Human-Robot Interaction Research Assistant

Faculty Member Name: Elizabeth Croft and Mike Van der Loos
Preferred Contact Method: email
Contact With: (cover letter, resume, work terms available)
Contact Before: Feb 10
Open to Co-op students: (Y/N) Y
Total Pay including NSERC USRA award: $9000 for 4 months
Will the position still be offered to the selected candidate if a NSERC URSA cannot be secured? No, leveraging is required by grant funding. A summer work-study position could be considered as an alternative.
Total Pay without NSERC USRA award? N/A

All applicants must be eligible for the NSERC USRA program.

Deadline for Applications, via email, February 10.

Applications should include a cover letter indication the position of interest and reporting your GPA, resume, transcripts – copies or download from SIS is fine). Applications should be submitted by email to: with the subject line CARIS Lab USRA. PDF format for attachment is preferred. Please, no compressed files or executables and no total attachment size over 1 MB.

Interviews for selected applicants will be scheduled for February 17.

Appropriate for MECH/MECHA, EECE, ENPH, CS, COGS students, any year.


The Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CARIS) Laboratory is an undertaking by researchers at the University of British Columbia interested in human-robot interaction and intelligent robotics.  At the CARIS lab, we study and implement safe, transparent, comfortable, and useful interactions between people and robots.

Ongoing research involves the application of several robot platforms including a Willow Garage PR2, two 7-DOF Barrett Whole-Arm Manipulators (WAM)  with BarrettHands, two 6-DOF CRS robotic arms with grippers, a 6-axis motion platform, mobile robots, vision systems, physiological sensor systems, and motion capture systems.

Our lab is located in the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS) at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, BC Canada.   For more information please visit

Position Description

The Collaborative Human-Focused Assistive Robotics for Manufacturing (CHARM) project uses the development of robot assistants, robots which work alongside humans in a manufacturing environment, as a domain in which to explore rich methods for transparent, safe, effective human-robot interaction. In CHARM, we observe and model human nonverbal communicative cues in order to both emulate them on robotic platforms and interpret them through software systems, with the goal of creating a closed loop of human-robot communication using naturalistic cues such as gestures, gaze, posture, motion cues, and others.

The CHARM project is seeking an outstanding candidate to work as an undergraduate research assistant for the summer of 2014. Prospective candidates should have a background in C++ programming and be comfortable working with build tools such as make and version control systems such as subversion. They should also have a strong interest in human-robot interaction, especially as it relates to cognitive science and psychology. Ideal candidates will have experience with Robot Operating System (ROS) and have experience running human-robot interaction studies, though such experience is not required. Experience with sensors and instrumentation, signal processing, and robot trajectory planning, 3D modeling in SolidWorks, 3D printing, and machine shop skills are also important assets.

Working under the supervision of the principal investigator and a postdoctoral associate or graduate student, the chosen candidate will aid in the development and execution of human-robot interaction experiments related to the CHARM project. Duties will include the design and implementation of hardware and software, running HRI studies involving human participants, and the coding and analysis of human study data. The chosen candidate will be expected to keep abreast of current research in HRI and robotics, as well as to aid in the preparation of any publications resulting from their contributions during their time at UBC.

For more information on the CHARM project, please visit

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