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Workshop participants of the Human Media Interaction group

Dirk Heylen (prof.dr.)

Dirk Heylen is Professor Socially Intelligent Computing. His research interests cover both the machine analysis of human (conversational) behaviour and the generation of human-like (conversational) behaviour by virtual agents and robots. He is especially interested in the nonverbal and paraverbal aspects of dialogue and what these signals reveal about the mental state (cognitive, affective, social). These topics are explored both from a computational perspective and as basic research in the humanities, reflecting his training as a computational linguist. After his studies of Linguistics, Computer Science and Computational Linguistics at the University of Antwerp he moved to the Institute of Dutch Lexicology in Leyden, to develop tools for enriching natural language databases. After a couple of years he went on to the Utrecht University and got involved in the big European project Eurotra on Machine Translation. After coordinating a follow-up EU project, he started his PhD project on a logical approach to natural language analysis and parsing (Type Logical Grammar) At the University of Twente he started working on embodied dialogue systems (aka virtual agents or embodied conversational agents). This made his interests shift from pure linguistic analysis to body language, from text analysis to real-time human-machine interaction, and from the logical analysis to a much broader concern with emotion and social relations in interaction.

Topics of research: embodied conversational agents, social signal processing, ambient intelligence, affective computing spoken dialogue systems, human computer interaction, backchannels, brain computer interfaces.

Dirk Heylen is one of the founders of the Centre for Monitoring & Coaching.

Rieks op den Akker (Dr.ir.)

Rieks op den Akker studied mathematics, computer science and philosophy of science and technology. He teaches artificial intelligence (reasoning under uncertainty), speech and language processing, mathematics for HMI and conversational agents.

His research currently focuses on conversational agents and dialogue systems and their application in serious games (training social skills, games for childeren with chronic diseases) and coaching system for e/mhealth.

Randy Klaassen (ir.)

Randy Klaassen holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Human Media Interaction, both obtained from the University of Twente. My PhD research focuses on techniques and principles from the field of human computer interaction to design, implement and evaluate behavior change support systems. We pay special attention on the effects on user perception and user experience of a behavior change support system when feedback messages are presented in different formats (text versus virtual human). 

Randy is part of the organization committee of the Centre for Monitoring & Coaching.

Merijn Bruijnes (MSc)

I received my master’s degree at the department Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics (CPE) in 2011, studying development of spatial mental representations in an embodied artificial neural network using sequential and egocentric data (thesis). After graduating, I joined Human Media Interaction (HMI) to do my PhD research. The topic of my PhD research is social signals in interaction between humans and artificial agents. I focus on modeling the social interactions in uncooperative conversations (in particular police interviews). These models are applied in a serious game to teach police students the social skills needed, for example to perform a police interview.

Vicky Charisi (MA)

Child Robot Interaction    

Daniel Davidson (MSc)

Daniel Davidson holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Human Media Interaction, both obtained from the University of Twente. He is doing his PhD on the EASEL project is about symbiotic child-robot interactions. In the context of an inquiry based learning task, which spans multiple consecutive collaborative interactions, children will form a beneficial social bond with the robot.

Roelof de Vries (MSc)

In short, my research is about the designing motivational agent behaviors to encourage physical activity that can be used in a smartphone application targeting users with any physical activity level. This means the design of these behaviors needs to be global and broad, but also tailored to a specific user. Therefore, the research aims to combine an overall framework of behavior change (the Transtheoretical Model) while tailoring to specific user characteristics (the Five Factor Model of Personality).

Jorge Pérez (MSc)

I studied a Bachelor and Master’s in Psychology with specialization in Cognitive Science. In 2009 I moved to Amsterdam (Netherlands) and at the VU Amsterdam I did a 5 months internship on Artificial Life and Machine Learning. Subsequently I studied a 2 years Master’s in Artificial Intelligence at the same university. As part of my Master’s project, I moved to Plymouth (United Kingdom) for 5 months, where I did an internship on social robotics. In my PhD research I investigate a wide range of effects that socially assistive robots elicit on people, particularly the elderly population. One crucial question for me is: under what circumstances are social robots better accepted? The role of the robot as a companion is central in my research. I investigate the beneficial psychological effects that robots can bring to users. Such effects may come from the company they provide per se, but also from robot-assisted exercises for psychological wellbeing (e.g. interventions from positive psychology).

Gijs Huisman (MSc)

Prior to my PhD position, I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science, and a cum laude Master’s degree in Communication Studies: New Media, Research, and Design, both at the University of Twente. During this time I was involved in the creation of the LEMtool, an interactive tool to measure emotions in visual interfaces. In my PhD work I focus on mediated social touch and emotions. I am also a research associate at SusaGroup, where I give advice on user experience research and measuring emotions.

Merel Jung (MSc)

Merel Jung is a PhD candidate at the Human Media Interaction department with research interests in technology mediated touch interaction for entertainment and communication purposes. Her background is in psychology; she received both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree (Cum laude) at the department of Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics at the University of Twente. The focus of her master’s thesis was on the detection of deception through body motion measured by motion sensors.

Daphne Karreman (MSc)

I studied Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. In 2010 I received my MSc in two of the master programs of Industrial Design, being: Design for Interaction and Integrated Product Design. After my study I did some freelance design work, until I started my PhD at Human Media Interaction at the University of Twente in February 2012. I’m doing my PhD at the Human Media Interaction group and the research I do is on human-robot interaction. My research topic is about the development of personality and behavior of a Fun Robotic Outdoor Guide to have satisfying human-robot interaction.

Jaebok Kim (MSc)

I majored in Computer Science (B.Sc., 2009, Seoul, Korea) and studied automatic speech recognition and speech emotion recognition during my master’s program in Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (M.Sc., 2011, Daejon, Korea). Since then, I worked as a research engineer in LG Electronics Advanced Research Institute (2011-2014, Seoul, Korea).

For my PhD research I am working in the field of social signal processing within the context of EU funded projects including the SQUIRREL and the TERESA at Human Media Interaction department at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Currently, I am interested in automatic speech emotion recognition, social engagement detection, and speaker adaptation using machine learning techniques.

Jeroen Linsen (MSc)

I am Jeroen Linssen, a PhD candidate working on interactive storytelling. Before joining the Human Media Interaction department, I completed both a Bachelor and a Master in Cognitive Artificial Intelligence at Utrecht University. What distinguished these from other Artificial Intelligence studies was their multidisciplinary nature: they brought together knowledge from four areas, namely computer science, psychology, linguistics and philosophy. I liked this approach to Artificial Intelligence as it enabled me to look at various systems and problems from different angles. Having completed my studies, I came upon an opportunity to combine my experience in both logic and serious games, namely by doing PhD research on intelligent characters for a serious game.

Andrea Minuto (MSc)

He earned Master's Degree in Computer Science cum laude (specialization in Systems) at Ca' Foscari, University of Venice (ITALY), with a thesis on multitouch tables. He worked at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), a research centre in Trento (ITALY), on persuasive technologies on augmented coffee tables for supporting conversations in museums (involving computer vision tracking and conversation modeling with rapid prototyping). His wide interests are related to different fields such as: arts, research and design. Among other topics: interaction and interface design, ubiquitous and ambient computing, computer vision, rapid prototyping. He is now part of a joint project between CTIT and ITC, called Building Illusions, developing pathfinding interfaces with smart materials. He is trying to create communication with users by means of the smart materials' properties.

Alejandro Moreno (MSc)

Alejandro Moreno is a PhD student in the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group. In 2011, he received a joint Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Saint Etienne, France and Gjovik University, Norway after winning a full scholarship from the European Union to enroll in the Erasmus Mundus Color in Informatics and Media Technologies (CIMET) master program. From 2007 to 2009, he worked at the Information Technologies Center (CTI-ESPOL) as a research assistant in the Human Computer Interaction group where he carried out research in the field of natural user interfaces using computer vision. His current research is aimed towards the automatic analysis of human social behavior and tries to bridge different fields such as computer vision, social signal processing and entertainment technologies. This information can be used in the automatic evaluation of social interactions or physical activity levels in interactive playgrounds, or given as feedback to the playground so it can react to specific events and change its mechanics to induce desired behavior.

Dong Nguyen (MSc)

Dong Nguyen is a PhD student at the University of Twente. She is interested in Natural Language Processing, Information Retrieval and Machine Learning, especially when applied on Social Media and/or informed by Social Sciences. She is particularly interested in using social media data to gain more insight into sociolinguistics and social science questions using methods from machine learning and language technologies. Dong received her M.Sc. in Language Technologies at Carnegie Mellon University and her B.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Twente. She has been involved in Dutch, European and US funded research projects, including FACT (Utwente/Meertens), SUPPORT (CMU), DesignWebs (CMU) and LTfLL (Utrecht University).

Mariët Theune (Dr.ir.)

My background is in the humanities; I received a Master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Utrecht in 1995. Given my interest in computational linguistics, I then moved on to work in the field of language technology at the Eindhoven University of Technology, where I received the PhD degree in 2000. My PhD research focused on automatic language generation in a spoken dialogue system. In 2001, I joined the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group at the University of Twente as a postdoctoral researcher, to work on the generation of both language and gestures for embodied conversational agents. In 2003, I received a personal research grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and was appointed assistant professor at HMI. The project funded by this grant, which ran from 2003 to 2007, was called ANGELICA: A Natural-language Generator for Embodied, Lifelike Conversational Agents.

Other NWO projects I have acquired are IMOGEN (together with Tilburg University, 2003-2007), which focused on multimodal output generation in the context of a question answering system, and FACT (together with the Meertens Institute, 2012-2016) on the automatic classification and clustering of Dutch folktales. In addition, since 2004 I have been coordinating the research on digital storytelling at HMI.

The courses I teach in the Master’s Human Media Interaction include Speech and Language Processing and Conversational Agents. I have supervised numerous MSc students and several PhD students.

Dolf Trieschnigg (Dr.ir.)

I am a postdoctoral researcher with the Human Media Interaction group of the University of Twente. I am interested in various areas of information retrieval and natural language processing.

After receiving my MSc degree in computer science from the University of Twente, I started my PhD project in the area of biomedical information retrieval. During my PhD project I worked at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge as a visiting researcher. In my PhD work I investigated how to incorporate domain knowledge into search engines for biomedical researchers. I adapted conventional models for cross-lingual information retrieval to effectively incorporate knowledge from concept thesauri in the retrieval process.

After receiving my PhD degree in 2010, I joined the Database Group of the University of Twente as a postdoctoral researcher, where I worked on distributed information retrieval. Since 2012, I have worked for the Meertens Insitute in Amsterdam and the Human Media Interaction group as part of the FACT (Folktales As Classifiable Text) project. In this project I am researching techniques to (semi) automatically assign metadata to Dutch folktales collected in the Dutch folktale database.

Jered Vroon (MSc)

My background is in Cognitive Artificial Intelligence, which I studied at the Radboud University Nijmegen. For my bachelor’s thesis I investigated a computer model of human/animal reinforcement learning in situations with non-deterministic rewards. During my master I investigated different paradigms (or architectures) that could be used to create (robotic) behaviour. In my master thesis, I introduced a formal computational method for comparing such algorithms and used that to proof their relative efficiency in different kinds of situations. Currently, I am a PhD student at the University of Twente, working on the Teresa project (2014-2017). Within this project, we are looking at situations where elderly are represented by a robot in a social interaction with their peers. The robot is then to semi-autonomously display social behaviours that will help it integrate in the interaction. My focus is on the detection and understanding of the behaviour of groups interacting with the robot. On the one end of the spectrum, this involves using techniques from computer vision / social signal processing to investigate and detect relevant social cues. On the other end, this is about finding out what kinds of behaviours people would prefer the robot to show in response to those cues.

Christian Willemse (MSc)

My name is Christian Willemse and I am working in the Human Media Interaction group as a PhD student on the topic of mediated social touch (started October 2013).

Prior to my PhD position, I obtained my Bachelor degree (2009) in Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology. Since I became particularly interested in the focus on the user during a design process, I chose to enroll in the Human Technology Interaction Master program (also at Eindhoven University of Technology), in which technology and psychology are intertwined. I obtained my Master’s degree in 2013 with a thesis on the perception of multimodal feedback in bimanual tangible interaction (carried out at TNO, Soesterberg). Besides studying in Eindhoven, I did exchange programs at the National University of Singapore (School of Design and Environment, 2007) and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden (KTH, Department of ICT, 2012).

Christina Zega (MSc)

I am working on engaging child-robot interaction in collaborative task. My goal is to design and evaluate social robot's engaging behaviors to be exhibited in a collaborative sorting task-based interaction with children.

Robby van Delden (MSc)

 I studied Industrial Design Engineering at the Univeristy of Twente. For my bachelor's thesis I worked on lecterns and software on touchscreens for presentations. Fitting my interests for new technology, I continued studying industrial design engineering in the master's track Emergent Technology Design in 2008. During this I followed several courses of the Human Media Interaction master. This soon resulted in also doing a second master's in Human Media Interaction in 2009. I started doing my PhD on movement synchrony in ambient interactive installations.

Khiet Truong (Dr.ir.)

My background lies in general linguistics and language and speech technology. I studied at Utrecht University and carried out my master's research at the Radboud University Nijmegen where I investigated automatic pronunciation error detection in second language learners' speech. From 2005-2009, I was employed at TNO Human Factors in Soesterberg, the Netherlands, where I worked towards my PhD on automatic emotion recognition in speech within the project MultimediaN. In 2009, I obtained my PhD in computer science from the University of Twente.