Dr Mary Ellen Foster

Senior Lecturer in Human-Robot Interaction
School of Computing Science
University of Glasgow


I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. My primary research interests are human-robot interaction, social robotics, and embodied conversational agents. I am a member of the Glasgow Interactive Systems Group (GIST) and the Glasgow Social AI Group.

My main research goal is to build artificial characters---mainly robots---that people can interact with using natural, face-to-face conversation (yes, like C-3PO and R2-D2). Supporting this sort of interaction means that a robot must be able both to produce a wide range of appropriate social signals (speech, facial expressions, body language, gestures) and to understand the social signals produced by its conversational partners. To make this possible, we must (1) observe the signals used by humans in a range of situations, (2) build models of those behaviours that can be used by a robot for both input processing and output generation, and then (3) test how well the models perform when the robot must interact with humans.