by world-renowned experts,” said Selma Šabanović, associate dean for graduate education and professor of informatics. “Long-Jing’s win is a great testament to her hard work and creativity. This is the second year in a row that she has had a winning design in the HRI student design competition. Last year, she was recognized for collaboration with other informatics Ph.D students.We are very proud of her. I'm excited to see what she does next.”
The design challenge required students to create and describe a scenario with robots/agents that was affordable and that had real-world application potential. Students were encouraged to consider gender inclusion, geographical inclusion, ethnic inclusion, disability and equity.
GratiBot is a robot designed to facilitate mutual gratitude practices between a caregiver and a care recipient. It’s a mobile phone application that is accessible and affordable for caregivers around the world. The GratiBot interviews caregivers and care recipients, and makes suggestions on how to improve their interactions. The design was based on the results of interviews with seven caregivers in the United States and Taiwan dealing with people older than 50.
The Hsus used those countries because of their large elderly population in which more than one in five people are 65 and older.
Geographical constraints limited the study to online only. GratiBot also could be used for childcare and other educational settings.
Hsu credited guidance from Šabanović, as well as Luddy assistant professor of informatics Christina Chung, and associate instructors Kshitij Wagh and Jagrut Dhirajkumar Chaudhari from her Cross-Platform Mobile Programming Class.
“It was especially hard to create a high-fidelity prototype within the Cross-Platform Mobile Programming class with a non-engineering background,” Hsu said, “but it was possible with Christina and Kshitij and Jagrut's help.”
Hsu plans to work with Šabanović on another project to improve older adults’ meaning and purpose in life. She also will collaborate with Chung to continue to improve robots enhancing caregiver-care recipient relationships.
Also participating in the student-design competition were Luddy Ph.D. informatics student Zitao Zhang and Aoi Minamoto, a masters student in data science. Their project was titled, Aimoji, an affordable interaction kit that upcycles used toy as companion robot.
In addition, full-paper presentations were delivered by informatics Ph.D. student Natasha Randall and former informatics masters’ student Waki Kamino.