Goldie Nejat, PhD., P.Eng.
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society, University of Toronto
Dr. Goldie Nejat is a full professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, founder and director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics (ASBLab) Laboratory, and an adjunct scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences. She is an internationally recognized leader in the development of assistive and service robotics for healthcare, eldercare, emergency response, search and rescue, surveillance and manufacturing applications.
Prof. Nejat’s groundbreaking research is pioneering the development of assistive robots that meet the increasing care needs of an aging population and help to combat dementia; learn to search for people/victims in harsh and time-critical environments; and are helpers in both the home and workplace. Her robots are the first to recognize human emotions during interactions and respond with their own emotion-based assistive behaviours. To do achieve this, she has developed personalization and persuasive models to improve the awareness of such robots - uniquely providing person-centred care through the use of robotic technology. Prof. Nejat has also pioneered the development of learning-based controllers for rescue robots, which uniquely allow the robots to learn and make decisions regarding which tasks to perform during urban search and rescue missions, as well as determine when human intervention is required. This approach reduces the workload of operators, and allows them to supervise groups of robots to maximize search coverage in such time-critical missions. The robots are able to explore and navigate cluttered environments and search for trapped victims more effectively. Her work is constantly pushing the capabilities of current robots and is improving the well-being and safety of individuals.
Dr. Nejat’s achievements are published in over 190 international journal and conference papers. Her work has been showcased in over 90 prestigious international and national media outlets including in the National Geographic, Time Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Bloomberg, the Discovery Channel, and the Globe and Mail. She is also the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Robots for Society and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).