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2 HRI 2015 papers!

I have two papers accepted at HRI 2015:

Comparing Models of Disengagement in Individual and Group Interactions. Iolanda Leite, Marissa McCoy, Daniel Ullman, Nicole Salomons, Brian Scassellati.

Emotional Storytelling in the Classroom: Individual versus Group Interactions between Children and Robots. Iolanda Leite, Marissa McCoy, Monika Lohani, Daniel Ullman, Nicole Salomons, Charlene Stokes, Susan Rivers, Brian Scassellati.

I am also co-chairing the Video Session this year, so it will be a busy but exciting conference for sure!

IFAAMAS-13 Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award

My PhD dissertation, Long-term Interactions with Empathic Social Robots, received an honorable mention in IFAAMAS-13 Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award!

This award is named after Professor Victor Lesser, a long standing member of the AAMAS community who has graduated a large number of outstanding PhD students in the area. It is awarded for dissertations written as part of a PhD defended in the specified year, nominated by the supervisor (with supporting references), which show originality, depth, impact and written quality, supported by quality publications. The award is sponsored by IFAAMAS, the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, and will be presented at AAMAS-2014 Conference in Paris.

The Economist

Our work in EMOTE was featured in an article published in The Economist about collaboration between robots and humans:

Another approach uses sensors to assess the state of nearby humans, so that robots can respond appropriately. With funding from the European Union, researchers are using bracelets equipped with electrodes to enable classroom robots to determine whether students are bored, confused or anxious. The robots can adapt their teaching style accordingly, says Iolanda Leite of the Instituto Superior Técnico, a Portuguese university participating in the programme, which is called EMOTE. One of its objectives is to foster “social bonding” between people and robots.

The full article is available online here.

Photo report of my PhD Defense

My PhD defense was on the 5th of June and I had an official (almost 90-year-old) photographer reporting the event.


After almost three hours of  discussion, the committee decided to award me with “Pass with Distinction”, the highest grade I could obtain!


Some of my friends and colleagues from GAIPS were there to support me, as they did during these years.


Even my mum was there (I was not lying about the age of the photographer).


I could not agree more with this PhD comic:


But after all the blood, sweat, tears and coffee, looking back it was worth it!

By the way, you can download my thesis here.

HRI’13 + lab visits in Japan

In the beginning of March I traveled to Japan for HRI’13 and several lab visits around the country.


Me and my colorful slides at HRI 2013.

While in Tokyo, we visited three labs from University of Tokyo. They have impressive work in humanoid robots.

univ tokyo

Humanoid robot that opens doors and pushes carts around.

After HRI, our next stop was Inuyama where the Primate Research Institute (PRI) from University of Kyoto is located. One of the  main research topics at PRI is symbolic representation and working memory in chimpanzees. Ai, the chimpanzee in the picture below, is able to order numerical sequences among other remarkable capabilities.


Ai kissing me goodbye.

On the next day, we continued our journey west towards Kyoto to visit Nishida Lab and ATR’s Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories.

Me and the new version of Robovie.

Me and the new version of Robovie.

China highlights

Last week I traveled to Chengdu, China, to attend the ICSR2012 and I won the Best Student Paper Award!

While in Chengdu, I had the chance to visit the Panda Base. Pandas are one of the cutest living creatures, don’t you think?

Cute Giant Panda