Leila Takayama

Position: UC Santa Cruz

Dr. Takayama is a cognitive and social scientist, who studies human-robot interaction. In 2016, she joined the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz, as an acting associate professor of Psychology. In 2016, I also founded Hoku Labs to do human-robot interaction research consulting for product teams. For the past few years, she was a senior user experience researcher at GoogleX, a lab that aims for moonshots in technology and science. Prior to joining GoogleX, she was a research scientist and area manager for human-robot interaction at Willow Garage. In 2015, she received an Early Career Award from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. In 2012, she had the honor of being named a TR35 winner (Technology Review’s top 35 innovators under 35) and one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company.

With a background in Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Human-Computer Interaction, Dr. Takayama studies human encounters with new technologies. In 2008, she completed a PhD in Communication at Stanford University. She also holds a PhD minor in Psychology from Stanford, MA in Communication from Stanford, and BAs in Psychology and Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley (2003). During grad school, she worked as a research assistant in the User Interface Research (UIR) group at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

Dr. Takayama’s work lies in the intersections of ubiquitous computing and embodied cognition. She studies how people interact with new technologies and how their experiences with those technologies influence the ways that they experience the world.

For a quick overview of her recent work, check out this 13-minute TEDx presentation,  3.5-minute TR35 montage5-minute Pop!Tech presentation, or this brief article she wrote for Tech Review. For a more in-depth perspective, here’s an NPR All Things Considered piece about our personal robotics work, a 60-minute presentation she gave at the University of Toronto, and a 60-minute presentation she recently gave at UC Berkeley about Mixing Human and Robotic Agents.