Emilyann Nault

Research project title: 
Socially Assistive Robots and Sensory Feedback for MCI/Dementia Cognitive Rehabilitation
Principal goal for project: 
My research goal is to increase engagement with cognitive rehabilitation tasks for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. Improving engagement in this area can aid in slowing the rate of cognitive decline, thus helping to alleviate the growing pressure on both care facilities and the healthcare system as a whole. To achieve this objective, the proposed robotic system will adapt the socially assistive robot behaviour, cognitive task, and sensory feedback based on engagement level assessed from physiological sensors.
Research project: 

To initiate this research, we developed a socially assistive robot (SAR)-facilitated memory game that uses the tactile sensors on the Pepper robot along with employing auditory and haptic feedback. The goal of this system was to inform the design of a cognitive rehabilitation system for individuals with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. The feasibility study has been published in the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction as a late-breaking report, and I am currently planning a follow-up study with older adults. I am also in the process of virtually interviewing health professionals to attain insight and feedback that will help shape the design of the proposed system.