Teen Social Robot DRG

Measuring Teen Stress with a Social Robot

Featuring EMAR: @RobotEMAR

Winter 2017 DRG

  • Wednesday, 4:00—5:30 pm
  • Sieg Hall, Room 420

During Winter 2017 quarter, we are running an interdisciplinary DRG to explore human-robot interactions among teens in a local high school with our low-fidelity prototype of EMAR. We will observe teens engaging and responding to EMAR’s questions regarding their stress and mood. DRG student teams will analyze and assess these interactions, as well as interview teens about their interactions with EMAR.

Research questions we plan to explore are:

  1. What kinds of robot interactions are appropriate for gauging whether teens feel “heard”?
  2. What kind of social interactions (person to person) result from engaging with EMAR?
  3. What barriers do teams encounter in deploying the EMAR prototypes?

Our team

The team is led by UW Tacoma faculty member Dr. Elin Björling, a stress researcher who studies adolescents. Collaborators include Dr. Emma Rose, UW Tacoma Assistant Professor and UX researcher; and Andrew Davidson, HCDE Senior Lecturer and physical computing specialist.


Adolescents are subject to high levels of stress in their lives, resulting from school, relationships, and family life. Not surprisingly, school stress is most commonly reported as the biggest source of stress for teens. Therefore, accurately measuring teen stress within a student’s school setting can be a valuable way to assess how students are doing and to provide useful feedback for school staff making efforts to reduce student stress.

Social robots are being used to help other populations, such as the elderly and young children. However, there is very little research on either the experience of stress in teens, or the interactions between teens and robots. This presents a unique research opportunity in the field of human-robot interaction (HRI).

Our interdisciplinary team is using participatory, human-centered design to develop a social robot that can measure teen stress in a high school setting. So far, we have developed initial prototypes of a social robot, named EMAR (Ecological Momentary Assessment Robot), and performed preliminary research with teens.

Designing a Social Robot to Assess Teen Stress Using Human-Centered Approach
dub research talk, 8/10/16, by Elin Björling and Emma Rose about the project