Maryam Ashoori PhD  Maryam Ashoori PhD photo         

contact information

IBM Research AI
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY USA


Professional Associations

Professional Associations:  Human Factors and Ergonomics Society


Maryam Ashoori is a Research Staff Member and manager of User Experience and Design at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center (IBM Research AI group) currently focused on developing next-generation human-machine interfaces to enable symbiotic relationships between people and cognitive systems.

Dr. Ashoori is the creator of TJBot and known as the 'Cool things' Czar!


She is part computer scientist, part user experience analyst, and part interface artist with a passion for exploring the intersection between art and computer science and building usable, useful, and desirable products. She designs for environments where multiple people come together in a physical space to interact with one another and with one or more intelligent agents. Dr. Ashoori is interested in exploring how different environmental characteristics of a room such as the content displayed across a multitude of screens situated around the room, the intensity and coloring of ambient lighting, and even the characteristics of the smart objects contained within the room (aka 'Cognitive Objects') can affect interactions and the quality of the decisions made in the room. Some of her previous experiments include a 'zen garden' that can relieve stress during a meeting or an 'inspiration' place to spark creativity. 



Cognitive Objects embody cognitive intelligent agents, providing a physical object that may sense, compute, react, and interact with the power of cognitive computing. Dr. Ashoori has explored various form factors of objects (dress, lamp, chair, globe, caduceus) for multiple industry scenarios. She is the creator of 'Watson Maker Kits', a fun initiave toward open sourcing Cognitive Objects.



Dr. Ashoori also manages a team of designers to create online experiences for Quantum Computing research & education, under the branding of IBM Q. The complexity of quantum computing interfaces makes it a fascinating HCI challenge that requires a tight collaboration with quantum computing researchers and scientists, educators, and system developers.




Publications in Computer Science:

Publications in Systems Design:

  • Knock Knock, What's There: Converting Passive Objects into Customizable Smart Controllers Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Multimedia, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (PACM IMWUT)- 2017 (In Progress)
  • Symbiotic Cognitive Computing, AAAI Magazine, Feb 2016
  • TJBot: An Open Source DIY Cardboard Robot for Programming Cognitive Systems, In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 381-384
  • The impending ubiquity of cognitive objects, AAAI Publications, Symbiotic Cognitive Systems workshop of the Thirtieth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Technical Report WS-16-14, February 12–17, 2016, Phoenix, Arizona USA 
  • Immersive experience for remote participants of smart conference rooms, AAAI Publications, Symbiotic Cognitive Systems workshop of the Thirtieth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Technical Report WS-16-14, February 12–17, 2016, Phoenix, Arizona USA
  • Design and Development of Interactive Display SpacesThe Handbook of Multimodal-Multisensor Interfaces - book chapter, 2016
  • Towards understanding wearable device use in the enterprise: privacy, adoption and design Issues, The 1st International Workshop on Quantified Workplace, CSCW 2016, San Francisco, USA
  • Creating the mood: design for a cognitive meeting room, In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2001-2006.
  • Exploring the potential of wearables to support employment for people with mild cognitive impairme, In Proceedings of the 17th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers & Accessibility (ASSETS '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 401-402
  • Using team cognitive work analysis to reveal healthcare team interactions in a labour and delivery unit, Ergonomics. 2014;57(7):973-986
  • Team cognitive work analysis: structure and control tasks, Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 2013 ; 7(2):123-14
  • Cognitive task analysis in action: collaboration in the operating room, In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s 55th Annual Meeting, 2011;55(1):272-276
  • Reinventing the wheel: control task analysis for collaboration, In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s 54th Annual Meeting, 2010;54(4), 274 - 278
  • Toward a framework for dynamic service binding in e-procurement, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing 26, Springer-Verlag, 2009: 89 - 99 
  • Toward a Model of Intelligence in Pedagogical Agents, IJEE International Journal of Engineering Education, 2008 
  • Economically inspired self-healing for multi-agent systems, IEEE Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology
  • Socializing pedagogical agents for personalization in virtual learning environments, IEEE Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conferences on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology 
  • Toward a society oriented approach for fault handling in multi-agent systems, Proceedings of the 20th IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE 2007), 1397 – 1400 
  • Mentor agent: an intelligent virtual teacher for personalized learning environments, Proceedings of 7th WSEAS International Conference on Distance Learning and Web Engineering, 2007;315-320
  • Intelligent market-based learner modeling, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 4099, Springer-Verlag, 2006;101-111
  • Utilizing data fusion in an economy of self-motivated agents, In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Computational Intelligence, Robotics, and Autonomous systems (CIRAS 2005) 
  • Toward a model of an improved economy of agents, In Proceedings of the second International Conference on Machine Intelligence (ICMI 2005), pp. 531-536 
  • Stock management: a cooperative approach to improve multi-agent systems, In Proceedings of the 10th Annual Computer Society of Iran Computer Conference (CSICC 2005) 
  • Correlation based watermarking in still images, In Proceedings of the 8th Annual Intelligent Systems Conference (CIS 2004) 
  • A modern market based task allocation approach in multi-agent systems, In Proceedings of the 8th Annual Intelligent Systems Conference (CIS 2004)




30+ disclosures filed or published

  • Sentiment Analysis of Mental Health Disorder Symptoms
  • Method and System for Targeted Advertising Based on Natural Language Analytics
  • Smart Devices having Recognition Features
  • System and Method for Transforming Passive Objects into Smart Devices Through Recognizing Their Acoustic Features
  • Health Monitoring Using Parallel Cognitive Processing
  • Cognitive Chair For Monitoring Disease Progression in Parkinson’s Disease
  • System, Method, and Recording Medium for Providing Notifications in Video Streams to Control Video Playback
  • System, Method, and Recording Medium for Cognitive Health Management
  • Medication Scheduling and Alerts 
  • Wearer Role-based Visually Modifiable Garment
  • Proximity Feedback for Medicine Identification
  • Determining Intended Electronic Message Recipients via Linguistic Profiles
  • Secure, Serendipitous Social Connection via Real-time Biometrics and Cognitive State Comparison
  • System and Method for Crowd (Group) State Sensing base on a Combination of Wearable Sensor Data
  • Dual Interactive Visualization System for Sensitivity Analysis to Risk Preferences for Decision Support 
  • Social Connection via Real-time Image Comparison
  • Implementing Restricted-Operation Region for Unmanned Vehicles
  • Smart Mat for Package Deliveries
  • Scalable Visualization of a Product and Its Variants
  • Clothing Modification Apparatus and Service for Traffic Control
  • Method and System for Annotating and Editing Photos Using Gestures and Speech before the Photos are Taken
  • System and Method for Supplementing Driving Directions for People Navigating in Unfamiliar Areas
  • Method to Expand and Collapse Hierarchical Data Structures
  • Using Shades and Cross Hair for Displaying Warning of UI Widgets for Visually Impaired Users
  • Dynamic User Interaction Based on Portability of a device
  • Transparent Control Elements
  • The Application of Temporal Casual Modeling to Operational Risk Management Business Process
  • Method for Cross-functional Risk-Adjusted Planning
  • Integrating Risk Metrics into the Planning Process



In the first few weeks after TJBot was release, he was highlighted in US and international press by the SDTimes, Disruptive Tech TV, iProgrammer, GamingGadgets (Germany), All About Circuits, Electronics 360, TechNews (Taiwan), Panorama (Italy), ComputerWorld (Malaysia), and others. In the US, TJBot’s popularity attracted the attention of two major worldwide electronics suppliers, Adafruit and Sparkfun, as well as a few smaller suppliers. Sparkfun and Adafruit have both sold TJBot kits on their website and on Amazon.


Selected Invited Talks

  • TJBot Swift Playground | Beyond WWDC 2017, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference | June 5 - 9 | San Jose, CA
  • Build a TJBot and Take Him Home | SXSW 2017 | March 9-18 | Austin, TX 
  •  Watson Globe, Transforming a meeting room into a cognitive room | World of Watson 2016 | October 24 - 27 | Vegas, NV
  •  TJBot and Embodied Cognition | developerWorks Open | February 22, 2017 | Video Broadcast


Projects and Groups