This half-day workshop will be held in conjunction with IEEE RO-MAN 2019 on 17th October 2019 (9.00am- 13.00pm), Room R3 “Inspire”, Le Meridien, Windsor Place, New Delhi, India.


This inaugural workshop “Social robots and artificial agents for developing countries: Challenges and opportunities” will focus on the application of social robots and artificial agents to serve populations in developing countries. While social robots are making way into our lives these are primarily focused to serve populations in developed countries. There is a lack of human-robot interaction research in developing countries which is nearly half of the population on the planet. Social robots potentially can make a huge impact in the developing world where they are a distinct novelty and our understanding about how robots are perceived by these subjects is very limited. The focus of this workshop is on the following areas but not limited to: rural/urban development, education, health, gender issues, agriculture, environmental sustainability, social welfare, and sustainable development. We believe that these fields are those where social robots and artificial agents can have an impact on society in the developing world. This inaugural workshop is an initiative to bring researchers together to network, present and discuss the challenges and opportunities in developing social robotic applications that can serve people and communities in the developing world.

Workshop Schedule: (Room R3 “Inspire”, Le Meridien, Windsor Place, New Delhi, India.)

Time Speaker Talk
9.00-9.15 Dr Amol Deshmukh, University of Glasgow, UK Opening & Introduction
9.15 - 10.00 Prof. Subir Kumar Saha, IIT Delhi, India Robotics2Rural: Innovative Teaching and Research Approaches
10.00 - 10.30 Dr Amit Kumar Pandey, Hanson Robotics, Hong Kong Industry perspective
10.30 - 11.00 Coffee Break & Networking
11.00 - 11.30 Mr. Ganga Kumar, Grameen Sneh Foundation, Director, Govt of India, Delhi Robotics in healthcare development - a necessity for future perspective
11.30 - 12.00 Unnikrishnan Radhakrishnan, Amrita University, Kerala, India Social robots with Rural populations in India, case-studies
12.00 - 12.55 All invited speakers Panel discussion, Open Q&A
12.55 - 13.00 Closing

Call for Papers:

We also encourage to submit previously published work if relevant to the workshop topic. Panels will discuss lessons learned as well as highlight what can be done in the near future. All accepted papers will be made available online on the workshop website and the authors will retain the copyright of their paper and to allow submitting the work as an improved full paper in other venues. We invite research work as short papers (4-page limit, plus additional pages for references) for oral and/or poster presentation. We also invite two-page abstracts/work in progress papers presenting specific solutions that address the challenges and opportunities for social robots to serve developing countries. The short papers would focus on ideally demonstrating a beneficial effect on populations in the developing world using social robots/agents to present the scientific to practical challenges that may be encountered when they are deployed. The two-page abstracts could present ideas that have not yet been applied in practice but can demonstrate real potential. The workshop provides a platform for developing these two-page abstracts into real projects and encourages collaborative discussion between academic, researchers and potential funders.

List of relevant topics but not limited to:

Important dates

Please submit your submissions in pdf format to: with subject: “RO-MAN Workshop SRDC Submission” by 22nd September (23.59 PST).

We recommended following the IEEE style conference template for your pdf submissions:

Special Issue

A Frontiers in Robotics and AI special issue is being discussed on collection of the resulting papers from this workshop. While workshop contributors will be invited to submit extended versions of their workshop papers, general submissions will also be welcome.

Main Organiser:

Dr. Amol Deshmukh

University Of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Bio: Dr Amol Deshmukh is a social robotics researcher working with computing science department at University of Glasgow. He is a Roboticist and built his first social robot during his Bachelor’s in Electronics. He completed his Ph.D from Heriot-watt University in Edinburgh in human-robot interaction. Dr Deshmukh has worked on multiple European Union projects involving social robots in workplaces, child-robot interaction, public spaces, rural environments and has more than 40 publications. His current research involves social signal processing for social robots in public spaces for an EU-funded project MuMMER. He has also been involved conducting human-robot interaction studies with rural populations in India with a focus to learn the challenges to deploy robots in potentially useful scenarios to aid rural populations in developing countries “in the wild” and how people perceive the use of such technology BBC News, IEEE Spectrum.


Laxmidhar Behera, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India

Bio: Dr Laxmidhar Behera is working as Poonam and Prabhu Goel Chair Professor at IIT Kanpur having research and teaching experience of more than 24 years. He has received the BSc (engineering) and MSc (engineering) degrees from NIT Rourkela in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He received the PhD degree from IIT Delhi in 1996. He pursued the postdoctoral studies in the German National Research Center for Information Technology, GMD, Sank Augustin, Germany, during 2000-2001. Previously, he has worked as an assistant professor at BITS Pilani during 1995- 1999 and as a reader at Intelligent Systems Research Center (ISRC), University of Ulster, United Kingdom during 2007-2009. He has also worked as a visiting researcher/professor at FHG, Germany, and ETH, Zurich, Switzerland. His research work lies in the convergence of machine learning, control theory, robotic vision and heterogeneous robotic platforms. He has received more than INR 170 million research grants to support his research activities. He has established industrial collaboration with TCS, Renault Nissan, BEL, Bangalore and ADNOC, Abu Dhabi while making significant technological development in the areas such robotics based ware-house automation, vision and drone guided driver assistance system, and drone guided pipeline inspection systems. He has published more than 240 papers in Journals and Conference Proceedings. He has supervised 16 PhD thesis to completion. He is a Fellow of INAE and Senior Member of IEEE. His other research interests include intelligent control, semantic signal/music processing, neural networks, control of cyber-physical systems and cognitive modelling.

Akshay Nagarajan, Amrita University, Kerala, India

Bio: Akshay Nagarajan is an assistant professor of robotics at Amrita University in India and the technical lead for maker education research at Ammachi labs, Amrita University. A large share of his work has been in devising methods for human motor skill development using haptic interfaces when he led the technology-enhanced learning and haptic simulators R&D team at Ammachi Labs since its inception in 2009. He area of expertise include measuring skills and designing robotic and haptic mechanisms that can facilitate human motor skill training in the context of vocational education, neurosurgery, and physical rehabilitation. He has worked with leading robotics labs at Stanford University and the University of Michigan, extending collaboration for Ammachi Labs with these centers in robotics and haptic technologies. He has also collaboratively conducted UI/UX and HRI studies with low-literacy users to inform the development of inclusive user interfaces and measure technology acceptance in these communities that has garnered widespread interest and received BBC coverage. Akshay is passionate about teaching children hands-on maker skills and design and has co-founded the 2nd Foundation Makerspace at Amrita University, conducts maker skills workshops in schools and remote villages across the country and has set up several makerspaces in schools serving rural and tribal communities. He was awarded the Fablearn Global Excellence Practioner Award by the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2018 in recognition of his efforts in maker education research and for extending outreach, connecting communities and bringing equity to education in rural India. His present research drives his interest to understand the neurocognitive mechanisms that inform motor learning and collaborative task performance and to apply that knowledge to construct strategies to advance the human capacity in motor skill training and develop better learning environments.

Amit Kumar Pandey, Hanson Robotics, Hong Kong

Bio: Dr. Amit Kumar Pandey is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the Chief Science Officer (CSO) of Hanson Robotics. In the past he has served as the Head Principal Scientist (Chief Scientist) at SoftBank Robotics Europe (formerly Aldebaran Robotics), Paris, France, also serving as the scientific coordinator (R&D) of the collaborative projects of the company. Earlier for 6 years he worked as researcher in Robotics and AI at LAAS-CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), Toulouse, France. At LAAS-CNRS, he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Robotics (title: Towards Socially Intelligent Robots in Human Centered Environment), delivered by INSA (National Institutes of Applied Sciences), University of Toulouse. His PhD thesis is among the best three theses for the prestigious Georges Giralt Award for the best Ph.D. Theses in Robotics in Europe, awarded by European Union Robotics (euRobotics). With full fellowship, he obtained his MS by Research degree in Computer Science and Engineering with specialization in Robotics, in 2007 from IIIT-Hyderabad, India. He obtained his B.Tech. from JIIT, Noida, India. His research interest includes Socially Intelligent Robots and Societal Impact of robotics & AI technologies, Human Robot Interaction, Robot’s Cognitive Architecture & Learning. On these aspects, he has been actively contributing as principal investigator, researcher, and industrial scientific coordinator in more than 12 large scale national and European Union (EU) projects, as well as involved in their design and proposal, has published more than 60 scientific research papers and delivered more than 100 invited talks/keynotes/lecture in international venues. Among other responsibilities, he is the founding coordinator of Socially Intelligent Robots and Societal Applications (SIRo-SA) Topic Group (TG) of euRobotics (the European Union Robotics Community), and active contributor in the Multi-Annual Roadmap (MAR) and Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) of euRobotics, which aim to shape the future of robotics in Europe in collaboration with European Commission (EC) through PPP SPARC (one of the largest civilian-funded robotics innovation programme in the world). He is also the recipient of Pravashi Bihari Samman Puruskar 2014 (Non-Residential Bihari Honour Award), for Science, Technology and Education category, one of the highest level civilian honors, awarded by the state of Bihar, India.