I am a cognitive and social scientist, who studies human-robot interaction. In 2016, I joined the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz, as an acting associate professor of Psychology. In 2016, I also founded Hoku Labs to do human-robot interaction research consulting for product teams. For the past few years, I was a senior user experience researcher at GoogleX, a lab that aims for moonshots in technology and science.Prior to joining GoogleX, I was a research scientist and area manager for human-robot interaction at Willow Garage. In 2015, I received an Early Career Award from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. In 2012, I had the honor of being named a TR35 winner (Technology Review’s top 35 innovators under 35) and one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company.
With a background in Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Human-Computer Interaction, I study human encounters with new technologies. In 2008, I completed my PhD in Communication at Stanford University. I also hold a PhD minor in Psychology from Stanford, MA in Communication from Stanford, and BAs in Psychology and Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley (2003). During grad school, I worked as a research assistant in the User Interface Research (UIR) group at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
My work lies in the intersections of ubiquitous computing and embodied cognition. I study how people interact with new technologies and how their experiences with those technologies influence the ways that they experience the world.
For a quick overview of my recent work, check out this 13-minute TEDx presentation, 3.5-minute TR35 montage, 5-minute Pop!Tech presentation, or this brief article I wrote for Tech Review. For a more in-depth perspective, here’s an NPR All Things Considered piece about our personal robotics work, a 60-minute presentation I gave at University of Toronto, and a 60-minute presentation I recently gave at UC Berkeley about Mixing Human and Robotic Agents.
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