Personal profile

Research interests

I work in the overlap of AI, graphics and robotics, with a focus on autonomous synthetic characters; this has led to interests in affective computing, interactive narrative and human-robot interaction. Underlying this is work on action-selection systems: the merging of AI planning with biologically-inspired low-level systems and emergent behaviours.


I moved into computing from a degree in Mathematical Economics and Econometrics when I went to work for the then international Computers Ltd in 1977. In 1980 I moved to the micro-computing lab of University of Sheffield, and in 1983 became an academic in Computing at the then Sheffield Polytechnic. I came to Scotland for the first time in 1989 when I worked for the University of Edinburgh AI Applications Institute as a Knowledge Engineer, and followed this with a move to Advanced Robotics Research Ltd in Salford as a Senior Software Engineer. In 1992 I became a lecturer in the University of Salford IT Institute, and in 1998 moved as a Senior Lecturer to Salford’s Centre for Virtual Environments, where I became a Professor in 2000. In 2004 I moved to Heriot-Watt as a Professor of Computer Science.

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Research Output 2005 2017

Do you think I approve of that? Designing facial expressions for a robot

McKenna, P. E., Lim, M. Y., Ghosh, A., Aylett, R., Broz, F. & Rajendran, G. 31 Aug 2017 Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Social Robotics. Springer, (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Evaluating Robot Facial Expressions

Aylett, R., Broz, F., Ghosh, A., McKenna, P. E., Rajendran, G., Foster, M. E., Roffo, G. & Vinciarelli, A. 15 Sep 2017 Proceedings of the 19th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI). ACM

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Radio frequency identification (RFID)

Linking Expressive Behavior and Intention for Robot-assisted Training for Adults with ASD

Broz, F., Lim, M. Y., Ghosh, A., Rajendran, G. & Aylett, R. 6 Mar 2017

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


A Treasure Hunt With An Empathic Virtual Tutor: (Demonstration)

Lim, M. Y., Deshmukh, A., Hastie, H., Chandrasekaran Janarthanam, S., Aylett, R. & Hall, L. 2016 Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems . ACM, p. 1477-1478 2 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Application programs

How Expressiveness of a Robotic Tutor is Perceived by Children in a Learning Environment

Deshmukh, A., Janarthanam, S., Hastie, H., Lim, M. Y., Aylett, R. & Castellano, G. 7 Mar 2016 11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interation. ACM, p. 423-424 2 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Facial expression