UW CSE professor Maya Cakmak, whose research focuses on human-robot interaction, has received a NSF CAREER Award. She is the 31st current CSE professor to be recognized through this program or its predecessors, which is the most prestigious category of awards offered by the National Science Foundation in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars. The award will support Cakmak’s efforts to develop robots that end-users can program to address their specific needs and the environments in which they live.
While robots have the potential to enhance quality of life and increase independence for people living with disabilities, it is difficult to anticipate all possible scenarios when programming general-purpose robots. Cakmak seeks to address this difficulty by empowering users with diverse abilities and without technical backgrounds to program their assistive robots to perform real-world tasks within the settings in which they will be deployed. As part of the project, she will develop new methods and tools that encompass situated programming (programing through direct interactions with the robot and its environment), simplified programming (programming using highly simplified languages), and abstracted programming (manipulating abstractions of program entities for which programs are synthesized automatically).
Cakmak’s proposal also includes a strong education and outreach component. Among other things, she plans to continue engaging K-12 students with disabilities in robotics through the DO-IT scholars program and expand UW CSE outreach programs with robotics-related activities.
Learn more about the project on the NSF award page here.