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Alexis E. Block gives invited talks at ICRA, serves as a judge at conference competition

Assistant Professor Alexis E. Block recently had the honor of showcasing her groundbreaking research internationally. She participated in three workshops at the annual International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), held this year in Yokohama, Japan. She gave two invited talks and lent her expertise in human-robot interaction as a judge at one of ICRA’s competitions.

On the first and last day of the conference, she gave her invited talks in two different workshops. Using her doctoral work on HuggieBot as a foundation, she presented “Design Guidelines for Effective Social-Physical Human-Robot Interaction” as part of the “Towards Collaborative Partners: Design, Shared Control, and Robot Learning for Physical Human-Robot Interaction” workshop on the first day. She presented “The HuggieBot Chronicles: Lessons Learned from Designing an Interactive Hugging Robot” as part of the “Unconventional Robots: Universal Lessons for Designing Unique Systems” workshop on the last day. In addition to giving her research presentations, Block served on a panel for each workshop, engaging in thought-provoking discussions with top-notch researchers in the field.

As a judge at ICRA’s “NeuroDesign in HRI – the making of engaging HRI technology your brain can’t resist” competition, Block played a crucial role in evaluating and scoring each team’s presentation. “The submissions were interesting because they all took a unique approach to the topic prompt,” said Block, who appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the competition.

ICRA drew more than 5,000 attendees from around the world. Block had the opportunity to meet researchers she has cited and been cited by for the first time, reconnect with old friends from her doctoral and postdoctoral research labs, meet up with people she has met at past conferences, and make new connections in her field.

Block thanked Case Western Reserve University’s Flora Stone Mather Center for Women for giving her a small grant to support her attendance at ICRA.

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