About Us

Welcome to the talking robots group!

We are a team of researchers at the DFKI Language Technology Lab involved in the development of intelligent systems for “talking robots”.

Our goal is to develop approaches that make it possible for robots to work with people, to get things done. In an office. In a hospital. In a disaster area. Now, that kind of collaboration needs communication – and, since dialogue is a very natural way for humans to communicate with others, the obvious question arises how we could make robots to talk. Sensibly.

The way we see it, making talking robots (or robots talking) is about much more than just words, expressions, utterances. It’s about how that talk sits and fits into the larger context of what the robot is doing together with others, where that is taking place, how it can be connected to what the robot knows about the world.

This kind of dialogue is situated (in the world), social (between the robot and other agents), and personal (based in the robot’s own experience and knowledge). These three aspects find themselves reflected in the research we do: Robust processing of spoken dialogue, its connection to spatiotemporal models of dynamic environments, long-term social interaction between robots and humans, and life-long learning.

Thereby we cover the entire range from fundamental research in cognitive systems, all the way to user-centric design of robots that are used in real-life environments.


Researchers (part-time and full-time)

Former members

  • Geert-Jan M. Kruijff (PL CogX, Coordinator NIFTi / Senior Researcher until April 2013; now at Nuance Communications)
  • Shanker Keshavdas (Researcher, PhD student, Jan 2010 – Feb 2014)
  • Benoit Larochelle (Software Engineer;  Jan 2010 – Dec 2013)
  • Heriberto Cuayahuitl (Senior Researcher, Jan 2010 – Oct 2012; now at Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh)
  • Marcela Charfuelán (Researcher)
  • Sergio Roa (Researcher, PhD student)
  • John D. Kelleher (Post-Doc, Oct 2004 – Sep 2005; now at DIT, Dublin)
  • Henrik Jacobsson (Post-Doc, Jul 2006 – Sep 2008; now at Google, Zurich)
  • Hendrik Zender (Senior Researcher, Jun 2005 – Jul 2012; now at Nuance Communications)
  • Marc Schroeder (Senior Researcher, until Jun 2012; now at Google, Mountain View)
  • Sathish Chandra Pammi (Researcher, PhD student, until Nov 2011; now at ParisTech)
  • Pierre Lison (RA/MSc student, 2006 – 2008, and PhD student, 2008 – Dec 2010; now PhD student at University of Oslo)
  • Maria Staudte (RA/MSc student, Oct 2004 – Sep 2006; PhD at Saarland University, now Post-Doc)
  • Sabrina Wilske (RA/MSc student, Sep 2004 – May 2006; now PhD student at Saarland University)
  • Raveesh Meena (RA/MSc student, Oct 2007 – Dec 2010; now PhD student at KTH, Stockholm)
  • Harmish Khambhaita (Researcher, PhD student, Jan 2010 – Oct 2011)
  • Abraham Gebru Tesfay (RA; from Dec 2013, until May 2015)
  • Mariona Coll Ardanuy
  • Frederik Arnold (RA; until Sep 2013)
  • Boris Kozlov
  • Ronny
  • Ira Tao (Yurong Tao)
  • Trevor Benjamin (RA, 2006 – 2008; now PhD student at University of Groningen)
  • Murali Ramasamy (RA, Nov 2005 – Sep 2006; now at Uni Marburg)
  • Dennis Stachowicz (RA/MSc student, 2008 – 2010)
  • Christopher Koppermann (RA, Sep 2009 – Jul 2010)
  • Kang Ji (RA, 2010 – 2011)
  • Eliza Margaretha (RA/MSc student 2010 – 2011)
  • Gerald Schoch (RA/MSc student 2011 – 2012
  • Todd Shore (RA, 2010 – 2011)
  • Olga Nikitina (RA, 2010 – 2011)
  • Weijia Shao (RA, Feb 2010 – Sep 2011)
  • Jan Hanzelka (RA)
  • Daniel Lovasko (RA)
  • Boris Fersing (RA)
  • Isha Khosla (RA)
  • Lisa Beinborn (BSc student, 2008)
  • Katja Ignatova (RA, Nov 2005 – Sep 2006)
  • Thomas Horf (RA, Oct 2004 – Mar 2006)