Sam Spaulding

Smarter Robots for Engaging Interactions


About Me

I am currently a Robot Skills Engineer at Jibo, Inc. on leave from my graduate studies with the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, where I was advised by Professor Cynthia Breazeal. My research broadly focuses on designing and programming robotic systems to create engaging and natural Human-Robot Interaction.

My work aims to advance A.I. and robotics through building intelligent systems that operate in the real world with all its complexity. In the wild, robots will have to interact closely with humans, so an important component of my research focuses on building robots that can interact naturally and comfortably with humans, one aim of the field of Social Robotics. I am particularly interested in applying these skills to the domains of Education and Entertainment, and work in the sub-field of Socially Assistive Robots to further these goals.

Before coming to MIT, I received a B.S. in Computer Science from Yale University. While there, I worked with Professor Brian Scassellati in the Yale Social Robotics Lab. and spent summers working at Amazon.com and at Disney Research with Senior Research Scientist Jonathan Yedidia.

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Recent News: (updated April 14, 2016)


4/12/16: I was invited to give a talk at Affectiva, Inc. on Affect-Aware Social Robot Tutors


3/5/16: I remotely moderated the 2016 HRI Pioneers Workshop Panel. Thanks to all the attendees and panel participants for their insightful questions and answers!


11/15/15: Paper Accepted! Affect-aware Student Models for Robot Tutors was accepted as a full paper at AAMAS 2016. Learning from The Wizard: Programming Social Interaction through Teleoperated Demonstrations was also accepted as an Extended Abstract.


11/15/15: Paper Accepted! Affective Personalization of a Social Robot Tutor for Children’s Second Language Skills was accepted as a full paper at AAAI 2016.



8/30/15: Paper Accepted! My extended abstract was accepted to the 2015 AAAI Fall Symposium on Artificial Intelligence for Human-Robot Interaction.



7/27/15: I have taken a leave of absence from the Media Lab PhD program to begin working full-time as a Robot Skills Engineer at Jibo, Inc! We're working to build the world's first social robot for the home, delivering unforgettable experiences through advanced Robotics and AI innovation



6/5/15: I have completed my Master's Thesis and was awarded an S.M. Degree in Media Arts & Sciences!



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