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Elizabeth Croft - University of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC, CA

Elizabeth Croft Elizabeth Croft

Associate Dean, Education and Professional Development, Faculty of Applied Science; Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering; Director, Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory | University of British Columbia

Vancouver, BC, CANADA

Professor Croft's research investigates how robotic systems can operate efficiently and effectively in partnership with people





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Elizabeth Croft, BASc’88 – Future of Robotics alumni UBC100 What's Next? : Elizabeth Croft - Future of Robotics Robot kindergarten teaches droids of the future A Robot in Every Home Women in Engineering and Science (WISE) 2011




Elizabeth Croft is Associate Dean, Education and Professional Development for the Faculty of Applied Science, director of the Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems Lab, and a registered Professional Engineer in the Province of British Columbia. Her research investigates how robotic systems can operate efficiently and effectively in partnership with people, in a safe, predictable, and helpful manner. She is author of over 120 refereed publications in robotics, controls, visual servoing and human robot interaction. Applications of this work range from manufacturing assembly to healthcare and assistive technology and her work has been funded by industry partners including Thermo-CRS, General Motors and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

As Associate Dean for Education and Professional Development, Professor Croft is responsible for undergraduate, graduate and professional educational initiatives in Applied Science at both the Vancouver and Okanagan campus, and lead the development and successful launch of eight new professional programs in Engineering, Planning and Health in 2016. She provides oversight for the Engineering Cooperative Education program and Engineering Student Services. She also oversees communications, community outreach, marketing and student recruitment.

Professor Croft served as NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, BC & Yukon (2010-2015) founding Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology (WWEST) to attract, recruit, and retain women in engineering and science careers. Over her tenure as Chair the percentage of women students entering first year engineering at UBC increased from 20% to 30%. WWEST continues to work at national, regional, and local levels with organizations engaged in increasing the number of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines through multilateral partnerships spanning community, academic, and private sector partners. She also served as Principal Investigator for the National NSERC Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Network and is PI for the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council project “Engendering Engineering Success” aimed at increasing the participation and retention of women in engineering careers.

Areas of Expertise (5)


Mechanical Engineering

Human Robot Interaction

Community Outreach

Student Recruitment

Accomplishments (7)

Wendy MacDonald Award, Diversity Champion, Vancouver Board of Trade


Just Desserts Award, UBC Alma Mater Society


WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada


YWCA Women of Distinction Award,Education, Training & Development


NSERC Accelerator Award


Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, Award for the Support of Women in Engineering


Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, Professional Service Award


Affiliations (5)

  • Canadian Academy of Engineers : Fellow
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers : Fellow
  • Engineers Canada : Fellow
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers : Senior Member
  • Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia : Member (P.Eng.)

Media Appearances (5)

UBC to open new school of biomedical engineering

The Ubyssey  


Elizabeth Croft, associate dean of education and professional development in the faculty of applied sciences, explained how biomedical engineering is the fastest growing sector within engineering across the continent. She explained how there is an estimated need for 100 new engineers in that sector alone every year...

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Opinion: 100 years of wise women

Vancouver Sun  


Tuesday marks the 41st International Women’s Day, a celebration of women, mothers, daughters, and sisters, partners, leaders, followers, water-bearers, cooks, and carers around the world. International Women’s Day, originally called International Working Women’s Day, has been celebrated on March 8 every year since 1975, with events honouring women in culturally different ways with appreciation and respect. It is a movement with both an underlying political and human rights theme. While anecdotes from the past have hinted that the day may also have been used in certain regions of the world as an excuse to escalate domestic violence, lessons about the global struggles and successes of women are used today as stepping stones for moving ahead...

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UBC freshmen will engineer a delicate balance between the demands of sports and school

The Province  


And building a team around that kind of a unique baseline is something Dr Elizabeth Croft, UBC’s associate Dean of Applied Sciences, feels reflects the broad-minded view of those dedicated enough to accept such a demanding load. “They are bright, but they are also holistic,” explains Croft. “They have a bunch of parts to their brain and that is what we need in engineering. They understand physics and math, but they are the ones who are going to solve world problems so they need to have a wider view of things. These kids, they are the ones that are going to the future leaders of a re-imagined engineering program.”...

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Welcome to UBC's Robot Kindergarten!

News 1130  


Mechanical engineering professor and robotics expert Elizabeth Croft says that in a world of Wall-Es and Rosies, walking-and-talking avatars, smart driverless cars and automated medical assistants, it is crucial to get the game right. “We have all the necessary ingredients to create devices that can compute quickly, can learn and match patterns, are broadly connected to communicate with each other and many other devices. There’s also the ‘maker movement’ — the ability to rapidly prototype even biological materials and integrate them into silicon based materials,” says Croft...

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‘Robot kindergarten’ trains droids of the future



Less than 100 years from now, robots will be friendly, useful participants in our homes and workplaces, predicts UBC mechanical engineering professor and robotics expert Elizabeth Croft. We will be living in a world of Wall-Es and Rosies, walking-and-talking avatars, smart driverless cars and automated medical assistants...

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Articles (5)

Active target search for high dimensional robotic systems

Autonomous Robots

2017 When a robotic visual servoing/tracking system loses sight of the target, the servo fails due to loss of input. To resolve this problem a search method, namely a lost target search (LTS) which will generate efficient actions to bring the target back into the camera field of view (FoV) as soon as possible, is required. For high dimensional platforms, like a camera-mounted manipulator or an eye-in-hand system, such a search must address the difficult challenge of generating efficient actions in an online manner while avoiding ...

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Transformation of vestibular signals for the control of standing in humans

Journal of Neuroscience

2016 During standing balance, vestibular signals encode head movement and are transformed into coordinates that are relevant to maintaining upright posture of the whole body. This transformation must account for head-on-body orientation as well as the muscle actions generating the postural response. Here, we investigate whether this transformation is dependent upon a muscle's ability to stabilize the body along the direction of a vestibular disturbance. Subjects were braced on top of a robotic balance system that simulated the ...

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Design and evaluation of a touch-centered calming interaction with a social robot

IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing

2016 With advances in sensor and actuator design, intelligent computing techniques and personal care robotics, today's robots hold promise as fully interactive, therapeutic human companions. To achieve this ambitious goal, key interaction components must be identified and then systematically designed and evaluated. Based on successes of human-animal therapy, we propose affective touch as one such component. Delivering this adjunct in a controllable robot form allows us to examine its efficacy for therapeutic applications such ...

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Physical human–robot interaction

Springer Handbook of Robotics

2016 Over the last two decades, the foundations for physical human–robot interaction (pHRI) have evolved from successful developments in mechatronics, control, and planning, leading toward safer lightweight robot designs and interaction control schemes that advance beyond the current capacities of existing high-payload and high-precision position-controlled industrial robots. Based on their ability to sense physical interaction, render compliant behavior along the robot structure, plan motions that respect human ...

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Impacts of robot head gaze on robot-to-human handovers

International Journal of Social Robotics

2015 In this paper, we investigate the use of a robot's gaze to improve the timing and subjective experience of face-to-face robot-to-human handovers. Based on observations of human gaze behaviors during face-to-face human–human handovers, we implement various gaze behaviors on a PR2 humanoid robot. We conducted two consecutive robot-to-human handover studies. Results show that when the robot continually gazes at a projected handover position while handing over an object, the human receivers reach for the object ...

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