Professor Goldie Nejat’s work with assistive robots profiled in the Globe and Mail

Goldie Nejat is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, and the Founder and Director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics (ASBLab) Laboratory. Dr. Nejat is also an Adjunct Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

Dr. Nejat is a world renowned expert in developing intelligent service/personal robots for applications in health, elderly care, emergency response, search and rescue, security and surveillance, and manufacturing. A major goal of her research is to develop and integrate intelligent socially assistive robots for assistive human-robot interactions (HRI) in healthcare facilities, private homes and for high stress and dangerous jobs.

The Globe and Mail recently featured Professor Nejat’s work on assistive robots being used at the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in Scarborough, Ontario.

The robotics team at the University of Toronto (U of T) that programmed Pepper, alongside a fellow robot named Salt, certainly tried their best to design it to fit in.

The robots have facial expressions and can gesture with their arms and head, says Goldie Nejat, Canada research chair in robots for society, who leads the U of T’s Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory.

“They use the same verbal and non-verbal communication we use, and they have some emotional intelligence, so they can detect emotions and respond to them,” Dr. Nejat says.

The notion of robots caring for aging people may sound like science fiction, but the Pepper pilot shows the future is closer than most people realize.

“We’re about five years away from seeing robots more commonly used in the home or at [seniors’] residences,” Dr. Nejat adds.

Read the full profile titled ‘How robots can make aging in place more enjoyable’ on the Globe and Mail website.

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