The Council of Coaches in Twente

Engineers take pride in their workVisiting European research project partners is great: seeing the places, trying the food, meeting the people. It is only fair to return the favour from time to time. In the Council of Coaches project many partners are from Twente, so it makes a lot of sense (less people traveling) to have meetings in Twente. We were the hosts for two technical integration meetings, April 23-26 and October 8-12. We had guests from the University of Dundee in the UK, the Sorbonne University in France, the Polytechnic University Valencia in Spain, and the Danish Board of Technology Foundation.

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“Robots but social ones, right…?”

robot drawingWorking in science is awesome but sometimes, often at a party, it can be challenging to explain what it is that I do. I studied psychology and now work with, you know… “robots but social ones” as someone put it. Roughly two groups of people ask about my work and job, 1) those who are very interested in novel technology and psychology and 2) those who are scared this new technology is dangerous and “might steal their job”. I love talking about my job so always 1) explain as much as people find interesting and 2) reassure that robotic overlords won’t be happening soon (and that they probably will have an off-switch). In this post you can read what I might say if you ask me at a party “so you work with robots, right…?”

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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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