Ziggy O'Reilly

Ziggy O'Reilly

Ziggy O’Reilly is incorporating her interest in art and robotics with her psychology background.

Ziggy O'Reilly graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) in 2016 and completed her Master of Science (Biological Arts) in 2020. O'Reilly is interested in the intersection between existential psychology, robot ethics and biological art. Currently she is exploring different methods and techniques for artistic purposes such as carpentry, body decomposition, embedded systems and tissue culture. Theoretically, Ziggy is interested in the positive and negative ethical and social implications of introducing intelligent robotics into therapeutic and educational spaces. Ziggy is influenced by existential psychiatrists Victor Frankl and Irvin D. Yalom, artists Helen Pynor, Guy Ben-Ary and Lu Yang, the cultural theorist Donna Haraway and the computer scientist Ray Kurzweil.

She has worked for an artificial intelligence start-up, volunteered on the National Youth Week planning committee; coordinated youth craft workshops for Perth International Arts Festival and Awesome Arts Festival for Bright Young Things, and curated, directed and managed artists and spaces for ArtLabs Media and The Pop-Up Space.

Social Robot Videos: A New Task to Measure Theory of Mind Towards Humanoid Robots in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Masters project) 

Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute feelings, thoughts and desires to others to predict and understand social behaviour. Individuals on the autism spectrum have difficulties in social communication and interaction that may be due to an impairment in ToM. Theoretically then, therapeutic interventions tailored to ToM could have far-reaching effects. However, present computer-mediated interventions have either not found generalisation to novel stimuli, or do not use stimuli which is representative of real-life social interactions.

Socially-Assistive Robotics (SAR) for autism, is a growing area of research which aims to leverage engagement to elicit social behaviours and facilitate generalisation. Unlike computer-mediated interventions, humanoid SAR are embodied, more representative of real-life social interaction and show promise for generalisation. However, SAR has mostly focused on teaching social behaviours, rather than ToM. Prior to developing ToM interventions using SAR, one must create standardised paradigms to directly measure ToM in response to humanoid robots, to assess therapeutic effectiveness. Current ToM measurements using humanoid robots are either not practical to implement or use dichotomous measures of ToM which fail to capture degrees of ToM.

The current study aimed to design and develop a standardised measurement of ToM in response to humanoid robots. Stop-motion animation techniques were used to create a set of videos of humanoid robots interacting based on a reliable ToM paradigm - the Frith-Happe Animations. These Social Robot Videos were presented in a pilot study alongside the Frith-Happe Animations to 7 children on the autism spectrum and 9 neurotypical children aged between 8 and 11 years old. These Social Robot Videos could be used in randomised controlled trials to investigate the effectiveness of SAR to teach aspects of ToM. 

Electives taken

• Neurobiology
• Bioethics (Yale University)
• Sculpture: Time and Space (Current)
• Neuroscience Research Methods (Current) 


  • Milroy, H., & O’Reilly, Z., (in press). Donna J. Haraway, Manifestly Haraway: A New Conversation. Lo Sguardo.


  • Robots in Residential Aged Care Facilities: A Need for Implementation of Ethical Codes in Procedural Protocols. Poster presentation at Yale Medical Library, New Haven CT, June 21, 2017.


Group Exhibitions
June 2015. Plasticity: An Interactive Installation, The Pop-Up Space, Mount Hawthorn.
June 2014. Mid-Year Student Exhibition, Cullity Gallery, Perth.
November 2013. End of Year Student Exhibition, Cullity Gallery, Perth.

Curated Exhibitions
March – April 2015. Artlab Media, Jump Climb, Mount Lawley.
June – July 2015. Art For Spark*, The Pop-Up Space, Mount Hawthorn.