Robotics Engineering Colloquium Series: Fengpei (Fiona) Yuan

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Floor/Room #

Socially Assistive Robotics to Support Persons with Dementia in Conversational Engagement and Activities of Daily Living


Fiona Yuan

Abstract: Addressing the urgent need for innovative care in our aging population, this seminar unveils pioneering research in Socially Assistive Robotics (SAR) aimed at enriching the lives of persons living with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (PLWDs). Fengpei's work navigates the confluence of robotics, AI, healthcare, and human-robot interaction to craft adaptive, personalized robotics tailored to the unique needs and capabilities of PLWDs. Central to her approach is keeping PLWDs in the loop, utilizing adaptive and causal AI to forge dynamic conversational strategies, and deploying these in real-world settings to establish a comprehensive approach to robotic dementia care. The presentation will explore the challenges encountered, the cross-disciplinary collaborations that fueled breakthroughs, and the significant strides made toward developing personalized and impactful SAR solutions for PLWDs, paving the way for future innovations in the robotic field.

Bio: Fengpei (Fiona) Yuan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, focusing on developing SAR and human-centered AI to augment dementia care. As PI, Yuan secured the Student/Faculty Research Award for her innovative research on robotic dementia caregiver. Yuan earned her master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee in 2019 and her bachelor’s degree in mechatronics engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology in 2016. She has been recognized with prestigious awards such as the Outstanding Graduate Student Award and the Extraordinary Professional Promise Award. In 2023, Yuan was nominated for the Southeastern Conference Emerging Scholars Award. With over 20 publications, she has significantly contributed to the understanding and development of SAR in dementia care. Her work on robotic learning for cognitive training was a best paper finalist at the International Conference on Social Robotics. In acknowledgment of her dedication, Yuan has been chosen as Ambassador for the International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment.

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Robotics Engineering