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Dr. Goldie Nejat

Associate Professor

Goldie Nejat, PhD, P.Eng. is the Founder and Director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics (ASBLab) Laboratory

Languages : English


Goldie Nejat, PhD, P.Eng. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, and the Founder and Director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics (ASBLab) Laboratory. Dr. Nejat is also an Adjunct Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. She received both her BASc and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto.Dr. Nejat is a world renowned expert in developing intelligent service/personal robots for applications in health, elderly care, emergency response, search and rescue, security and surveillance, and manufacturing. A major goal of her research is to develop and integrate intelligent socially assistive robots for assistive human-robot interactions (HRI) in healthcare facilities, private homes and for high stress and dangerous jobs. Dr. Nejat’s research is leading the development of intelligent assistive robotic aids that can meet the challenges posed by an aging population. She collaborates with international researchers, healthcare experts and healthcare facilities to develop robots and devices that can be effectively transferred and integrated into people’s everyday lives. Dr. Nejat is helping to change the face of robotics and her work is at the forefront of robotics research. Her research is constantly pushing the envelope of the capabilities of current robots.In 2008, Dr. Nejat received an NSERC University Faculty Award. She also received the 2012 Professional Engineers of Ontario Young Engineer Medal and the 2013 Engineers Canada Young Engineer Achievement Award, both awards are for her exceptional achievements in the field of robotics at a young age.


This woman can change how you think

March 29, 2016

On an average working day, Dr Hannah Critchlow has the privilege of watching the brain come alive in bright, electric lights. She maps its circuits, sees how they are affected by the environment, and tries to unlock the secrets of the most complex organ in the body.

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Meet three robots engineered at U of T that could improve — or save — your life
U of T Engineering News

March 03, 2016

“After the computer and the smartphone, robotics is the next big technology that will change our lives,” Professor Goldie Nejat (MIE) told a hushed crowd of 12 journalists assembled in her lab. “We focus on developing the intelligence and interactive capabilities of robots.”

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Meet the female Brian Cox
The Telegraph

June 27, 2015

On an average working day, Dr Hannah Critchlow has the privilege of watching the brain come alive in bright, electric lights. She maps its circuits, sees how they are affected by the environment, and tries to unlock the secrets of the most complex organ in the body.

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Robot caregivers aim to improve seniors' quality of life
CBC News

January 21, 2015

Tangy the bingo-playing robot will make its debut as part of pilot study at a long-term care facility in Toronto in the coming weeks.

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In conversation with Goldie Nejat
The Varsity

October 27, 2014

Robots seem less and less fitting on their mantle in science fiction movies, and more suitable in documentary films, as they fill important roles in our everyday lives, in part thanks to the research of Dr. Goldie Nejat. Nejat was named Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Robots for Society at the University of Toronto last week. Nejat’s research has been featured in Time magazine, and won her Engineers Canada’s 2013 Young Engineer Achievement Award.

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Multi-robot deployment for wilderness search and rescue
International Journal of Robotics and Automation

2016This paper presents an effective methodology for the optimal deployment of multi-robot teams for autonomous wilderness search and rescue. The proposed methodology is based on the unique concept of iso-probability curves. These curves define the probabilistic boundaries of multiple possible regions, where the target is likely to be present at any given time. The deployment strategy determines the optimal set of iso-curves, as well as the distribution of robots on these curves. Deployment is invoked repeatedly as the search progresses.

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A learning from demonstration system architecture for robots learning social group recreational activities
2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)

2016Group-based recreational activities have shown to have a number of health benefits for people of all ages. The handful of social robots designed to facilitate such activities are currently only able to implement a priori known recreational activities that have been pre-programmed by human experts. Once deployed in their intended facility, these robots are not able to learn new activities from non-expert humans. In this paper, we present the development of a novel learning from demonstration (LfD) system architecture for a social robot in order for it to learn from non-expert teachers the structure of an activity and monitor the execution of the new activity. In order to obtain user compliance, personalized persuasive strategies are also learned by the robot to use while implementing the activity during human-robot interactions (HRI) with the intended users. The architecture has been integrated into our socially assistive robot Tangy to learn the group-based activity Bingo. System performance experiments were conducted with Tangy to first learn to facilitate Bingo from non-expert teachers and then use the learned activity to physically facilitate Bingo with multiple users. The results showed Tangy was able to effectively and efficiently learn the new Bingo activity structure as well as personalize its persuasive strategies to individual users in order to obtain activity compliance.

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Planning and Scheduling Single and Multi-Person Activities in Retirement Home Settings for a Group of Robots
Working notes of the ICAPS Workshop on Planning and Robotics

2014Automated planning and scheduling (P&S) technology has been increasingly investigated and applied to various robotics applications. We introduce a challenging P&S problem in which multiple social robots must autonomously organize and facilitate human-robot interactions for one-onone telepresence sessions and multi-user Bingo games. These activities need to take place throughout the day based on the individual availabilities of the residents living in a retirement home. We utilize a domain-independent P&S approach for this problem, studying different variations of a PDDL model and the performance of state-of-the-art temporal planners in five different scenarios. We demonstrate the modeling challenges and technological gap in domain-independent P&S technology for such real-world robot problems. In particular, modeling a combination of metric quantities, resources, temporal availability of residents and time constraints on cascading actions is nontrivial. Moreover, we show that the available temporal planners perform poorly on the problem and struggle with the optimization aspects of such real-world scenarios.

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An active light sensory system for 3D mapping of unknown cluttered environments
2010 IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE)

2010This paper presents a major effort in developing a compact real-time 3D sensory system for robotic search and rescue operations in unknown cluttered environments. Namely, we present the design of a unique structured light based sensory system for 3D mapping of rubble filled environments. The sensory system can provides both 2D texture and 3D sensory information in real-time at 30 fps. The real-time capabilities of the proposed sensor can be a great asset in time sensitive urban search and rescue (USAR) missions. Preliminary experimental results show the effectiveness of the system in providing accurate sensory information for 3D mapping of a USAR-like environment.

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Area of Expertise

Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Engineering

Applied Mechanics and Design

Biomedical Engineering

Human Factors/Ergonomics

Robotics, Mechatronics and Instrumentation


Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society

Institute for Robotics & Mechatronics (IRM) : Director





Electrical Engineering

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