Debbie Perouli has received a two-year, $175,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Her research project is entitled “CRII: SaTC: Towards Securing Social Robots”

Dr. Debbie Perouli has received a two-year, $175,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII). According to NSF, the goal of CRII is to “encourage research independence immediately upon obtaining one's first academic position after receipt of the PhD”. Dr. Perouli’s project is entitled “CRII: SaTC: Towards Securing Social Robots” and will investigate cybersecurity issues and solutions surrounding robots that are meant to socially interact with humans.

Project Abstract:

Robotics has traditionally focused on industrial and medical applications until recently with the development of robots, known as social robots, that are designed to intelligently and socially interact with humans. There has been little research on the privacy and security implications of these social robots. Moreover, with the potential wide-spread use of social robots in the next decade for the home, office, and daily living activities, high among the societal challenges will be protecting our privacy and ensuring security of social robots in wide-use.

This research project addresses the cyber security of social robots, their vulnerabilities and risks. There are four primary objectives of this project: (1) seek to uncover security vulnerabilities of a social robot by focusing on the tools used to program these robots, its sensors and actuators; (2) develop algorithms capable of detecting whether a social robot has been compromised and violated privacy and security directives; (3) analyze relevant capabilities of current social robot prototypes; and, (4) investigate privacy and usability issues of a social robot. In addition, a summer camp at Marquette University on cyber security with special sessions on privacy and security in robotics, and especially social robots, is planned for students and teachers in southeastern Wisconsin.

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