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Robotic Health Counselor

Robotic Health Counselor

We are exploring the efficacy of health counseling by humanoid robots in complex domains such as cancer genetics. Automating of genetic counseling is particularly important given the current shortage of genetic counselors in the US. We developed a humanoid robot that explains inherited breast cancer genetics and motivates women to obtain cancer genetic testing, by explaining cancer risk using speech, hand gesture, and data visualizations. In a quasi-experimental pilot study, we demonstrated that interaction with the robot leads to significant increases in cancer genetics knowledge, and significant increases in intent to follow guidelines for breast cancer screening.

Zhou, S., Murali, P., Underhill-Blazey, M., and Bickmore, T. 2020. “Cancer Genetic Counseling by Humanoid Robot: Modeling Multimodal Communication of Health Risk.” In ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), 543–45.   Best Paper Award

Affiliated Faculty: Timothy Bickmore.

02/24/21 – BOSTON, MA – Students test medical protective gear using robots in the ISEC building on Feb 24, 2021. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

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