Social robots are robots that are designed in a human-centered manner to interact with people efficiently, but using socially acceptable, ‘natural’, interaction styles, so that they can operate in human environments alongside and in cooperation with people. This is the key approach of the Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Lab (SIRRL) at University of Waterloo. Such robots are different from traditional manufacturing robots which had to be fenced in to avoid injury to human workers. Social robots need to be intelligent and adaptive to work in dynamic, unpredictable, human-inhabited environments, not treating humans as ‘objects’ but as social entities. Similarly, humans will respond to interactive robots socially. Social robots come in different sizes and shapes, from humanoid to animal-like to machine like appearances, each associated to different expectations of their skills and abilities. Rising costs in domains such as healthcare, therapy, the need for supporting healthy aging, providing inclusive education, as well as the predicted next industrial revolution involving robotic co-workers (co-bots) – creates a real potential for social robots to make a significant contribution to society. My talk will outline some of the main concepts, challenges, and provide examples of research in those areas, as well as field studies of deploying social robots.