Ongoing Projects

Mental models in collaborative interactive reinforcement learning


This project is part of the Research Cluster CINEMENTAS (“Collaborative Intelligence Based on Mental Models of Assistive Systems”) funded by Honda Research Institute Europe. We investigate the role of mental models for interactive reinforcement learning, according to which learning is seen as a  dynamic collaborative process in which the trainer and learner together trying to figure […]


Development of iconic gesture-speech integration in preschool children (EcoGest); ?>

This projects aims to provide a detailed account of the development of iconic gesturing and its integration with speech in different communicative genres. We will study pre-school children at 4 to 5 years of age to investigate their speech-accompanying iconic gesture use and to develop a computational cognitive model of their development. We apply qualitative and […]


KOMPASS: Socially cooperative daily companions for people that need cognitive support; ?>

KOMPASS develops a virtual assistant to support people with special needs in everyday situations, e.g. keeping daily schedules or using video communication. The focus is robust and intuitive dialogue through a better understanding of and adaptation to the mental and emotional states of the user.


Child-Robot Communication and Collaboration (BabyRobot); ?>

BabyRobot aims to develop robots that can support the development of socio-affective, communication and collaboration skills in both typically developing and autistic spectrum children. The goal of the project is to enable robots to share attention, establish common ground and form joint goals with children. We will contribute research on nonverbal gesture-based interaction in relation to shared attention, interpersonal alignment and grounding. Specifically, we develop modules for recognition and synthesis of expressive social signals and gestures on social robot platforms.


Second Language Tutoring Using Social Robots (L2TOR); ?>

L2TOR (pronounced ‘el tutor’) aims to design a child-friendly tutor robot that can be used to support teaching preschool children a second language (L2) by interacting with children in their social and referential world. The project will focus on teaching English to native speakers of Dutch, German and Turkish, and teaching Dutch and German as L2 to immigrant children. We contribute research on interaction management tasks based on decision-theoretic dialogue modeling, probabilistic mental state attribution and incremental grounding.


Social Motorics; ?>

Social Motorics


This projects explores the role of perceptual and motor processes in live social interaction. We are developing a probabilistic model of how prediction-based action observation and mentalizing (i.e. theory of mind) contribute and work together during dynamically unfolding gestural interactions.

Underlying mechanisms of the sense of agency (SoA)


This project investigates the underlying mechanisms of the sense of agency, i.e. the sense that one is in control of their actions and the consequences of these actions. We employ behavioral methodologies established in both physical and virtual reality environments, and also examine how sense of ownership and sense of agency alter in joint actions with robots and virtual agents.


Gestural meta-communication: modifying functions of hand gesture (MetaGest); ?>

Meta-communication is an integral part of natural conversations among humans. Speakers add (indirect) cues to the semantic meaning of their utterances. One particularly interesting phenomenon of meta-communication is (pragmatic) modification, when humans apply non-verbal signals such as gestures and body language in order to classify the semantic content of their utterances for the listener.


Intelligent Coaching Space (ICSPACE); ?>

ICSPACE explores how to use Virtual Reality (VR) to provide intelligent coaching for sports training, motor skill learning, or physical rehabilitation. We develop a closed-loop intelligent coaching environment that enables online support through multi-modal, multi-sensory feedback delivered by augmented virtual mirrors or action-oriented natural language of a virtual coach.


FlüGe – Opportunities and challenges of global refugee migration for health care in Germany; ?>

The project “FlüGe” studies the health of refugees and aims to overcome barriers that keep refugees from using health care services. We contribute by developing and implementing an eHealth companion app for refugees to navigate the German health care system and to enable easier monitoring of health.