Building intelligent personified technologies that collaborate with people to help them learn, thrive, and flourish.


MIT Media Lab / Personal Robots group

Personal Robots group

Personal Robots

The Personal Robots group bridges the gap between intelligent personified technologies and human collaborative behavior. We take a multidisciplinary approach that integrates human-centered design, psychology, aesthetics, and advanced computation to create personified technologies that can better understand, naturally communicate, collaborate, and support people more like a helpful companion than a smart tool.

Our creations take on a range of embodiments from social robots, virtual agents, and augmented reality characters that can interact with people either individually or in small groups using language, affective, and non-verbal cues. Our innovations support a holistic human experience that engages people of all ages more deeply in social, emotional, cognitive, emotional ways to empower transformative, aspirational change.  We design, innovate, deploy, study, and evaluate our creations with stakeholders in the real world over long-term encounters to help people be healthier, happier, creative, emotionally resilient, and to learn better. By doing so, we are at the forefront of creating and understanding the emergence of a new type of relationship between people and intelligent, human-friendly machines that is more meaningful and impactful. 

We carefully consider the responsible development and ethical use of this new type of socially and emotionally persuasive technology, including participatory co-design with stakeholders and developing best-practices and policy guidelines. We also promote AI Literacy—helping kids and adults alike—learn about AI in their life and how it works so that they can be responsible users of AI, can participate in the democratic process concerning AI, and can ethically design and build things with AI to make a more equitable, positive change in the world. 

Our group regularly publishes in AI/ML, HCI/HRI, psychology, design, and computers+education research journals and conferences.