I am a Research Fellow in the Interaction Lab in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. Before this, I worked in the Robotics and Embedded Systems Group at the Technical University of Munich and in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.
My primary research interest is embodied communication. In particular, I am interested in designing, implementing, and evaluating practical systems supporting embodied interaction with human users, such as embodied conversational agents and multimodal and human-robot dialogue systems.
I am currently working mainly on JAMES, a European FP7 project that has the goal of developing a robot agent that is able to interact in a socially appropriate way in multi-party, situated interactions in a bartender domain. If you want, you can watch me describe the JAMES project at a recent demo event.
I have previously worked on the following projects:
- ECHOES (EPSRC/ESRC TEL; 2009-2012), which developed a technology-enhanced learning environment in which both typically developing children and children with Asperger's Syndrome could explore and improve their social interaction and collaboration skills.
- JAST (EU FP6; 2006-2009), which investigated the cognitive, neural, and communicative aspects of joint action.
- COMIC (EU FP5; 2002-2005), where we developed an embodied multimodal dialogue system.
Here are some recent publications:
- Ronald P. A. Petrick and Mary Ellen Foster. Planning for Social Interaction in a Robot Bartender Domain. In Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS 2013), Rome, June 2013. [ | ]
- Katerina Avramides, Sara Bernardini. Mary Ellen Foster, Christopher Frauenberger, Lila Kossyvaki, and Marilena Mademtzi. State-of-the-art in TEL to support social communication skill development in children with autism: A multi-disciplinary review. International Journal of Technology-Enhanced Learning, Vol. 4, Numbers 5/6, pages 359--372, 2012. doi:10.1504/IJTEL.2012.051819 [ | (unofficial preprint) ]
- Mary Ellen Foster, Andre Gaschler, Manuel Giuliani, Amy Isard, Maria Pateraki, and and Ronald P. A. Petrick. Two People Walk Into a Bar: Dynamic Multi-Party Social Interaction with a Robot Agent. In Proceedings of the 14th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2012), Santa Monica, October 2012. doi:10.1145/2388676.2388680. [ | ]
- Mary Ellen Foster and Jon Oberlander. User preferences can drive facial expressions: evaluating an embodied conversational agent in a recommender dialogue system. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, Vol. 20, Number 4, pages 341--381, October 2010. doi:10.1007/s11257-010-9080-6 [ | (unofficial preprint) ]
- Mary Ellen Foster, Katerina Avramides, Sara Bernardini, Jingying Chen, Christopher Frauenberger, Oliver Lemon, and Kaska Porayska-Pomsta. Supporting Children's Social Communication Skills through Interactive Narratives with Virtual Characters. In Proceedings of ACM Multimedia 2010, Florence, October 2010. doi:10.1145/1873951.1874163 [ | ]
Please see my full list of publications for more details.
Anyone wanting to stalk me can probably find out all they need from my Facebook, Academia.Edu, and LinkedIn profiles and my (largely defunct) blog, so I don't think I need to write much more here. For now, I'll just include a list of links to other interesting pages on the net, along with some older pages that I created a while ago and keep around for sentimental interest.
- Ron Petrick, my husband, currently working as a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Check out our wedding website!