Current projects

Service robots in stores: A next step towards personalisation

Together with Hogeschool van Amsterdam and TMO Fashion Business School, we explore the use of social robots for offering personalised services to retail customers. We focus on the motivations of customers to use robots in a store and how user needs can be translated in design guidelines for robot-customer interaction.

Contact: Koen Hindriks

Acting like a robot

This project demonstrates and puts into practice the potential of collaborations between theatre and social robotics. We aim to demonstrate the value of expertise and knowledge from theatre for the development of human-robot interaction, in collaboration with Utrecht University, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht and the Ulrike Quade Company. Read more...

Contact: Koen Hindriks

Social Interaction Cloud

This project develops the Social Interaction Cloud (SIC), which provides a range of services for engineering more natural, social style interaction for applications with smart devices and other interactive technology such as social robots. SIC aims to support multi-modal situated interaction (e.g. conversational interfaces) and seamless cross-device interaction. Read more...

Contact: Koen Hindriks

Improving Childhood Cancer Care when Parents Cannot be There

This project, in collaboration with CWI, Prinses Maxima Centrum, and TU Delft, advances human-robot interaction design and machine learning to provide children with a humanoid robot companion that is capable of being there when humans cannot and that can address a child’s distress and fear to minimize medical traumatic stress.

Contact: Koen Hindriks

Designing a multimodal speech processing pipeline for social humanoid robots

The aim is to develop a cloud architecture for a multimodal speech processing pipeline that optimizes speech recognition for social humanoid robots such as Cruzr, Pepper, or Sanbot. The idea is to design a speech processing pipeline that runs ‘in the cloud’ to improve voice-based robot-user interaction.

Contact: Koen Hindriks

Smooth Operators

In the Smooth Operator project conversational AI is developed, evaluated, and tested in real-life customer service settings resulting in the experience of AI as cooperative communication partner by both service employees and customers. Read more...

Contact: Florian Kunneman


The BETTER-MODS project is aimed at developing a tool that assembles different perspectives manifested in online discussions from and presents them insightfully with the most constructive posts per viewpoint. Read more...

Contact: Florian Kunneman

Evidence in Actie

Guideline development in healthcare is currently lacking a complete perspective from professionals, patients and the general public. In this project, a collaboration between the VU Athena center, VU Social AI and the RIVM, qualitative approaches are combined with novel text mining approaches to find the most valuable viewpoints from a diverse selection of user fora.

Contact: Florian Kunneman

Data-inspired Creativity

Online and offline media consumption generate lots of data, which can give the media sector insights into latent needs of a fragmented public. This project investigates how such data can support the development of new media formats in the innovation process within the rapidly changing media industry. Read more...

Contact: Florian Kunneman

Conversational Agents and User Involvement during Software Evolution

This project is aimed at developing conversational agents for ensuring the actionability of user feedback about software applications and to elicit software-related ethical requirements and concerns.

Contact: Florian Kunneman

Integrating sentiment analysis in real time crowd management

Within this project we develop a computer system capable of managing crowds during events by combining automated emotion recognition and dynamical modelling of deviant behavior. By training crowd managers through simulated scenarios and by providing real time support we’ll enable them to intervene in the right place at the right time.

Contact: Charlotte Gerritsen

Dark side of the digital world

The main focus of this research is to address two negative behaviors, i.e. aggression and narcissism. These behaviors are modeled and simulated from interdisciplinary literature. They are analyzed and predicted by data extracted from social media to provide support to the affected. This research can be used in a variety of disciplines related to personality assessment or designing support systems.

Contact: Charlotte Gerritsen


PROMISS is an EU project that aims at conducting research on prevention of malnutrition among older persons living at home. Innovative technology for measuring food intake and realizing a change in human eating behaviour is developed, consisting of a tablet-based food intake diary, and sensor-foodbox, and serious gaming elements. Read more...

Contact: Michel Klein


Humane-AI-net is taking up the challenge to develop robust, trustworthy AI systems capable of what could be described as “understanding” humans, adapting to complex real-world environments, and appropriately interacting in complex social settings. Read more...

Contact: Koen Hindriks, Michel Klein


In the project ‘self-compassion training’ we’ve developed a website where young adults can follow an individual training. With different exercises and diaries, participants learn more about practicing self-compassion. Gamification is added to make the intervention more engaging. Being more self-compassionate helps to be more resilient against personal insecurities. Read more...

Contact: Laura van der Lubbe

IoT for Health

The aim of the IoT for Health project is to develop a generic framework that can be used for influencing human health behaviour using the Internet-of-Things devices, such as small and cheap sensors, wearable devices and mobile phone. The current focus is on breaking sedentary behavior of office workers.

Contact: Bojan Simoski


A research project financed by the Dutch Heart Foundation and ZonMw which aims at sustainable prevention of cardiometabolic risks through nudging health behaviours. Within the project, the Social-AI group is working on stimulating walking behavior via an app that provides real-time and context-specific feedback and nudges. Read more...

Contact: Michel Klein

Hybrid Intelligence: Enabling co-regulation for long-term engaging semi-structured conversations

A key challenge in human-machine dialogues is to provide more flexibility to a user and allow the user to co-regulate a conversation (instead of being directed by the agent’s conversation script or flow). We will develop a conversational agent that can better cope with deviations from the conventional sequences in structured question-and-answer or instructional dialogues. Read more...

Contact: Koen Hindriks

Previous projects


IMPACT is aimed at analysing the different cultural behaviours for the prevention of emergencies and for the management of emergency events and post-events. This will help improve disasters' policies and practices by taking into consideration socio-cultural and personal peculiarities, thus enhancing the overall security and resilience of European cities.

Mind Model of Traumatised People

In this project, a computational model is presented to simulate emotional response of people after traumatising events, including their development, recovery, and the effect of group support. The model is built upon mechanisms known from cognitive and social neuroscience. Using the model, several scenarios were explored, considering both individual and groups of people.

Extracting Emotions from Voice Signals

We have developed an adaptable system that processes human voice and returns a set of emotions and their intensity levels. The system can be easily plugged in into Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) or other interactive systems to enrich user experience.

Refusal Assertiveness Training Against Doorstep Scams

Doorstep scams are scams in which a con artist has a convincing, but fraudulent, story with the purpose of coming into your house and/or stealing money. Within this project, we are creating a tablet application that can be used to train how to verbally act in such situations. The users both learn what to say, and how to say it, in various scenarios.

Virtual Aggression de-escalation Training for Public Transport employees

For years, aggression and violence in public transport has been a problem. Due to incidents, public transport employees feel less safe and may even develop post-traumatic stress complaints. For this project, a prototype of a virtual reality aggression de-escalation training application will be developed. The prototype makes use of believable virtual agents that interact with the human user through text or speech.