Sam Spaulding

Data-driven Computational Models of Interaction

I am a Ph.D. student in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, advised by Professor Cynthia Breazeal. My research broadly focuses on designing, programming, and evaluating robotic systems to create engaging and natural Human-Robot Interaction.

My work aims to advance AI and Robotics by building intelligent systems that can successfully interact with others to achieve goals in the real world. In addition to other robots and intelligent agents, real world robots are increasingly interacting closely and in-person with humans, so an important component of my research focuses on building robots that can interact flexibly and fluently with humans, with particular emphases on designing social robots that can construct models of other agents from multimodal data, take actions based on these models, and reason about and refine its actions and the models of the interaction partner(s). I believe that AI and Robotics are transformative technologies and have a special passion for finding creative and impactful applications for these fields (especially in Education and Art)

From 2015-2017, I worked at Jibo Inc. on the Robot Skills and Character AI teams, helping to develop the world’s first social robot for the home. 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 and at Disney Research with Senior Research Scientist Jonathan Yedidia.


July 11, 2019

I spoke (by video) on a panel at the Children's Media Conference in Sheffield, UK!

June 21, 2019

Paper Accepted! Frustratingly Easy Personalization for Real-time Affect Interpretation of Facial Expression' was accepted for poster presentation at ACII 2019. See you in Cambridge!

April 4, 2019

I was invited to speak at EmTech Caribbean about how social robots can be used as a tool to aid human social and cognitive development. Thanks to the organizers and other speakers for hosting a great event!

... see all News