Socially Interactive Robots as a New Digital Tool to Assist in Mental Health and Wellbeing
eMental health delivered through websites, computers and phones have been widely used to provide health information, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and therapy to a large number of people. A new technology that has yet to be thoroughly explored as a digital health tool is the use of a social robot, which is a robot that can communicate and interact with people. A social robot that can provide basic verbal and non-verbal communication has the potential to be programmed with clinician input to support healthcare services. For instance, using a robot
to ask health-related questions, provide customised feedback or low-intensity coaching for health management practices. This talk will discuss the proposed use of social robots to help extend the digital reach of clinicians and how social robots can be integrated into current practice in a way that provides benefit to both patients and practitioners. This will include a discussion of current research trials from the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, including the use of a social robot to assist in providing basic assessment feedback in a health clinic and a social robot to teach a wellbeing technique to university students.
Dr Nicole Robinson is a Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision on the Humanoid Robotics project. She is located at Queensland University of Technology in the Science and Engineering Faculty alongside the Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Robotics and Autonomous Systems group. Nicole has a bachelor’s degree in Behavioural Science (Honours) from QUT. She completed a Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Health and School of Psychology and Counselling at QUT with Professor David Kavanagh. Her PhD
topic involved investigating the digital health and wellbeing field, including the translation of a low-intensity psychotherapeutic program to be autonomously delivered by a humanoid robot. Her research involves using socially interactive robots in clinical trials and experimental studies with the overall aim to improve health and wellbeing outcomes. Technical interest areas include artificial intelligence, robotics, cognitive/clinical/experimental psychology, intelligent agents, and human-robot interaction.