Professor Laura-Ann Petitto (Principal Investigator, NSF INSPIRE & Keck foundation grants) and her scientific team in the Petitto Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging, BL2, were thrilled to welcome their NSF INSPIRE-KECK “RAVE” scientific collaborators at the bi-annual meeting on Feb 20-21, 2017. RAVE, being built by the team, is a robot interfaced with virtual human language and nursery rhyme samples, thermal infrared (IR) imaging that tracks emotional arousal, eye-tracking (cognitive attention) and incorporates results from fNIRS brain imaging of infants’ sensitivity to the rhythmic temporal patterning of human signed and spoken languages.  The goal is to create a new kind of Human-Artificial Agent learning tool that can one day engage in two-way, socially contingent communication with babies. It is expected that RAVE will one day serve to augment language interactions with young babies who suffer from the deleterious and potentially devastating impact of minimal language exposure.

Photo Left to Right: Jake Brawer (Ph.D. student, Yale); Front Row, Left to Right: Setareh Nasihati Gilani (graduate student, USC, Dr. Traum Avatar Team); Adam Stone (graduate student, BL2/Gallaudet University, PhD in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program, Professor Petitto’s fNIRS, Thermal IR, Eye-tracking Team), Jake Noah Brawer (graduate student, Yale University, Dr. Scassellati Robotics Team); Dr. David Traum (USC Project Head Avatar Team); Professor Laura-Ann Petitto (BL2/Gallaudet University fNIRS, thermal IR, Eye-tracking Team), Geo Kartheiser (graduate student, BL2/Gallaudet University, PhD in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program, Professor Petitto’s fNIRS, Thermal IR, Eye-tracking Team), Melissa Malzkuhn (Creative Director Motion Light Lab, ML2, with Motion Capture, Petitto’s Gallaudet Team). Back Row, Left to Right: Dr. Clifton Langdon (Assistant Professor, PhD in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program; Petitto’s Gallaudet Team), Dr. Brian Scassellati (Yale University Project Head Robotics Team), Dr. Barbara Manini (NSF INSPIRE/Keck Post-Doc, Petitto’s Gallaudet/BL2 Team), Professor Arcangelo Merla (Project Head Thermal IR Imaging and Integration, Universita D’Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara, Italy), Jason Lamberton (ML2-Motion Capture Specialist/Technician, Petitto Gallaudet Team).