Socially Assistive Robotics have massive potential to empower people and improve human quality of life. Maja Matarić wants to endow these machines with special qualities so that they can help us in new ways that go far beyond practical use. Ranging in potential applications from childhood development to elder care, she envisions a world in which all of us have a robot companion with unlimited patience that remains steadfast and dedicated and that comes thoughtfully tailored to an individual’s needs. We invite you to spend an hour sharing in Maja’s incredible future vision for how robots will potentially allow each of us to live a better more independent life.
Maja Matarić is a Chan Soon-Shiong distinguished professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California (USC) and founding director of the USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center). She is motivated by the vast need for improving the human condition, and the equally vast potential for affordable human-centered technologies, such as socially assistive robotics (SAR), as means of empowering people and improving human quality of life. As a pioneer of SAR, her research is aimed at endowing machines with the ability to help people, especially those with special needs. Her lab’s focus is on developing technologies that help people help themselves, using technology to augment human ability rather than to automate human work.