Embodied AI Talk by Mike Ligthart: Long-Term Child-Robot Relationships

Een meisje speelt met een robot © iStockphoto.com/selimaksan
© iStockphoto.com/selimaksan

After three successful panels, the Embodied AI initiative started organizing a monthly online Talk Series. The goal of this Talk Series is to further understand the research field, build community and increase the visibility of expertise on both national and international levels. This month, we warmly invite you to a talk, by Mike Ligthart (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), who will discuss his research in long-term child-robot relationships.

Social robots

Social robots have a lot of potential to support children long-term in the hospital, at school, or even at home. Key for facilitating a sustainable long-term interaction is enabling children to bond with the robot. It is this bond that keeps them coming back and allows them to benefit the most from the social support the robot has to offer. In his research so far, Ligthart has developed autonomous social robot behaviors and conversational content that enable child and robot to form a relationship and maintain it for a short while.

Children grow up. If we want the robot to truly offer meaningful long-term support, so should the robot. Ideally the robot grows socially, cognitively, physically, and relationally together with the child. To achieve this, we need to develop novel theories, technologies, and methods to create more elaborate, long-term oriented, social capabilities for the robot and a feasible strategy to create personalized multimodal interaction content. In this talk Ligthart will reflect on his PhD research and look ahead to what’s next.

Mike Ligthart

Mike Ligthart is a postdoctoral researcher at the Social AI research group at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He started his PhD research at Delft University of Technology and finished it at the VU in 2022. His main research activities are studying the child-robot relationship, creating interaction content in collaborations with artists, and developing reusable interaction design patterns for autonomous social robot behaviors.

Start date and time
End date and time
Online via Teams en on location in the Marinus Ruppert building, room 002

Register for the lecture here.

More information
Read more about the Embodied AI Initiative here