UW Tacoma EMAR Project Awarded NSF Grant

Credit: UW Tacoma Blog

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.1 million grant to fund the development of a robot that will be used to measure stress in teens. EMAR [Ecological Momentary Assessment Robot] is the brainchild of UW Tacoma Nursing & Healthcare Leadership clinical faculty Elin Björling and School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences Assistant Professor Emma Rose.

Björling and Rose enlisted UW Assistant Professor Maya Cakmak to help with the creation of an autonomous social robot. EMAR would be sent to schools to collect information about stress levels and moods in order to help students cope. “Teens suffer more stress than any other age group and they’re more negatively impacted by it in terms of mental health, physical health and suicidal ideation,” said Rose.

Björling and Rose spent the past year-and-a-half using participatory design sessions to better understand teens. The idea is to get a sense of what the young people would like to see in a robot. The three-year grant will allow them to expand upon their work. “A big part of our project includes outreach for underrepresented communities in STEM,” said Rose. “We’re looking into how we get voices into the conversation that aren’t normally included.”