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Social and Cognitive Robotics Research

The Interactive Intelligence (formerly Man-Machine Interaction) section and TNO work on socio-cognitive robots that are able to interact with humans.

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Research Interest

Socio-cognitive Robots

Emotion Expression

A socio-cognitive iCat has been compared with an egocentric iCat in a game-playing context. The iCat played Go Fish ('kwartetten' in Dutch) with children. Furthermore an experiment was performed where the iCat and the NAO were compared on emotional expressiveness. Links to videos of the NAO emotions:

Bodily Mood Expression

Our expression model aims at displaying a long-lasting affect state (e.g., mood), even during task execution.
In this model, a behavior is parameterized, and by varying behavior parameters the spatial extent and motion dynamics changed,
and thus different moods can be expressed, without changing the particular function of that behavior.

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More detail can be found in the following papers:

  • Xu, J., J. D. Broekens, K. Hindriks, and M. A. Neerincx, "Mood Expression through Parameterized Functional Behavior of Robots", 22nd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (IEEE RO-MAN), Gyeongju, Korea, IEEE, in press, 2013. Best Paper Award. pdf
  • Xu, J., J. D. Broekens, K. Hindriks, and M. A. Neerincx, "The Relative Importance and Interrelations between Behavior Parameters for Robots’ Mood Expression", 5th International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), Geneva, Switzerland, IEEE, 2013. pdf
  • Xu, J., J. D. Broekens, K. Hindriks, and M. A. Neerincx, "Bodily Mood Expression: Recognize Moods from Functional Behaviors of Humanoid Robots", International Conference on Social Robotics, Bristol, UK, Springer, 2013. pdf


Bodily Mood Expression in the Imitation Game

We studied this model within a context by applying it to the behaviors required by a human-robot game,
and evaluated the recognition of the robot mood, and studied the effect of the mood expression within this game scenario.
We observed an effect which we interpreted as "mood contagion".

  • Xu, J., J. D. Broekens, K. Hindriks, and M. A. Neerincx, "Robot Mood is Contagious: Effects of Robot Body Language in the Imitation Game", Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS), Paris, 2014.


Robot Tutor NAO with Mood-Modulated Gestures

Check out the project proposoal for enhancing the RoboTutor here: Media:Project_Proposal_RoboTutor.pdf.

Positive Mood - Lecture Part I Negative Mood - Lecture Part I

See more here:

Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)

The iCat has been used to conduct a number of experiments. Watch the video below for an overview.

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NAO Corridor Navigation

The Aldabaran humanoid robot NAO navigates itself in the corridor.
The whole length is 7:52.
The left part is recorded by a video camera.
The right part is a simultaneous screen recording of our observation program.

  • Wei, C., J. Xu, C. Wang, P. Wiggers, and K. Hindriks, "An Approach to Navigation for the Humanoid Robot NAO in Domestic Environments", 14th Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS-13), Oxford, U.K., Springer Berlin Heidelberg, in press, 2013. pdf


PhD Students

Student Projects




ICat game.jpg

Related Work

Robotics is a large area of research ranging from robotics hardware design to cognitive robot control architectures. Here we present our selection of related work and information ranging from generally and only loosely related topics, examples of robotics research and applications to more specific and more closely related work.

Robot - overview

Related work on Cognitive Robotics (Groups, Architectures, etc)

Related projects

  • CogX EU Project The aim of this project is to develop a unified theory of self-understanding and self-extension with a convincing instantiation and implementation of this theory in a robot.
  • CoSy EU Project The main goal of the project was to advance the science of cognitive systems.
  • Cogniron EU Project The main objective of Cogniron has been to develop a cognitive robotic companion.


Integration Urbi.jpg