Council of Coaches – A new project

A new year is approaching and a new project appears: Council of Coaches! In this European Horizon 2020 Project we will look at virtual coaching. We will create an autonomous council of multiple virtual coaches that can assist people in achieving their health goals. These coaches will discuss the health situation of the user with each other and the user. In this way we hope to be able to positively influence the lifestyle of the user in a fun and natural manner.

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You stole with a robot, now what?

Last summer we accidentally stole something with a robot” seems more like the tag-line for a cheesy science fiction movie than a starting point for an academic paper. Yet it was one of the events that we describe in our latest paper titled “Telepresence Robots in the Wide Wild World” which is accepted at the CHI 2017 Ethical Encounters workshop. Congratulations to my co-authors: Robby van Delden and Jered Vroon.

Right, let’s first look at the “crime” and then I’ll explain what really happened. 🙂

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ARIA Developers Meet – Edinburgh

Edinburgh CastleThe ARIA project is a European project, with partners from the UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands. This has its perks, when you need to sit down for a face-to-face meeting there is no other option than to travel. And I love to visit new places!

Edinburgh BagpiperThis time, Edinburgh Scotland! Lovely city that looks and feels historical. Things to find there: loads of nice pubs, random bagpipers in front the Scottish High Court for Justice, friendly people, surprisingly nice weather and obviously: Hurray for Haggis!

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ARIA VALUSPA – A new project

Dagstuhl group picThis year I will be working on the European research project ARIA VALUSPA. The project ARIA VALUSPA and a sister project KRISTINA both work on virtual agents that can behave in a socially intelligent manner. I am very fortunate to join ARIA at this time because the two projects met up at a joint seminar at the Dagstuhl Castle to exchange their insights, progress, promising approaches, and create new (research) friendships. The Dagstuhl is a computer science centre in the south-west of Germany. It offers a very relaxed and secluded location where computer scientists can come together to discuss and work on their research.

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Media: De Kennis van Nu

merijn bij kennis van nuIt is always a true pleasure when someone is interested in your work. This time I was contacted by a TV show on science, called ‘De Kennis van Nu‘ who were interested in an item about lying. In this episode you can see Diederik Jekel trying to figure out whether his co-host tells lies. To prepare for his “interrogation” he visits researchers working on lie detection (Sophie van der Zee) and interrogation training (that’s me).

See the item here:

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Project Avatar

Avatar Begin Screen
The two Avatars.

Creating a serious game for the Dutch National Police is a serious matter. In project Avatar (funded by the Dutch National Police) we created a prototype of a game where students of the Dutch Police Academy can train their interviewing skills. In Avatar the user plays the role of a police officer who has to interview a witness of an attempted car break-in. Alternatively the user can play a witness and be interviewed by a police Avatar. In an interaction, the user can talk to the system using natural language and the system talks back using verbal and non-verbal behaviour.

The work, done by the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group from the University of Twente and CleVR a Delft company, was demonstrated at the ‘Themadag Innovatie’ at the Dutch Police Academy in Apeldoorn.

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Tasty Bits and Bytes in Japan

November was a month filled with amazing tech and interesting food. I went to Japan to present two papers from our Tasty Bits and Bytes project at the conference for Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE’16) and at a workshop on Multi-Sensoral Approaches to Human-Food Interaction (MHFI’16) at the International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI’16). From vending machines for smartphones to heated toilet seats that use enthusiastic sounds to welcome you back and from Edamame to Yakitori, Japan is a real must see for tech enthusiasts and food lovers. This appreciation for food and tech might have played a role in securing a best paper award at the ACE’16 conference. Congratulation to Gijs Huisman and Dirk Heylen, my fellow authors!

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Dr. M. Bruijnes I presume

My weekend of 7, 8, and 9 October 2016 was a bit above average. On the 7th, I successfully defended my dissertation and was awarded the title of Doctor of Philosophy. The party afterwards was really really nice. Almost all important (to me) people were there and the atmosphere was lovely. Thank you all for coming! On the 8th, I was still smiling! On the 9th, I opened all the presents and had a relaxing birthday.

Yes… I think this weekend was above average. 🙂

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Upcoming – My PhD Defence!

Absolutely lovely and exciting, yet terrifying, news: Friday 7 October (from 16:30) I will defend my PhD thesis! The title of my thesis is ‘Believable Suspect Agents – Response and Interpersonal Style Selection for an Artificial Suspect’. I’m looking forward to the defence with a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and relief.

The defence is open to all who are interested. Location: building Waaier, University of Twente, the Netherlands.

A summary of my thesis (in English and Dutch):

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