Barbara Bruno



Barbara Bruno is a post-doc researcher at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the CHILI lab. Barbara received the M.Sc. and the Ph.D. in Robotics from the University of Genoa in 2011 and 2015, respectively. She is part of the NCCR Robotics organisation and currently involved in the EU ITN ANIMATAS. In 2017-2019 she was Technical Manager of the H2020 project CARESSES, aiming at endowing assistive robots with cultural competence. She has published more than 40 articles in international journals and peer-reviewed international conferences. Her research interests are in Social Robotics and Human–Robot Interaction and Cooperation.

Speaker Links: Website - Google Scholar


What do culture-aware robotics and a minefield have in common? In both cases, you have to watch your steps very closely. In this talk, I will first recall why and how I entered the minefield of designing culture-aware robots, i.e., robots able to model and rely on culture-related knowledge in their interactions with humans. This field offers peculiar challenges for research (including the intriguing problem of defining what a culturally-unaware robot is), which I will discuss alongside the solutions we have come up with and the findings of our experiments. Concretely, in this talk we will explore how existing quantitative and qualitative methods for the assessment of culture, and cultural differences, can be combined with knowledge representation and reasoning tools such as ontologies and fuzzy controllers to endow robots with the capability of taking cultural factors into account in a range of tasks going from low-level motion planning to high-level dialogue management and user adaptation.

Papers covered during the talk

  • Bruno, B., Recchiuto, C. T., Papadopoulos, I., Saffiotti, A., Koulouglioti, C., Menicatti, R., … & Sgorbissa, A. (2019). Knowledge representation for culturally competent personal robots: requirements, design principles, implementation, and assessment. International Journal of Social Robotics, 11(3), 515-538 link

  • Bruno, B., Mastrogiovanni, F., Pecora, F., Sgorbissa, A., & Saffiotti, A. (2017, July). A framework for culture-aware robots based on fuzzy logic. In 2017 IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems (FUZZ-IEEE) (pp. 1-6). IEEE. link