Designing Instructional Robots

Our research group current has two learning technology projects. In the first, we developed a reading companion robot, Minnie, that is designed to work with children as they read books. Minnie makes book suggestions, sets and monitors reading goals, and while children read, makes comments related to what they are reading to support their understanding and interest in reading and science.  We’ve conducted several studies of how children interact with Minnie in in-home and lab based studies. In our earliest pilot studies, we found that children made a strong social connection with Minnie, that varied based on their interest in reading, and that they felt Minnie helped support their reading comprehension and interest in reading. We then conducted a study to compare children’s experiences reading with Minnie to completing a paper-based reading program during a two-week in-home study. Here we found that children’s social connectinhave also found that

The Team

  • Joseph Michaelis

    Assistant Professor, UIC


  • National Science Foundation Awards #1822872 and #1149970

The Robot


SAUPPÉ, A. & MUTLU, B. (2015). Effective Task Training Strategies for Human and Robot Instructors. Autonomous Robots, 1–17. doi: 10.1007/s10514-015-9461-0

SAUPPÉ, A. & MUTLU, B. (2014). Effective Task Training Strategies for Instructional Robots. In Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS 2014).

Project Images