TDr. Ben Robins is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Ben’s qualifications and many years of work experience lie in two disciplines: Computer Science (since 1980) and Dance Movement Therapy (since 1992). Ben completed his PhD research degree in the school of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, focusing on assistive technology for children with autism, bringing together his expertise and experience in these two disciplines. Ben has over 45 scientific publications, including book chapters, articles in scientific journals and in international conferences proceedings. His publications have won several best conference paper awards. Ben’s research, which started in 2002 in the AURORA Project and continued in the FP6/7 European projects IROMEC and ROBOSKIN, investigates the potential use of robots as therapeutic or educational tools, encouraging basic communication and social interaction skills in children with autism. His current work, part of the Horizon2020 BabyRobot project and the KASPAR project, is further investigating robot-assisted therapy and continues the development of the KASPAR robot as a therapeutic and educational tool (http://kaspar.herts.ac.uk). This includes running several long term studies with KASPAR and children with autism in families’ homes and in collaboration with schools and medical centres internationally.
Mark Neerincx is full professor in the Interactive Intelligence group at Delft University of Technology, and principal scientist at TNO department of Perceptual and Cognitive Systems. He has initiated and led a large number of national and international research programs and projects on the human-centered development of intelligent technology (e.g. in FP7, H2020, ESA, NWO, STW and ZonMw programs). A central theme is the integration of stakeholders’ values and needs into the design of electronic partners (ePartners) that provide long-term social, cognitive and affective support for individual’s performance, resilience, health and/or wellbeing. Examples are robotic and virtual assistants that help patients to cope with their chronic disease (e.g., diabetics) in different self-managements activities, and assistants that help older adults with dementia and care givers to establish positive experiences of life in the care centers.