Creative Robotics Lab

Creative Robotics Lab new-gen leadership team

The first social robotics laboratory in Australia.

The Creative Robotics Lab (CRL) is a collaborative research and educational space that advances interaction between humans and machines by designing and evaluating novel interfaces and incorporating the principles of creative practice in its approach to social robotics.

The CRL was founded in 2011 at the UNSW School of Art & Design by current director Professor Mari Velonaki as part of her vision to create technological systems that improve and enhance the human experience.

CRL’s multidisciplinary prototyping and testing space is used by UNSW researchers, students and industry partners. The CRL utilises its sister facility, the ARC funded National Facility for Human-Robot Interaction Research, for the evaluation of prototypes developed in the CRL in a high-resolution state-of-the-art testing environment, purpose-designed to unobtrusively capture complex data sets of people interacting with robots and other technological systems.

The CRL has three research streams:

Assistive Technologies

Led by Dr Scott Andrew Brown. This stream aims to empower people through the creative implementation of a range of technologies and design experiences by directly collaborating with neurodiverse and disabled people.

Culture and Technology

Led by Dr Deborah Turnbull Tillman. Develops experimental criteria for the creation and evaluation of new technologies through the eyes of new media interactive art and audience engagement.

Human Futures

Led by Dr Belinda Dunstan. This area of research focuses on appearance design, movement planning and the future social implications of robot design and morphology.

A collaborative human lens on robotics

The CRL has close partnerships with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, UNSW Computer Science and Engineering, UNSW Ageing Futures Institute and Waseda University. This reflects the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of the CRL and the expertise on hand in sensing, perception, artificial intelligence and real-time systems. Researchers in the CRL bring a human-centred approach to social robotics, working alongside engineers, social scientists, artists and developers to create interactive objects and systems that enhance the human experience.

Current lab members

Associate Professor David Rye (UNSW Adjunct)

Professor Katsumi Watanabe (Adjunct, Waseda University)

Associate Professor Katherine Moline (UNSW)

Dr Eduardo Benitez Sandoval (UNSW Scientia Fellow)

Jorge Forseck Rauh Hain (Senior Research Officer)

Dr Sarita Herse (Research Associate)

Dr Ethan Jones (Research Fellow)

Dr Haider Akmal (Lecturer, UNSW)

Su Dam (Project Officer)

Michael Blake (PhD Candidate)

Avish Chand (Masters Candidate)

Jonathan Shaw (Research Assistant)

Current projects

This HPRnet (DST) project aims to estimate cognitive and physical load of Army crew members in real time using an AI-based advisory system driven by multi-sensor inputs to improve team performance (2020-2024).

ARC Linkage Project with Suncorp and in collaboration with UNSW Ageing Futures: Cognitive ageing and driver–assist technologies: developing a system for real-time monitoring of driver behaviour and reactions to driver-assist systems in new cars (2020-2023).

A multi-platform project and research into the fading memory of a person with dementia and the re-creation of a communication with a loved one through a mnemonic device (2017-2021).

In collaboration with Dickens Audio and UNSW Ageing Futures Institute, this multi-channel sound environment is designed to create auditory experiences that are exciting and enjoyable for neurodivergent people (2021-2022).

Supported by Fuji Xerox Japan: Development of a collaborative robot for implementation in a corporate office environment (2017-2022).

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Get more information or partner with the CRL

The CRL is always open to collaborations with researchers from other institutions and industry partnerships. Researcher expertise, bookable spaces and industry masterclasses are available. For more information.

CRL future partnerships

Professor Mari Velonaki
Director, Creative Robotics Lab

General enquiries

Acknowledgement of Country

UNSW School of Art & Design stands on an important place of learning and exchange first occupied by the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples.

We acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land that our students and staff share, create and operate on. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend this respect to all First Nations peoples across Australia. Sovereignty has never been ceded.