Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


College of Engineering


Eric Espinoza-Wade

Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


For this thesis, I created a guideline for socially assistive robots (SARs), and used it to evaluate a reading comprehension based social robot.

To create the guideline I extracted relevant details from published standards about toy safety, radio equipment, electromagnetic compatibility, internet of things security, ethical considerations for human-computer interaction, and data privacy. I then sent a summarized version to experts in the field for feedback. I received seven responses, five of whom were from researchers in academia. The sample size was too small for statistical analysis. Survey responses identified additional areas, such as interactivity and aesthetics, for the guideline.

I evaluated a reading comprehension based social robot called HAPI the Librarian with my newly created guidelines. Using HAPI, I found that the guidelines worked, but needed improvement. Improvements suggested for the next iteration of the guide- line are to provide better directives for intangible concepts such as ethics and data privacy. Additionally, the guidelines should help to identify characteristics that raise ethical or data privacy concerns.

Overall, these guidelines can be applied to socially assistive robots designed from scratch or purchased off-the-shelf.