Infotech Speaker Series: Ayanna Howard, Ph.D.

Date: January 22, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Reitz Union, Room G320
Host: UF CISE Department
Admission: This event is free and open to the public.

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Designing Robots for the Future: A Journey from Innovation to Entrepreneurship

Abstract: The Robots are coming! The Robots are coming! The Robots are already…. Here. In recent months, there has been an upsurge in the attention given to robots and artificial bots and their inevitable destruction of the human race if we are not watchful. Whether your opinion sits on one side or the other, the fact remains; robots have already become a part of our society and, in some cases, an integral part. No longer is a robot chauffer, i.e. an autonomous robot car that can drive an individual to work, a whimsical thought of a science-fiction movie director. No longer is a robot suit, i.e. a robot exoskeleton that can assist a paraplegic to walk, a fantasy story of a writer. Not to argue against being vigilant, but coupled with the doom-and-gloom messages of robots and bots, these agents are also being seen as beneficial, life-saving, machines for assisting us in our everyday lives. This talk provides a first look at how robots can change the texture of our day-to-day experiences through examples of research focused on robots interacting with humans, with an emphasis on healthcare robotics that can enable a healthier, less stressful, equality of life, now and in the future.

Ayanna Howard, Ph.D.Biography: Ayanna Howard’s career focus is on intelligent technologies that must adapt to and function within a human-centered world. Her work, which encompasses advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), assistive technologies, and robotics, has resulted in over 250 peer-reviewed publications in a number of projects – from healthcare robots in the home to AI-powered STEM apps for children with diverse learning needs. Howard received her B.S. in engineering from Brown University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California. Her accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today and TIME Magazine, as well as being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider. In 2013, she founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research.