Justin W. Hart
I am currently a PhD candidate at Yale University where I research at the Social Robotics Lab, advised by Professor Brian Scassellati.
In my research, I have been constructing a robot that is able to autonomously learn about its sensory and motor capabilities, breaking from the standard practice in which such models, if present at all, are constructed during the design of the robot, by engineers, or meticulously calibrated offline. If robots are able to understand themselves in this way, it will open the possibility of highly robust machines that are able to adapt flexibly to different use cases or to damage, in software, and very precise machines that continuously self-calibrate. The models that my robot constructs are inspired by the process by which children learn about their sensory and physical capabilities and how they are able to interact with the environment, which represent the earliest forms of self-awareness to develop during infancy.
While my thesis research focuses on robots autonomously learning about their bodies and senses, I also work in human-robot interaction, including projects on social presence, attributions of agency, and creating lifelike motion.
Descriptions of my work have recently appeared in New Scientist, BBC News, NBC News, Business Standard, CBS SmartPlanet, El Mundo, the Yale Graduate School Newsletter, and GE's Focus Forward Films.