Areas of Academic Interest
Socially assistive robotics
It was a teddy bear that first got Jamy Li interested in the world of robotics. While a master’s student, Li completed an internship in Tokyo working with a robot teddy bear that doubled as a phone. “People could speak to the teddy bear and it would be reproduced on another bear in another location. It could also communicate gestures and emotions,” says Li.
The internship sparked Li’s curiosity in the relationship between robots and humans. “I realized it’s a very open field filled with possibilities, but there’s also a lot of unanswered questions,” says Li. “In my research, one of the questions I’m trying to answer is, how can robot prototypes assist people in their homes? How do we develop that technology?”
He’s hoping to answer some of those questions in his own research, which focuses on the creation and evaluation of human-centred systems such as assistive robots or voice agents. For example, his work has explored how robots can help people deal with loneliness and how they could increase engagement in online learning. Li’s research also aligns with his original reason for studying engineering: to improve the lives of others. “I went into industrial engineering to make a social impact,” says Li.
“I like how industrial engineering studies both the creation of technology and its influence on people.”