Robotics Track

Track Chair: Hongwei Hsiao, Texas A&M University

Robotics in the Future of Work

The symposium this year focuses on advancement of robotics research and applications in industrial and service domains and their trajectory in the future.  It provides an opportunity for participants and speakers together to

  • Explore the status quo of and human factors issues with Generative Pre-Trained Transformers and their impact in the future of work.
  • Uncover human-robot communication technologies for safety and efficiency among collaborative robots, mobile robots, autonomous equipment in the future of work.
  • Find insight in service robotics methods and various applications
  • Discuss challenges and best practices in hybrid robotics for inclusiveness, such as trustworthy and safety awareness of robotics and worker stress
  • Network for partnership on robotics research for worker health and well-being.

Track Program

Monday, October 23, 2023

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM                 

Generative Pre-Trained Transformers (GPT) in the Future of Work
Moderator: Hongwei Hsiao
Speakers: Avishek Choudhury (WVU), Nathan Tenhundfeld (U of Alabama), Nakul Gopalan (ASU)

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Specialty Robots in the Future of Work
Moderator: Robert Radwin
Speakers: Boyi Hu (U of Florida), Wendy Rogers( U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Deb Reardanz (ClarkLindsey), Christina Jones (OSHA)

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Collaborative Robots in the Future of Work
Moderator: Menekse Barim
Speakers: Richard Gardner (Boeing), Marvin Cheng (NIOSH), Lixiao Huang (GSI, Arizona State)

Track Speakers



Presentation Title: Human-Robot Collaboration in Future Manufacturing Workspaces: Enhancing the Safety and Efficiency

Dr.  Marvin Cheng is the Assistant Coordinator at the Center for Occupational Robotics Research in NIOSH. Dr. Cheng’s major research interests in the past few years focus on studies of workspace safety using collaborative and exoskeleton robots and cyber-physical systems with the concentration in the following areas: worker safety and, human-robot interaction in collaborative workspaces, machine vision and motion recognition, and multiaxial control of exoskeleton robotic devices. The goal of his robotic research activities aim to create a safer collaborative workspace by avoiding injuries caused by potential collisions between the robotic devices and the human workers in the shared workspace. As the team lead of the Safety Control Team at NIOSH, Dr. Cheng is also actively involved in the research projects in the fields of virtual reality simulation, motor vehicle safety, and safety with the consideration of ergonomic engineering. Dr. Cheng is currently a member of the RIA R15.06/R15.08 committees. He has been participating the review and revise of the safety standards of collaborative and mobile robotic devices since 2020.





Presentation Title: User Perception of ChatGPT: A Cross-Sectional Survey Findings

Dr. Avishek Choudhury (Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering at West Virginia University. He holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology (2022), and a master’s degree in industrial and systems Engineering from Texas Tech University (2017). He has received several awards for his work, including the Paul Kaplan Award, the Fabrycky-Blanchard Award, and the Excellence Doctoral Fellowship.

Dr. Choudhury serves as the associate editor for Nature Scientific Reports and JMIR Human Factors. He has been an invited speaker at the National Academy of Sciences to discuss on the critical issue of trust in AI as it pertains to integrated diagnostics and precision medicine in oncology.

His research focuses on cognitive human factors, artificial intelligence, and healthcare, specifically on patient safety, neuroergonomics, and user experience. Beyond his academic work, Choudhury works with many not-for-profit organizations around the world, especially in low-income countries focusing on healthcare disparity, malnutrition, and maternal health. He aims to solve public health problems and bridge the digital gap, which are key parts of the Sustainable Development Goal.




Presentation Title: Human-Cobot Teaming in Shared Industrial Workspaces: Opportunities & Challenges

Mr. Richard Gardner is a Boeing Technical Fellow with the Boeing Research & Technology, Materials & Manufacturing Technology organization.  He supports product development programs by integrating ergonomics requirements into design processes and helps establish methods for verifying safe and producible manufacturing systems. Mr. Gardner also serves as principal investigator for manufacturing ergonomics research & development and is technical leader for a portfolio of internal research focused on enhanced human performance and worker augmentation including collaborative robotics and wearable technologies.  Prior to Boeing, Mr. Gardner worked as a human factors flight test engineer for the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, conducting research, development, test & evaluation of human-machine interfaces for a variety of aircraft platforms.  He serves on the Editorial Board of Ergonomics in Design, is a member of National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), Musculoskeletal Health Council and a Texas Tech University Manufacturing, Industrial & Systems Engineering Academy inductee.  Mr. Gardner holds a M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Colorado @ Boulder.  He is a Licensed Professional Engineer and Board Certified Professional Ergonomist.




Presentation Title: Representation Learning and Language Grounding for Robots to be Diligent Collaborators

Nakul Gopalan is an Assistant Professor at the School of Computing and Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) within Arizona State University. His research interests lie at the intersection of language grounding and robot learning. He is interested in algorithms and methods that allow robots to be trained by leveraging demonstrations and natural language descriptions. Such learning would improve the usability of robots within homes and offices. His other research interests are in hierarchical reinforcement learning and planning. His works have been nominated for best paper awards at R:SS and the RoboNLP workshop.



Presentation Title: Biomechanical and Mental Workload during Human-Robot Collaborative Pollination Task

Boyi Hu serves as an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Florida since 2018 Fall. He received his Ph.D. degree from West Virginia University majoring in Ergonomics in 2016 and worked as post-doc research fellow at Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health 2016-2018. His research interests are Ergonomics, Biomechanics, Safety Engineering & Human-Robot Interaction. His primary research interest is in identifying intervention pathways that influence and improve safety and health by using classical ergonomics principles augmented by emerging robotics technologies, wearable sensors, and artificial intelligence methods. The overarching goal of his research is to assist humans in living and working more independently, interacting with the environment and systems in a smooth manner, and achieving greater productivity in the foreseeable future.  Since 2018, He has been the principal or co-principal investigator on seven competitive grants totaling $1,219,726 with funding organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Transportation.




Presentation Title: Applying a Generalized Model of Human Emotional Attachment to Human-Robot Interaction

Dr. Lixiao Huang is an Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Human, Artificial Intelligence, and Robot Teaming (CHART) within Global Security Initiative (GSI) at Arizona State University. She completed her Ph.D. in Human Factors and Applied Cognition from North Carolina State University in 2016 and Postdoc in the Humans and Autonomy Lab (HAL) at Duke University in 2018. She is the founding chair of the Human–AI–Robot Teaming (HART) technical group at Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, advocating cutting-edge HART research, interdisciplinary collaboration, and advanced testbeds and analytics. She has worked on ARL, ONR, and DARPA research projects as a research lead. Dr. Huang's research interests include 1) Human–AI–Robot Teaming effectiveness; 2) Humans’ responses (i.e., emotional states, behavioral patterns, and cognitive processes) to robots and technologies, especially emotional attachment, intrinsic motivation, coordination, trust, and metacognition; 3) The design of human-robot systems using Human Factors methods to make AI and robots effective, safe, user-friendly, trustworthy, and engaging. 



Presentation Title: OSHA Resources on Robot Systems and Robot System Safety

Christina Jones is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Washington, D.C.  She is the Director of OSHA’s Office of Outreach Services and Alliances. 

Ms. Jones began her employment with OSHA in 2003 and worked almost exclusively on emergency preparedness and response related initiatives until 2009, helping to craft both OSHA and Federal emergency response and recovery policy, and providing significant support during OSHA’s response to natural disasters and significant events. Ms. Jones moved to her new role in the Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in 2013, and now heads the office responsible for overseeing OSHA’s outreach efforts and Alliance program. Prior to working for OSHA, Ms. Jones worked for 13 years as an Industrial Hygienist in private industry and consulting.

Ms. Jones holds a BS in Chemistry from Ithaca College and a MS in Occupational Safety and Health from Temple University.



Presentation Title: Robot Support for Residents and Staff in a Life Plan Residential Community

Co-Presenting with Wendy Rogers

Deb Reardanz, MBA, has served as the President and CEO of ClarkLindsey, a non-profit Life Plan Community, since 2009, advancing its mission to engage the mind, spirit, and body in wellness and community so that older adults can live their best life. Deb has an MBA from Eastern Illinois University, and a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Illinois. She has been a Licensed Certified Public Accountant since 1997 and received her Nursing Home Administrator's license in 1998.

The ClarkLindsey Community has 300+ residents ages 62 or better and 275 employees, serving the older adults of Champaign County for over 40 years.  In 2017, Clark-Lindsey opened Illinois’ first Green House Homes and advanced regulatory readiness for a more resident centric, small home model.  Deb currently serves as a board member on the Center for Innovation, an organization that has advanced culture change throughout aging services.

Deb is actively engaged in university-community partnerships with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  She serves on the Steering Committee of the Collaborations in Health, Aging, Research, and Technology (CHART) program as well as on the Advisory Board for the Health Technology Education Program.














Presentation Title: Robot Support for Residents and Staff in a Life Plan Residential Community

Co-Presenting with Deb Reardanz

Wendy A. Rogers, Ph.D., is Shahid and Ann Carlson Khan Professor of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Her primary appointment is in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health.  She received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  She is a Certified Human Factors Professional (BCPE Certificate #1539).  Her research interests include design for aging; technology acceptance; aging-in-place; human-robot interaction; aging with disabilities; and cognitive aging.

Wendy is the Director of the McKechnie Family LIFE Home; Director of the Health Technology Education Program; Program Director of CHART (Collaborations in Health, Aging, Research, and Technology;); and Director of the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory.  Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute on Aging as part of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE); and through the National Institute of Nursing Research.  In addition, her work is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research as part of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers on Technologies to Support Aging-in-Place for People with Long-Term Disabilities (TechSAge) and the Center for Enhancing Neurocognitive Health, Abilities, Networks, and Community Engagement (ENHANCE).



Presentation title:  A SWOT Analysis of Large Language Models’ Potential Influence from a Cognitive Perspective

Dr. Nate Tenhundfeld is an Associate Professor and the Interim-Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Nate received his PhD in 2017 from Colorado State University, and did a postdoc in the Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center at the US Air Force Academy, before joining faculty at UAH in 2019. His research focuses on human interactions with automation, AI, and robotics. To date he has published over 50 journal articles/conference proceedings, and has received $2.3 million in grant funding. In addition, Nate was awarded the 2022 UAH Undergraduate Research Mentor award, the 2018 Raja Parasuraman Award for Scientific Impact by the International Neuroergonomics Society, and the 2023 “Big of the Year” award by the Tennessee Valley chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.