It is fun to get out of the house or office to work in a different place. Having meetings with students in town to discuss work or, like now, finding a desk in the university library and read and write from there. Today I found quite a nice spot with plenty to distract me from reading my email.
Utrecht University Library Art History
Browsing through some books.
My PhD student, Merel Jung, became a doctor today by successfully defending her PhD thesis, “Socially Intelligent Robots that Understand and Respond to Human Touch”. You can read more about her work in this article (in Dutch). Or by looking up her publications of course.
From the introduction: ”People express themselves through social signals in the form of verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Touch is one of the important nonverbal forms of social interaction as are visual cues such as facial expressions, gaze, body posture and air gestures . However, compared to vision and audition (as in vocal cues), interpersonal touch does not generally receive much research attention yet [40, 50]. Similarly, the touch modality is of- ten overlooked in human-computer interaction such as remote commu- nication and in interactions with embodied or virtual agents . As interactions with social robots are likely to become more common in the near future these robots are expected to engage in tactile interaction with humans . Therefore the aim of the research presented in this disserta- tion is to work towards socially intelligent robots that can understand and respond to human touch.”
We had the honour to have Mehdi Ammi and Karon MacLean to be on her committee.
My PhD student, Jeroen Linssen successfully defended his thesis on Meta Matters in Interactive Storytelling and Serious Games (A play on Worlds).
From the press release: In this dissertation, I investigate the use of storytelling techniques in the domains of interactive storytelling and serious gaming. The field of interactive storytelling attempts to create and analyse systems that allow users to influence the plots of stories. Serious games provide experiences not solely for entertainment; in this dissertation, I investigate serious games with educational purposes. In both domains, I inspect how both human users and virtual agents (artificial, autonomous entities) can perceive stories.
At the preconference of the Society for Affective Science in Boston I gave an invited talk in the session on Affective Computing. We had taken a few days extra to explore Boston a bit further. We loved it.
We spent about six hours in the Museum of Fine Arts and saw less than half what is on show. It is simply amazing. Luckily they have nice food as well.
Food in Boston MFA
It is crazy times again. Friday, my PhD student Robby van Delden brilliantly defends his thesis. Steering Interactive Play Behaviour. I have to miss the party afterwards driving to Hasselt where I will present a TED-x talk on Saturday. Returning home on Sunday to leave again for Paris on Monday for a project meeting.
On Robby’s thesis: “Play is a powerful means to have an impact on the cognitive, social-emotional, and/or motor skills development. With the introduction of technology new possibilities emerge to provide engaging and entertaining whole-body play activities. Technology mediates the play activities and in this way changes how people play. We can use this to design systems that encourage wanted types of behaviors with technology.”
Robby’s PhD Defense
On Friday, 24th Gijs Huisman defended his thesis on Social Touch Technology successfully at the University of Twente.
Excellent work. Proud of my former PhD student, now a young Doctor.
But also nice were the exhibitions in Tetem, de Twentse Welle and Rijksmuseum Twenthe.
In Tetem the AKI Electrique exhibition and the Hyper-Reality video from Kelichi Matsuda were fun and interesting to watch. Very enjoyable.
Besides the exhibition on well-known and less well-known Renaissance artists from Italy (Rafael, Titiaan, Tintoretto, Savoldo, Moroni…) with the lesser known ones being the most interesting in this case, the Rijksmuseum Twenthe also showed the magnificent exhibition of works by Silvia B.
Another meeting of the Dutch Touch “Association was held in December, kindly sponsored by the 3TU Center Humans and Technology. You can read more about the meeting at the 3TU website.
Together with Samer Al Moubayed, I chaired ICMI’s 2016 Doctoral Consortium with lots of interesting talks.
Our Tasty Bits and Bytes paper one the best paper award at ACE 2016.