AI and HRI

I work on Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that improve the real-time perception, reasoning and expressive capabilities of embodied social agents. I also plan and conduct controlled and in-the-wild Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) studies mostly in assistive, education and entertainment domains.

Joint Attention

A social robot that uses real-time multimodal information from a user and context information from a collaborative task to exhibit believable gaze behaviors. *Best novel technology paper award at IROS 2019

Links: HRI 2020, Iros 2019, github

Speech Interaction

Worked on a fast-paced keyword spotter for children aged 5-10. Then, created the artificial intelligence for a robot co-player that was initially unengaging but became engaging when we adapted its prosody to each child's speech. *Best technology paper award at HRI 2017

Links: Patent, HRI 2017, IVA 2016, WOCCI 2016

Social Presence Guidelines

Built a custom digital table and implemented an adaptation of the Risk game. Established a set of guidelines for developing socially present agents and developed the autonomous behavior for a robot that plays Risk against three human players. *Best paper award at ACE 2012

Links: CHI 2014, PhD 2014, EWW 2014, ACE 2012

Semi-situated Learning

Worked on the problem of using semi-situated crowdworkers to automatically extend a robot's dialog knowledge and enable it to express believable and appropriate verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Also developed a module that matches RFID tags with users detected on a Kinect camera.

Links: Patent, IVA 2017, ICMI 2016

Detecting User States

Worked on several projects that use multimodal machine learning to recognize user states, such as their affect, engagement or uncertainty in a task. *10 year technical impact award at ICMI 2019

Links: ICMI 2019, ICMI workshop 2018, SocialCom 2012, HRI 2011, ICMI 2009

Embodiment Studies

Compared anthropomorphic social robots with identical virtually embodied agents. Recently analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of social robots when compared to smart speakers.

Links: CHI 2020, HRI 2020, IVA 2019, CogSci 2019, CHI Workshop 2019, AAMAS 2008, MSc 2007

Empathic Robots

I have extensively worked on the topic of closing the loop from affective recognition to generating empathic behavior in robots.

Links: TIIS 2014, IJHR 2013, IJHCS 2013, HRI 2012, UMAP 2011, PALE 2011, AFFINE 2010, IVA 2010, HRPR 2010, JMUI 2010, AAMAS 2009, AFFINE 2009, ACII 2009, ROMAN 2008, AAMAS 2008

Long-term Interactions

After the “novelty effect” people usually lose interest and change their attitude towards robots. One of my main long-term research goals is to successfully achieve long-term relationships between robots and humans.

Links: IDC 2016, AAAI 2015, IJSR 2014, ICSR 2012, , Mobile HCI 2010, ROMAN 2009, Bellagio 2008

Robot Architectures

Both in industry (Disney and Furhat Robotics) and in academia, I have designed and contributed to robotics software architectures that integrate perception, decision making and behavior generation modules.

Links: AAAI 2016, IVA 2014, github furhat C# interface