Ayanna Howard

Ayanna Howard

Ohio State University, OH

United States

Research Areas

AI-Based Methods, Autonomous Agents, Behavior-Based Systems, Biomedical Equipment, Cognitive Human-Robot Interaction, Education Robotics, Education Robotics, Field Robots, Gesture, Posture and Facial Expressions, Haptics and Haptic Interfaces, Human Detection and Tracking, Human-Centered Robotics, Humanoid Robots, Learning and Adaptive Systems, Learning from Demonstration, Legged Robots, Multi Robot systems, Neural and Fuzzy Control, Rehabilitation Robotics, Robot Companions, Robots, Search and Rescue Robots, Social Human-Robot Interaction, Space Robotics and Automation, Telerobotics and Teleoperation, Virtual Reality and Interfaces, Visual-Based Navigation


Ayanna Howard, Ph.D. is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds a faculty appointment in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and serves on the Board of Directors for the Partnership on AI and Autodesk. Dr. Howard’s career focus is on intelligent technologies that must adapt to and function within a human-centered world. Her work, which encompasses advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), assistive technologies, and robotics, has resulted in over 250 peer-reviewed publications in a number of projects – from healthcare robots in the home to AI-powered STEM apps for children with diverse learning needs.  To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider and one of the Top 50 U.S. Women in Tech by Forbes. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which develops STEM educational products to engage children of all abilities. Prior to Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was a Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She has also served as the Associate Director of Research for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Chair of the Robotics Ph.D. program, and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in ECE at Georgia Tech.

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Ayanna Howard discusses her past and current research, her interest in integrating robots with humans, and her collaboration with children, NASA, colleagues and students. She also gives advice to prospective students who are interested in robotics and talks about the issue of diversity in field of engineering.