Naomi Fitter



Dr. Naomi T. Fitter is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University. Her past degrees include a B.S. and B.A. in mechanical engineering and Spanish from the University of Cincinnati and an M.S.E. and Ph.D. in robotics and mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her doctoral work in the GRASP Laboratory’s Haptics Group and was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the University of Southern California Interaction Lab from 2017 to 2018. As a member of the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute, Dr. Fitter aims to equip robots with the ability to engage and empower people in interactions from playful high-fives to challenging physical therapy routines.

Speaker Links: Website - GitHub - Google Scholar - YouTube - Twitter


Telepresence robots hold promise to connect people by providing videoconferencing and navigation abilities in far-away environments. At the same time, the impacts of current commercial telepresence robots are not well understood, and circumstances of robot use including internet connection stability, odd personalizations, and interpersonal relationship between a robot operator and people co-located with the robot can overshadow the benefit of the robot itself. And although the idea of telepresence robots has been around for over two decades, available nonverbal expressive abilities through telepresence robots are limited, and suitable operator user interfaces for the robot (for example, controls that allow for the operator to hold a conversation and move the robot simultaneously) remain elusive. So where should we be using telepresence robots? Are there any pitfalls to watch out for? What do we know about potential robot expressivity and user interfaces? This talk will cover my attempts to address these questions and ways in which the robotics research community can build off of this work.

Papers covered during the talk

  • Fitter, N. T., Raghunath, N., Cha, E., Sanchez, C. A., Takayama, L., & Matarić, M. J. (2020). Are We There Yet? Comparing Remote Learning Technologies in the University Classroom. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 5(2),

  • Fitter, N. T., Rush, L., Cha, E., Groechel, T., Matarić, M. J., & Takayama, L. (2020, March). Closeness is Key over Long Distances: Effects of Interpersonal Closeness on Telepresence Experience. In Proceedings of the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (pp. 499-507).link

  • Fitter, N. T., Joung, Y., Demeter, M., Hu, Z., & Matarić, M. J. (2019, October). Design and Evaluation of Expressive Turn-Taking Hardware for a Telepresence Robot. In 2019 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) (pp. 1-8). IEEE. link

  • Fitter, N. T., Joung, Y., Hu, Z., Demeter, M., & Matarić, M. J. (2019, October). User Interface Tradeoffs for Remote Deictic Gesturing. In 2019 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) (pp. 1-8). IEEE. link