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Weekly All School Bulletin

Students Meet Unique Robot
Posted 11/23/2015 09:13AM

Chase partners with the Yale University Social Robotics Lab on innovative project

The future was on display at Chase recently, when students met a robot designed to enhance physical activity in adolescents. The robot’s visit on Oct. 22 was part of “an exciting partnership with the Yale University Social Robotics Lab,” said Jason Lewis, Head of the Middle and Lower Schools. “In the Middle School, we welcomed Yale post-doctoral students from the Social Robotics Lab, as they are working with some of our 8th graders and Upper Schoolers on this project. Students interacted with an autonomous robot that will ultimately be used to increase physical activity in adolescent populations.”

The robot caused a stir with its exacting memory. “Students were quite surprised when the robot referred to each by name and then tracked their movements with its eyes and body,” Lewis said. “It is a really exciting initiative and something that has sparked quite a bit of interest with the students.”

Lewis explained that each student involved spent about 10-15 minutes “interacting with an autonomous robot and then answering a brief survey.”

Yale post-doctoral students Elena Corina Grigore, Andre Pereira, and Brian Scassellati wrote in an email that their project “seeks to develop an adaptive robot companion whose aim is to keep early adolescents and adolescents engaged in high levels of physical activity over time.” After the brief interaction with the robot, students then answered questions “about how much they felt like the robot could become their friend, and about how socially present they felt the robot was…The robot is non-mobile---it is placed on a table in front of the participant and cannot move its location.”

Lewis said the goals of the project align well with those of the school. “As we at Chase are committed to the concept of innovation and design thinking, this is a wonderful chance for students to see these concepts in action at the highest level.”

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