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Research Seminar Series - Conducting experimental research with emerging communication technologies: from virtual reality to social robots

Event information

START DATE 11 December 2019

Middlesex University Dubai, Oasis Theatre, Block 16

END DATE 11 December 2019

We are pleased to invite you to our Wednesday Research Seminar. It will be held on 11 December from 4pm, at Middlesex University Dubai in the Oasis Theatre, Block 16, Knowledge Park.

Wednesday Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008, and has featured more than 260 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. Dr. Laura will deliver seminar on:

“Conducting experimental research with emerging communication technologies: from virtual reality to social robots”

Laura Aymerich-Franch


My research promotes the positive applied uses of emerging communication technologies, principally with virtual reality and social robots, to enhance the human well-being. In this talk, I will review the principal research projects I have conducted in the last years. First, I will address the project conducted at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University, as a Fulbright postdoctoral scholar. In that project, I manipulated the appearance of avatars in immersive virtual reality in order to reduce social phobia. Next, I will explain the robot embodiment project, funded by the European Commission through the prestigious Marie Curie IOF grant, which was conducted at the CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory (Japan) and at the EventLab, Barcelona University. In this project, we created a humanoid robot avatar and demonstrated that humans are able to experience these avatars as if they were their own body. I will discuss the potential applications of these findings in the area of wellbeing. Finally, I will talk about my current research projects, including the collaborative project being conducted at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in which we use social robots to promote human psychological well-being through coaching experiences. The results of all these projects have been published in highly ranked JCR journals including the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication,  the International Journal of Social Robotics, Consciousness and Cognition, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, and many others, and presented at international conferences several times including the International Communication Association General Conference.


Dr. Aymerich-Franch is currently a Ramón y Cajal senior research fellow at Pompeu Fabra University. She was a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2018/19). Previously, she was a Marie Curie IOF postdoctoral fellow (funded by the European Union) at EventLab, Barcelona University and at the CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory, Japan (2014/17). Previously, she was a Fulbright postdoctoral scholar at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University (2012/14). She earned a PhD cum laude on Audiovisual Communication from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2010). She has also been a visiting scholar at the iCinema, Centre for Interactive Cinema Research, University of New South Wales (2009). Laura has a background in Media & Communication (BA), Digital Communication Technologies (MRes), Behavioral Psychology (MRes), Media Psychology (PhD), Positive Psychology, and Life Coaching. Her research promotes the use of virtual reality and social robot for the enhancement of the psychological wellbeing.

We look forward to welcoming you at the seminar.

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