BEST Lab wins Grant to Use Human-Centered Design to Study Cybersecurity and Soft Co-Robotics

Alice M. Agogino (PI) with Co-PIs Euiyoung Kim and Kyunam Kim have recently won a grant from the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity to study interactions between co-robots and their users, with the purpose of identifying how sensitive personal information is generated and shared between humans and the Internet of Things (IoT)-connected co-robots. Using human-centered design research methods (e.g., interviews, observations, scenarios, surveys, prototyping, testing), we anticipate that the outcome of the research will help characterize information that is vulnerable to breach and thus requiring strengthening of the security of storage and communication in future co-robotic systems. Our original focus will be on tensegrity soft co-robots that are designed to operate alongside humans, which makes them ideal for the study of IOT-connected human-robot interactions. We will update the current existing tensegrity hardware robot and develop low-to-medium fidelity prototypes to conduct qualitative design research and develop frameworks such as personas and co-robot application scenarios where sensitive information is created and breached.  As experts in human-centric research methods and robotic systems, we expect that our research will provide the foundation for  a deep understanding of the flow of information across human-robot interactions for a range of commercial applications, such as home health care and emergency response. The title of the grant is: Human-Centered Design Study on Cybersecurity of Soft Co-Robotic Systems.


PI: Alice M. Agogino is the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering and is affiliated faculty at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.  She has served in a number of administrative positions including Chair of the UC Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, Associate Dean of Engineering, Director of the Instructional Technology Program and Chair of the Graduate Group in Development Engineering. She currently serves as Education Director of the Blum Center for Developing Economies. She directs research in the BEST (Berkeley [Energy and Sustainability Technologies/ Expert Systems Technologies/ Emergent Space Tensegrities]) Lab and the Product Design MEng program. She co-directs the Berkeley Institute of Design, the Human-Centered Design course threads, and the Engineering and Business for Sustainability graduate certificate program.  Agogino has authored over 280 peer-reviewed publications, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and has won numerous teaching, mentoring, best paper and research awards. She has supervised 49 PhD dissertations and 157 MS theses/reports.


Dr. Euiyoung Kim is a post-doctoral design fellow at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD degree in the department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley focusing on Design Theory & Methods and New Product Development, Summer 2016. He was granted a Master’s degree from EDI (Engineering Design Innovation) program at Northwestern University in 2011. Prior to moving to the United States, he worked as a product planning manager in strategic marketing team for IT solutions business, Samsung Electronics from 2006 to 2012. His research interests involve design roadmapping, human-centric research and multi-disciplinary studies that integrate different academic research fields such as product management, design and engineering. He received an ASME Best Paper Award (2016) and two ICED Best Paper Awards (2013 and 2015), and is a fellow of 2015 SIPFF (Summer Institute for Preparing Future Faculty), UC Berkeley. He is a member of ASME, IDSA, and the Design Society.

Dr. Kyunam Kim received the B.S. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Seoul National University in 2010, and the M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. He recently completed his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. His research interests include tensegrity robots, soft robots, human-robot interaction, locomotion systems, control theory, dynamics, artificial intelligence, and wireless sensor networks. He is a student member of IEEE and was a recipient of the Samsung Scholarship from 2010 to 2015. 

Time Period: January 16, 2017 until December 31, 2017

Funding Source: Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity

Featured Image: Public domain photo from Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. “Sylvia Field (Helena) and Albert Van Dekker (Radius, a robot).” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1928 – 1929.