sabanovic-selma-2014-03About Professor Sabanovic

Associate Professor of Informatics and Cognitive Science
School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
(812) 856-0386
Informatics East 265

I founded and direct the R-House Laboratory for Human-Robot Interaction research at IUB. My work combines the social studies of computing, focusing particularly on the design, use, and consequences of socially interactive and assistive robots in different social and cultural contexts, with research on human-robot interaction (HRI) and social robot design. My main research goals are threefold: (1) developing a critical understanding of the development and use of socially interactive robots in society; (2) studying how social and cultural factors influence robotics science and technology development; and (3) using critical perspectives and insights from the social study of interactive robotic technologies to design, implement, and evaluate socially and culturally situated robots. My research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Indiana University. I was a visiting guest professor at Bielefeld University’s Cognitive Interaction Technology — Center of Excellence in Summer 2014. In 2008/2009, I was a lecturer in Stanford University’s Program in Science, Technology and Society. I was also a visiting scholar at the Intelligent Systems Institute in AIST, Tsukuba, Japan and the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in 2005.

You can find my Curriculum Vitae here.


  • Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2007
  • M.A. in Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University, Istanbul, 2001
  • B.A. in Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University, Istanbul, 1998

Research Areas

Human-robot interaction; science and technology studies; social robotics; cross-cultural studies of technology; assistive technology; critical methods for designing and evaluating interactive artifacts; social studies of robotics

Courses Taught

  • I202 Introduction to Social Informatics
  • I440/H440/I540 Human-Robot Interaction
  • I502 Human-Centered Research Methods in Informatics
  • I609 Advanced Seminar in Social Informatics
What was one of the most engaging conferences you attended?

I generally love attending the Human-Robot Interaction (ACM/IEEE HRI) conference, and I loved the meeting in New Zealand in 2016. I also very much enjoyed the IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) in New York City in 2016.

What associations do you belong to? What conferences do you attend?

I am a member of IEEE, ACM, and 4S. I regularly attend/publish in the HRI, RO-MAN, CHI, DIS, and 4S conferences.

What are some of your personal interests or activities that may or may not overlap with research?

I love to cook and to listen to and explore new music and theatre. I also like to visit new places, which often overlaps with my research and professional activities.

What methods do you favor in your work?

The methods I used are human-centered, and span qualitative and quantitative approaches. Our current projects include experimental studies in the lab, field studies of technology deployments in people’s homes, caregiving institutions, and schools, interviews, surveys, and participatory design for community-based eldercare.

What is in the 5-year plan, or what is something you haven’t got around to doing yet?

I would very much like to write a book on my socially oriented perspective on robotics research and development. That’s the biggest thing in the 5-year plan, along with continuing to do socially relevant research in human-robot interaction.