Karen Tatarian

Synthesis of Multi-Modal Socially Intelligent Human-Robot Interaction


Hi my name is Karen Tatarian. It is my endless curiosity and passion for exploration that lead me on so many adventures to finally be part of the ANIMATAS Project. I received my bachelor’s degree in Physics in 2016 followed by my master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a special focus on robotics and control, in 2018 at AUB – the American University of Beirut.

During the past two years, I got to work on four different projects in four different countries. From being part of the project management team of the construction of 430 villas in Abu Dhabi, UAE to participating in the second edition of RobotCraft, Robotic Craftsmanship International Academy in Coimbra, Portugal. In the latter, I got the chance to build my own robot from scratch to compete in two competitions and I ranked in the top 5 interns out of 84. Furthermore, I participated in the launching of the EL-STEM Erasmus Project aiming at integrating new technologies in classrooms across Europe. Finally, I was a visiting researcher at Aston University in Birmingham, England, where I worked on developing a low-cost internet-connected myoelectric hand, offering a high degree of functionality through electromyographic (EMG) signals.

Today, I am a Robotics Researcher at SoftBank Robotics Europe and a doctoral student at Sorbonne University, campus University Pierre et Marie Curie, with a vision of having my model of the implementation of Social Intelligence integrated as part of Pepper. I strongly believe in the motto “be the change that you want to see in the world” and I try everyday to achieve that.

Main host institution

Softbank Robotics (SBR)


Amit Pandey (SBR), in association with Catherine Pelachaud, Mohamed Chetouani (SU) and Ana Paiva (INESC-ID)

Second institution

Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores - Investigação e Desenvolvimento (INESC-ID);Sorbonne Université (SU); Üppsala Universitet (UU)


For natural human robot interaction, multi-modality of communication is very important, which includes animation of gesture, micro motions, eye blinking, movement, etc. Further the need of being socially intelligent adds the dimension of generating high-level interaction behaviours, which includes being active listener as well and incorporate the notions of turn giving and taking, perspective taking, etc. And all these should be harmonized with situated dialog instantiation by the robot. Hence, there is a great need of investigation at the cross section of Animation, Robotics and Human Behavioural Psychology, to come up with a coherent functional and theoretical framework for Socially Intelligent Human Robot Interaction, which will be the main focus of this ESR project.

Expected results

Completed PhD dissertation, development of Proof of concept interaction system, scientific publications in international journal and conference