Wed 03/22
People walking on a city street

Design Tech Spring 2023 Lecture Series – Wendy Ju

Strangers Passing: On Public Interactions Between People and Autonomous Systems

Public spaces are some of the most challenging environments in which autonomous systems operate. Unlike workspaces or controlled environments where humans can be trained to work with autonomous systems, or where systems can be built to specifications based on the users, public environments feature a wide variety of people and events. In these environments, interaction challenges cannot be solved with mere interface or instructional improvements. To operate in these environments, robots need to be savvy about the norms and social signals that people use to jointly negotiate on the road, sidewalk, and hallway. More concerningly, these norms and signals vary by location and context. In this talk, Wend Ju will discuss current research from her lab and beyond on human-robot and human-AV interaction, as well as consider attempts to capture regional differences and norm-enforcing behaviors. This research informs ways that autonomous systems can be designed and developed to more safely operate in public.

Speaker Bio

Wendy Ju is an Associate Professor at the Jacobs Technion–Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and the Technion. She is also a member of the Information Science field at Cornell University.  Her work in the areas of human-robot interaction and automated vehicle interfaces highlights the ways that interactive devices can communicate and engage people without interrupting or intruding. Ju has innovated numerous methods for early-stage prototyping of automated systems to understand how people will respond to them before the systems are built. She has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, and a Master’s in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT. Her monograph The Design of Implicit Interactions was published in 2015.