Workplace SAR

We are studying how small and low-cost socially assistive robots can encourage frequent computer users to take breaks and be more active during the workday.


As computer use becomes more central to work in many fields, office workers face increased risks of health challenges including heart disease, diabetes, and eyestrain due to prolonged periods of sitting and looking at a screen without taking a break. These individuals can benefit from taking breaks, standing up, and moving around, but there is no universally effective method for encouraging these behaviors in the workplace.


We propose socially assistive robots as a means to deliver successful prompts for computer users to take breaks, stand up, and be more active during the workday. Past work suggests the physical embodiment of a robot can facilitate more positive responses and adherence to stimuli than onscreen prompts or other non-embodied solutions. Accordingly, we propose to gain an understanding of what behaviors of a social and physically embodied SAR system are most effective for encouraging healthier workplace practices during short- and long-term studies.


  • Rhian Preston (PhD Student)


  • Rhian C. Preston, Nisha Raghunath, and Naomi T. Fitter, "Going out on a Limb: Examining How Form Impacts Human Perception of Robot Arms," Proceedings of the Workshop YOUR Study Design! Participatory Critique and Refinement of Participants Studies Workshop, held in conjunction with HRI, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan (remote), 2022. [BibTeX] [PDF]
  • Rhian C. Preston and Naomi T. Fitter, "Increasing personalization in long-term interactions with a workplace companion robot," Proceedings of the Lifelong Learning and Personalization in Long-Term Human-Robot Interaction (LEAP-HRI) Workshop, ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), Boulder, CO, USA (remote), 2021. [BibTeX] [PDF]
  • Brian J. Zhang, Ryan Quick, Ameer Helmi, and Naomi T. Fitter, "Socially assistive robots at work: Making break-taking interventions more pleasant, enjoyable, and engaging," Paper accepted to the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (remote), 2020. [BibTeX] [PDF]