Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Z-EMAR: Zoom Sessions with Robot EMAR

Faculty PI Name:

Elin Bjorling

Maya Cakmak

Project or Start-Up Company Name:

Project EMAR: Design and Development of a Social Robot to Measure and Improve Adolescent Mental Health

Lab/Project Website:

Work Location:

Human-Centered Design and Engineering Department, UW Seattle Campus. Accepting remote online work.

Work Hours (include times of recurring group meetings, special events, etc.):

  • 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Group meetings will be held on Wednesday mornings PST.

Overall Program Goal:

Using human-centered design, Project EMAR has engaged teens in the design and development of a social robot to measure and improve adolescent mental health. The EMAR robot will be used in zoom online sessions to explore the experiences of teens interacting with a live robot via zoom.


1) Design and fabricated EMAR robot

2) Developed activities for teenagers to support their mental health

Next steps:

1) Build a Zoom room for the EMAR robot, where the robot will conduct zoom sessions with teenagers

2) Train teenagers to operate the robot EMAR from their home to support other teenagers.

3) Conduct a remote online user study to evaluate the effectiveness of using the robot EMAR as a remote tool for supporting teenagers’ mental health. We will be evaluating the perceived support, connection, and stress levels of teenagers before and after the study.

Intern Project Description and Responsibilities:

  • User study position: Design and conduct a user study with the robot EMAR and teenagers to understand how zoom sessions with a robot can improve teenagers mental health. In this position, you will be required to set up the robot EMAR in zom sessions and interact with teenagers that participate in this study. You will also be able to analyse the data collected and understand if the zoom-emar intervention had positive effects on teenagers’ mental health.
  • Robot system position: EMAR robot will be used in the zoom sessions with teenagers. In this position you will be able to prepare the robot for a user study. This includes developing new capabilities for the robot, learning to log data, and to extract data to be analyzed.


  • Experiments with HTML/CSS/JavaScript
  • Firebase experience is a plus
  • Basic level of understanding about research studies

Level of Independence:

  • The interns should be independent and competent to come up with their own ideas and solutions and test them.
  • Both positions are fairly well-structured. There are procedures to follow for setting up the robot and conducting the study. However, the work may deviate from expected, which requires the intern to discuss with the mentor and troubleshoot.
  • The intern will be working with Elin Bjorling and Patricia Alves-Oliveira.

Learning Opportunities:

  • Fundamental knowledge about social robotics
  • The skill set to conduct user experience in the context of human-robot interaction field
  • The skill set to analyze data from a human-robot interaction study, including understanding how quantitative and qualitative methods work.
  • The intern will be more trained in presenting their projects.
  • Likelihood of being involved in a future publication of the results in case the project is successful.