Speakers

Guy hoffman

Dr. Guy Hoffman is Associate Professor and the Mills Family Faculty Fellow in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. Prior to that he was Assistant Professor at IDC Herzliya and co-director of the IDC Media Innovation Lab. Hoffman holds a Ph.D from MIT in the field of human-robot interaction. He heads the Human-Robot Collaboration and Companionship (HRC2) group, studying the algorithms, interaction patterns, and designs enabling the co-existence of people and personal robots in the workplace and at home. Among others, Hoffman developed the world’s first human-robot joint theater performance, and the first real-time improvising human-robot Jazz duet. His research papers won several top academic awards, including Best Paper awards at HRI and robotics conferences in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2019. In both 2010 and 2012, he was selected as one of Israel’s most promising researchers under forty. His TEDx talk is one of the most viewed online talks on robotics, watched more than 3 million times. Hoffman received his M.Sc. in Computer Science from Tel Aviv University as part of the Adi Lautman interdisciplinary excellence scholarship program.


natalie sebanz

Natalie Sebanz is a Professor in Cognitive Science at Central European University. Her research interests revolve around the cognitive and neural basis of social interaction, with a special focus on how we coordinate our actions with others. Currently her main interest is how we learn by participating in joint actions and by observing others acting together (funded by an ERC Consolidator grant). Having obtained her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich, she has held appointments at Rutgers University (US), the University of Birmingham (UK), and Radboud University (NL). Natalie is a recipient of the European Science Foundation`s Young Investigator Award and the Young Mind and Brain Prize.

benoit bardy

Benoît Bardy is Professor at the University of Montpellier in France, member of the Institut Universitaire de France, and the founder of EuroMov, a multidisciplinary research and innovation centre at the crossover between Movement, Health, and Digital Sciences. His research focuses on synchronization — between human and artificial agents, between biological systems, and between the senses — and on related technology-oriented solutions for health and wellness. Benoît has coordinated several European, national, and regional initiatives, and he is an expert for the European Commission and the private sector.

dagmar sternad

Dagmar Sternad is University Distinguished Professor in Biology, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at Northeastern University. She received her BS and MS in Movement Science and Linguistics from the Technical University and Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and her PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Connecticut. From 1995 until 2008, she was Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in Integrated Biosciences. Since 2008, she holds an interdisciplinary appointment as full professor in the departments of Biology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Physics at Northeastern University in Boston. In 2018 she was promoted to University Distinguished Professor. She is also executive member of the Institute of Experiential Robotics and member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Complex Systems at Northeastern.

Her research is documented in over peer-reviewed 200 publications in high-impact journals, conference papers, book chapters, and several books. She has had editorial appointments in several scientific journals and was regular member of an NIH study section and two times elected member of the Executive Board of the Society for Neural Control of Movement. Her research has been continuously supported by the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, American Heart Association, Office of Naval Research, and others. She was recently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to spend one semester in Rome, Italy.

malte jung

Malte Jung is the Associate Professor in Information Science at Cornell University and the Nancy H. ’62 and Philip M. ’62 Young Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow. His research seeks to build understanding about interpersonal dynamics in groups and teams and how those can be shaped by machines. He lead the Robots in Groups Lab, which focuses on design and behavioral aspects of human-robot interaction in group and team settings.

amy laviers

Amy LaViers is director of the Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab. She is a recipient of a 2015 DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA) and 2017 Director’s Fellowship. Her teaching has been recognized on UIUC’s list of Teachers Ranked as Excellent By Their Students, with Outstanding distinction. Her choreography has been presented internationally, including at Merce Cunningham’s studios, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, the Ferst Center for the Arts, and the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology. She is a co-founder of three startup companies: AE Machines, an award-winning automation software company; caali, an embodied media company; and, Soma Measure, Inc, a wearable-enabled home fitness company. Previously, she held positions as an assistant professor in mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and in systems and information engineering at the University of Virginia. She completed a two-year Certification in Movement Analysis (CMA) in 2016 at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (LIMS) and her Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech with a dissertation that included a live performance exploring stylized motion. Her career began with her award-winning undergraduate thesis at Princeton University where she earned a certificate in dance and a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

yanan li

Dr Yanan Li is a Senior Lecturer in Control Engineering with the Department of Engineering and Design, University of Sussex, UK. From 2015 to 2017, he was a Research Associate with the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, UK. From 2013 to 2015, he was a Research Scientist with the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. He received the BEng and MEng degrees from the Harbin Institute of Technology, China, in 2006 and 2008, respectively, and the PhD degree from the National University of Singapore, in 2013. His general research interests include human-robot interaction, assistive robotics, human motor control and control theory and applications.

alexandra battaglia-mayer

Alexandra Battaglia-Mayer is Full Professor of Physiology, at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology of University of Rome, SAPIENZA. She gained her PhD in Behavioural Neurophysiology at University of Rome, SAPIENZA (2000), after obtaining her Laurea Degree in Mathematics at the same University. She worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Brain Science Center, University of Minnesota, with Prof. A. Georgopoulos, focusing on the neural bases of higher order motor functions in the macaque monkeys.

Using combination of behavioral, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical methods her research aims at understanding the cognitive-motor function of the parietal and frontal cortex. Her interest has been focused on the neurobiological basis of cortical control of movement, with particular emphasis on the neural mechanisms of eye-hand coordination, on-line control of movement, and specification of the dynamic force underlying hand-object interaction.

More recently her research interests has ​been extended to​​ ​social cognition, through the study of ​the neural basis of motor coordination during different forms of ​joint-action​ between interacting agents.



atsushi takagi

Atsushi Takagi received his MSci in Physics from Imperial College in 2011. He received his PhD in 2016 on the "Mechanism of interpersonal sensorimotor interaction", which examined how pairs, like during Tango dancing, coordinate their actions. He uncovered the mechanism that enables physically interacting partners to exchange certain information through through haptics (or forces at the hand). This mechanism can be implemented as a robotic partner to physically assist humans as human partners do.


Atsushi joined WRHI in 2017, and is recently interested in how humans interact with their environment using handheld tools, from learning to carve wood to baseball batting.



Cristina Becchio

Cristina Becchio is Senior Scientist and Leader of the Cognition, Motion and Neuroscience Lab at the Italian Institute of Technology. She studied philosophy and cognitive neuroscience. After receiving a M.Sc. degree in Philosophy from the University of Turin in 2000, in 2001 she joined a PhD in Cognitive Science. In 2004 she moved on to a post-doctoral work on cognitive neuroscience and has since then been working on motor cognition.

She worked at University of Turin in the role of Associate Professor (2013-2015) and Full Professor (2015-2020). In 2020 she was appointed Coordinator of the Center for Human Technologies at the Italian Institute of Technology.

Her research focuses on the control and perception of body motion during human social interaction, in typical and atypical populations. In this field, she was awarded an ERC Consolidator grant (2013-2018), followed up by an ERC Proof-of-Concept grant (2018-2020).


MARTin Clayton

Martin Clayton is Professor in Ethnomusicology in Durham University. He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, where he obtained degrees in Music and Hindi (BA, 1988) and Ethnomusicology (PhD, 1993). His research interests include Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, rhythmic analysis, musical entrainment and embodiment, and computational ethnomusicology. His publications include the books Time in Indian Music (OUP 2000), The Cultural Study of Music (Routledge 2003/2012), and Experience and Meaning in Music Performance (OUP 2013).



Emily Cross

Emily holds joint appointments as a Professor of Social Robotics at the University of Glasgow’s Institute for Neuroscience and Psychology in Scotland and a Professor of Human Neuroscience at Macquarie University’s Department of Cognitive Science in Australia. As the director of the Social Brain in Action Laboratory, she combines interactive learning paradigms and fMRI with dance, acrobatics and robots to explore how embodied experience and learning shape how we perceive and interact with other social agents. Emily completed a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College in the USA, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Nottingham (UK) and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (DE). She has also held faculty appointments at Radboud University Nijmegen (NL) and Bangor University (Wales). Her work has been funded by a number of national and international organisations, including the European Research Council, National Institutes of Health, Economic and Social Research Council, Ministry of Defence, Fulbright Commission, and Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

tariq iqbal

Tariq Iqbal is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia (UVA). Prior to joining UVA, he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in CS from the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Iqbal leads the Collaborative Robotics Lab (CRL) at UVA, which focuses on building robotic systems that work alongside people in complex human environments, such as factories, hospitals, and educational settings.