Tiago Ribeiro



Tiago Ribeiro is a senior research engineer and animation scientist at Soul Machines, where he develops and provides leadership on the autonomous animation technology that supports their Digital People. From 2011 to 2020 he worked as a research assistant and PhD student at GAIPS/INESC-ID and Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, where he graduated with a thesis titled Creating the Illusion of Life in Autonomous Social Robots. During that period he also collaborated internationally in EU research projects such as LIREC and EMOTE, and also with CMU and Yale, with a focus on multimodal expression in autonomous social robots, besides providing extensive technical development and support to MSc and PhD students at GAIPS. He has published papers at conferences such as the ACM HRI, SIGGRAPH, IVA and ICMI, contributed to book chapters on topics such as emotional modelling, social robot characterization, and of course, robot animation, besides also having worked on an interactive autonomous robotic installation for the NYC-based Gagosian Gallery.

Speaker Links: Website - LinkedIn - Twitter


Robot animation consists of all the processes that give a robot the ability of expressing identity, emotion and intention during autonomous interaction with human users. It sounds like such a definition can trivially result in a set of concrete guidelines on how to turn a robot into an animated character. However, in reality, creating autonomous characters that convey the Illusion of Life requires a strong synergy between design and engineering that can leverage the existing technology into new and engaging interactive applications. In this talk I will present and discuss how we used the Adelino robot in a fully autonomous musically-interactive application - featuring a floor piano! I will also provide insight into how Nutty Tracks was developed and been used to support this type of application. Additionally I will give a brief presentation about Soul Machines, the company where I currently work on, developing and delivering Digital People powered by AI-based autonomous animation that imitates human behaviour and emotions.

Papers covered during the talk

  • The Practice of Animation in Robotics. Tiago Ribeiro and Ana Paiva. Modelling Human Motion. 2020. Springer International Publishing. ISBN 978-3-030-46732-6. 2020.

  • ERIK: Expressive Inverse Kinematics Solving in Real-time for Virtual and Robotic Interactive Characters. Tiago Ribeiro and Ana Paiva. arXiv preprint arXiv:1909.13875. 2019.

  • The Illusion of Robotic Life: Principles and Practices of Animation for Robots. Tiago Ribeiro and Ana Paiva. The 7th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2012). Best paper nominee.

  • Nutty Tracks: Symbolic Animation Pipeline for Expressive Robotics. Tiago Ribeiro, Doug Dooley and Ana Paiva. ACM SIGGRAPH 2013 Posters. Student Competition Finalist. 2012.

  • Animating the Adelino Robot with ERIK: the Expressive Robotics Inverse Kinematics. Tiago Ribeiro and Ana Paiva. 19th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2017).