Designing Emotionally-Intelligent Agents that Move, Express, and Feel Like Us!

Speaker: Aniket Bera

Headshot of speaker Aniket Bera


Location: 122 Gates Hall

Time: 2:40 p.m.-3:30 p.m.


Human behavior modeling is vital for many virtual/augmented reality systems as well as human-robot interactions. As the world increasingly uses digital and virtual platforms for everyday communication and interactions, there is a heightened need to create human-like virtual avatars and agents endowed with social and emotional intelligence. Interactions between humans and virtual agents are being used in different areas including, VR, games and story-telling, computer-aided design, social robotics, and healthcare. At the same time, recent advances in robotic perception technologies are gradually enabling humans and human-like robots to co-exist, co-work, and share spaces in different environments. Knowing the perceived affective states and social-psychological constructs (such as behavior, emotions, psychology, motivations, and beliefs) of humans in such scenarios allows the agents (virtual humans or social robots) to make more informed decisions and interact in a socially intelligent manner.

In this talk, I will give an overview of our recent work on simulating intelligent, interactive, and immersive human-like agents who can also learn, understand and be sentient to the world around them using a combination of emotive gestures, gaits, and expressions. Finally, I will also talk about our many ongoing projects which use our AI-driven IVAs, including intelligent digital humans for urban simulation, crowd simulation, mental health and therapy applications, and social robotics.


About the speaker:

Aniket Bera is an Assistant Research Professor at the Department of Computer Science. His core research interests are in Affective Computing, Computer Graphics (AR/VR, Augmented Intelligence, Multi-Agent Simulation), Autonomous Agents, Cognitive modeling, and planning for intelligent characters. His work has won multiple best paper awards at top VR/AR conferences. He has previously worked in many research labs, including Disney Research and Intel Labs. Aniket’s research has been featured on CBS, WIRED, Forbes, FastCompany, etc. Find out more about Aniket here: