Sensory Perception & Interaction Research Group

University of British Columbia

Bereket Guta

Bereket is an Engineering Physics student at UBC completing his last year of studies. He is interested in research that lies at the intersection of machine learning and robotics with applications to assistive technology. At SPIN, he is working as a part of the emotional modelling group under the supervision of Laura Cang and Rubia Guerra.

Devyani McLaren

Devyani is a PhD student with the SPiN lab. She completed her BSc from UBC, majoring in Cognitive Systems (COGS): Computational Intelligence and Design. During her undergraduate degree, she completed research in the Brain Behaviour Lab for robot-assisted rehabilitation for stroke patients. She hopes to combine her interests in Neuroscience and HCI at SPiN. She is currently focussing on the customization of haptic emotional support robots.

Rubia Guerra

Preeti Vyas

Preeti's research interests include Affective Haptics, Emotion Regulation, and Co-regulation. She is motivated to work at the intersection of psychology, affective haptics, and social robotics. She completed her master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University working at Shared Reality Lab, supervised by Prof. Jeremy Cooperstock. Apart from research she writes poetry, hosts and organizes open mic events, and creates doodles.


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Merel Jung

Merel Jung is a PhD student in the Human Media Interaction group at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and was a visiting research student at the UBC SPIN lab for 2 months in 2015. She is working on the detection, classification and interpretation of touch in social interaction between humans and artifacts such as robots. The final goal is to work towards a reliable automatic understanding of social touch to make computers behave socially intelligent. Her background is in psychology she received both her bachelor's degree (2010) and master's degree (2012, Cum laude) at the department of Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics at the University of Twente, The Netherlands.

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Paul Bucci

Paul studies emotional interaction with robots. He holds a BA in Visual Arts, and both a BSc and MSc in Computer Science.

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Jeff Allen

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Laura Cang

Laura's interest in social robotics and touch interaction brought her to the SPIN lab to build the touch recognition engine of a touch-sensitive robots designed for therapeutic use, aka the CuddleBot and family of CuddleBits.  Her PhD project builds on this earlier focus - developing machine recognition and interpretation of social touch behaviour - and has evolved to feature emotion modelling and recognition of emotion transition in genuine and spontaneous emotion experiences. Laura is collaborating with Meta Reality Labs investigating machine mediated touch for communicating haptic messages.

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Peter Beshai

Peter graced our lab for several months, before being lured to the National Basketball Association to design cool sports visualizations.

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