Jack Kolb completes his Thesis Proposal

February 1, 2024: Jack Kolb completes his thesis proposal on “Applying User Cognitive State to Human-Robot Interaction and Role Assignment”


Robots are increasingly deployed to support individuals in high-workload or closely collaborative environments across various operational domains. However, limited research has explored how robots can actively leverage a user’s cognitive state to personalize their support. In human-human teams, we consider our teammates’ cognitive state and individual capabilities to guide team dynamics, enhancing team fluency and proactivity. Human cognition is challenging to define, measure, and influence, making the integration of user cognition into human-robot interactions non-trivial. This thesis explores how robots can incorporate their human teammates’ cognitive states as an integral part of their planning and interactions. Specifically, this thesis contributes to defining and utilizing cognitive states by: 1) measuring and applying the user’s cognitive skills to predict their future robot operation performance and facilitate role assignment, 2) monitoring the user’s real-time cognitive workload to dynamically adapt the robot’s level of autonomy in high-workload scenarios, and 3) estimating the user’s belief state to assess their situation awareness and inform task-pertinent questions.