Wafa Johal

DECRA Fellow 2021-2024
Lecturer

Dr Wafa Johal is Lecturer at the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales. Previously, Wafa was a researcher at the CHILI Lab and Mobots Group at EPFL. She holds a PhD in Computer Sciences from the University of Grenoble Alps. Her research aims at creating acceptable and useful assistive robot interactions using social signal sensing, affective and cognitive reasoning and natural expressivity. Her latest work has investigated the use of tangible robots in education and rehabiliation.

For more on her research visit http://wafa.johal.org/

Journal articles
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Asselborn T; Johal W; Tleubayev B; Zhexenova Z; Dillenbourg P; McBride C; Sandygulova A, 2021, 'The transferability of handwriting skills: from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet', NPJ SCIENCE OF LEARNING, vol. 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41539-021-00084-w
2021
Gargot T; Asselborn T; Zammouri I; Brunelle J; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; Archambault D; Chetouani M; Cohen D; Anzalone SM, 2021, '“It Is Not the Robot Who Learns, It Is Me.” Treating Severe Dysgraphia Using Child–Robot Interaction', Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.596055
2021
Guneysu Ozgur A; Özgür A; Asselborn T; Johal W; Yadollahi E; Bruno B; Skweres M; Dillenbourg P, 2020, 'Iterative Design and Evaluation of a Tangible Robot-Assisted Handwriting Activity for Special Education', Frontiers in Robotics and AI, vol. 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2020.00029
2020
Zhexenova Z; Amirova A; Abdikarimova M; Kudaibergenov K; Baimakhan N; Tleubayev B; Asselborn T; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; CohenMiller A; Sandygulova A, 2020, 'A Comparison of Social Robot to Tablet and Teacher in a New Script Learning Context', Frontiers in Robotics and AI, vol. 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2020.00099
2020
Guneysu Ozgur A; Wessel MJ; Olsen JK; Johal W; Ozgur A; Hummel FC; Dillenbourg P, 2020, 'Gamified Motor Training With Tangible Robots in Older Adults: A Feasibility Study and Comparison With the Young', Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, vol. 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2020.00059
2020
Gargot T; Asselborn T; Pellerin H; Zammouri I; Anzalone SM; Casteran L; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; Cohen D; Jolly C, 2020, 'Acquisition of handwriting in children with and without dysgraphia: A computational approach', PLoS ONE, vol. 15, pp. e0237575, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237575
2020
Gargot T; Archambault D; Chetouani M; Cohen D; Johal W; Anzalone SM, 2020, 'P.114 Automatic assessment of motors impairments in autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review', European Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 40, pp. S71 - S72, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2020.09.096
2020
Johal W, 2020, 'Research Trends in Social Robots for Learning', Current Robotics Reports, vol. 1, pp. 75 - 83, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43154-020-00008-3
2020
Zolna K; Asselborn T; Jolly C; Casteran L; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; others , 2019, 'The Dynamics of Handwriting Improves the Automated Diagnosis of Dysgraphia', arXiv preprint arXiv:1906.07576
2019
Asselborn T; Gargot T; Kidziński L; Johal W; Cohen D; Jolly C; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Reply: Limitations in the creation of an automatic diagnosis tool for dysgraphia', npj Digital Medicine, vol. 2, pp. 37 - 37
2019
Asselborn T; Sharma K; Johal W; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Bridging Multilevel Time Scales in HRI: An Analysis Framework', ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI), vol. 8, pp. 17 - 17
2019
Pellier D; Adam C; Johal W; Fiorino H; Pesty S, 2018, 'Une architecture cognitive et affective orientée interaction', arXiv preprint arXiv:1810.10909
2018
Asselborn T; Gargot T; Kidziński L; Johal W; Cohen D; Jolly C; Dillenbourg P, 2018, 'Automated human-level diagnosis of dysgraphia using a consumer tablet', npj Digital Medicine, vol. 1, pp. 42 - 42
2018
Mondada F; Bonnet E; Davrajh S; Johal W; Stopforth R, 2016, 'R2T2: Robotics to integrate educational efforts in South Africa and Europe', International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, vol. 13, pp. 1729881416658165 - 1729881416658165
2016
Jacq A; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; Paiva A, 2016, 'Cognitive architecture for mutual modelling', arXiv preprint arXiv:1602.06703
2016
Vaufreydaz D; Johal W; Combe C, 2016, 'Starting engagement detection towards a companion robot using multimodal features', Robotics and Autonomous Systems, vol. 75, pp. 4 - 16
2016
Mondada F; Bonnet E; Davrajh S; Johal W; Stopforth R, 2016, 'R2T2: Robotics to integrate educational efforts in South Africa and Europe', International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, vol. 13, pp. 1 - 13, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1729881416658165
2016
Johal W; Pesty S; Calvary G, 2014, 'Des Styles pour une Personnalisation de l’Interaction Homme-Robot',
2014
Conference Papers
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Johal W; Bruno B; Olsen JK; Chetouani M; Lemaignan S; Sandygulova A, 2021, 'Robots for learning - Learner-centred design', in ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, pp. 715 - 716, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3434074.3444873
2021
Ingle D; Marcus N; Johal W, 2021, 'The valley of non-distraction: Effect of robot's human-likeness on perception load', in ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, ACM, pp. 99 - 103, presented at HRI '21: ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3434074.3447137
2021
Chibaudel Q; Johal W; Oriola B; J-M Macé M; Dillenbourg P; Tartas V; Jouffrais C, 2020, '"if you've gone straight, now, you must turn left" - Exploring the use of a tangible interface in a collaborative treasure hunt for people with visual impairments', in ASSETS 2020 - 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3373625.3417020
2020
Johal W; Peng Y; Mi H, 2020, 'Swarm Robots in Education: A Review of Challenges and Opportunities', in HAI 2020 - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction, pp. 272 - 274, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3406499.3418755
2020
Khodr H; Kianzad S; Johal W; Kothiyal A; Bruno B; Dillenbourg P, 2020, 'AlloHaptic: Robot-Mediated Haptic Collaboration for Learning Linear Functions', in 29th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, RO-MAN 2020, pp. 27 - 34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/RO-MAN47096.2020.9223563
2020
Sandygulova A; Johal W; Zhexenova Z; Tleubayev B; Zhanatkyzy A; Turarova A; Telisheva Z; CohenMiller A; Asselborn T; Dillenbourg P, 2020, 'CoWriting Kazakh: Learning a new script with a robot', in ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, ACM, pp. 113 - 120, presented at HRI '20: ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3319502.3374813
2020
Sandygulova A; CohenMiller A; Oralbayeva N; Johal W; Asselborn T; Dillenbourg P, 2020, 'Cognitive Learning with a Robot: The Case of Script Acquisition', in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), pp. 154 - 162, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57506-9_12
2020
Tleubayev B; Zhexenova Z; Asselborn T; Johal W; DIllenbourg P; Sandygulova A, 2020, 'Co writing kazakh: Learning a new script with a robot-demonstration', in ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, pp. 79, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3371382.3378211
2020
Yadollahi E; Couto M; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; Paiva A, 2020, 'Exploring the Role of Perspective Taking in Educational Child-Robot Interaction', in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), pp. 346 - 351, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52240-7_63
2020
Zhexenova Z; Tleubayev B; Zhanatkyzy A; Turarova A; Telisheva Z; Asselborn T; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; Sandygulova A, 2020, 'CoWriting Kazakh: Learning a New Script with a Robot - Video', in HRI'20: COMPANION OF THE 2020 ACM/IEEE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION, ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY, Cambridge, ENGLAND, pp. 645 - 645, presented at 15th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), Cambridge, ENGLAND, 23 March 2020 - 26 March 2020, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3371382.3378402
2020
Ioannou C; Neophytou C; Asselborn T; Johal W; Hadzilacos T, 2020, 'LEARNING (GOOD HANDWRITING IN GREEK) BY TEACHING (A HUMANOID ROBOT)', in INTED2020 Proceedings, IATED, presented at 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, 02 March 2020 - 04 March 2020, http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2020.1926
2020
Neto I; Johal W; Couto M; Nicolau H; Paiva A; Guneysu A, 2020, 'Using tabletop robots to promote inclusive classroom experiences', in Proceedings of the Interaction Design and Children Conference, IDC 2020, pp. 281 - 292, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3392063.3394439
2020
Obaid M; Johal W; Mubin O, 2020, 'Domestic Drones: Context of Use in Research Literature', in HAI 2020 - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction, pp. 196 - 203, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3406499.3415076
2020
Kim A; Omarova M; Zhaksylyk A; Asselborn T; Johal W; Dillenbourg P; Sandygulova A, 2019, 'CoWriting Kazakh: Transitioning to a New Latin Script using Social Robots', in 2019 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, RO-MAN 2019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/RO-MAN46459.2019.8956471
2019
Shahmoradi S; Olsen JK; Haklev S; Johal W; Norman U; Nasir J; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Orchestration of Robotic Activities in Classrooms: Challenges and Opportunities', in Scheffel M; Broisin J; Pammer-Schindler V; Ioannou A; Schneider J (eds.), European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, Springer, Cham, Delft, The Netherlands, pp. 640 - 644, presented at 14th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2019, Delft, The Netherlands, 16 September 2019 - 19 September 2019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29736-7_57
2019
Johal W; Tran A; Khodr H; Ozgur A; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Tip: Tangible e-ink paper manipulatives for classroom orchestration', in ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, pp. 595 - 598, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3369457.3369539
2019
Ozgur AG; Wessel MJ; Asselborn T; Olsen JK; Johal W; Hummel FC; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Designing Configurable Arm Rehabilitation Games: How Do Different Game Elements Affect User Motion Trajectories?', in Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS, pp. 5326 - 5330, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2019.8857508
2019
Nasir J; Norman U; Johal W; Olsen JK; Shahmoradi S; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Robot Analytics: What Do Human-Robot Interaction Traces Tell Us About Learning?', in [Proceedings of the IEEE RoMan 2019-The 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication]
2019
Ozgur AG; Faucon LP; Maceira-Elvira P; Wessel MJ; Johal W; Özgür A; Cadic-Melchior A; Hummel FC; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Towards an Adaptive Upper Limb Rehabilitation Game with Tangible Robots', in 2019 IEEE 16th International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), IEEE, pp. 294 - 299, IEEE
2019
Johal W; Sandygulova A; De Wit J; De Haas M; Scassellati B, 2019, 'Robots for Learning-R4L: Adaptive Learning', in 2019 14th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), IEEE, pp. 693 - 694, IEEE
2019
Hamamsy LE; Johal W; Asselborn T; Nasir J; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Learning By Collaborative Teaching: An Engaging Multi-Party CoWriter Activity', in 2019 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, RO-MAN 2019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/RO-MAN46459.2019.8956358
2019
Johal W; Andersen S; Chevalier M; Ozgur A; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2019, 'Learning Symmetry with Tangible Robots', in Merdan M; Lepuschitz W; Koppensteiner G; Balogh R; Obdržálek D (eds.), International Conference on Robotics and Education RiE 2017, Springer, Cham, Vienna, pp. 270 - 283, presented at RiE 2019, the 10th International Conference on Robotics in Education, Vienna, 10 April 2019 - 12 April 2019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-26945-6_24
2019
Asselborn T; Guneysu A; Mrini K; Yadollahi E; Ozgur A; Johal W; Dillenbourg P, 2018, 'Bringing letters to life: handwriting with haptic-enabled tangible robots', in Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children, ACM, pp. 219 - 230, ACM
2018
Yadollahi E; Johal W; Paiva A; Dillenbourg P, 2018, 'When deictic gestures in a robot can harm child-robot collaboration', in Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children, ACM, pp. 195 - 206, ACM
2018
Charisi V; Alcorn AM; Kennedy J; Johal W; Baxter P; Kynigos C, 2018, 'The near future of children’s robotics', in Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children, ACM, pp. 720 - 727, ACM
2018
Johal W; Kennedy J; Charisi V; Park HW; Castellano G; Dillenbourg P, 2018, 'Robots for Learning-R4L: Inclusive Learning', in Companion of the 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, ACM, pp. 397 - 398, ACM
2018
Guneysu Ozgur A; Wessel MJ; Johal W; Sharma K; Özgür A; Vuadens P; Mondada F; Hummel FC; Dillenbourg P, 2018, 'Iterative design of an upper limb rehabilitation game with tangible robots', in Proceedings of the 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, ACM, pp. 241 - 250, ACM
2018
Özgür A; Johal W; Güneysu Özgür A; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2018, 'Declarative Physicomimetics for Tangible Swarm Application Development', in Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Swarm Intelligence, ANTS 2018
2018
Asselborn T; Johal W; Dillenbourg P, 2017, 'Keep on moving! Exploring anthropomorphic effects of motion during idle moments', in 2017 26th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), IEEE, pp. 897 - 902, IEEE
2017
Özgür A; Johal W; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2017, 'Haptic-enabled handheld mobile robots: Design and analysis', in Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, pp. 2449 - 2461, ACM
2017
Özgür A; Lemaignan S; Johal W; Beltran M; Briod M; Pereyre L; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2017, 'Cellulo: Versatile handheld robots for education', in 2017 12th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI, IEEE, pp. 119 - 127, IEEE
2017
Özgür A; Johal W; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2017, 'Windfield: learning wind meteorology with handheld haptic robots', in Proceedings of the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, ACM, pp. 156 - 165, ACM
2017
Özgür A; Johal W; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2017, 'Windfield: demonstrating wind meteorology with handheld haptic robots', in Proceedings of the Companion of the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, ACM, pp. 48 - 49, ACM
2017
Johal W; Vogt P; Kennedy J; de Haas M; Paiva A; Castellano G; Okita S; Tanaka F; Belpaeme T; Dillenbourg P, 2017, 'Workshop on Robots for Learning: R4L', in Proceedings of the Companion of the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, ACM, pp. 423 - 424, ACM
2017
Özgür A; Johal W; Dillenbourg P, 2016, 'Permanent magnet-assisted omnidirectional ball drive', in 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), IEEE, pp. 1061 - 1066, IEEE
2016
Adam C; Johal W; Pellier D; Fiorino H; Pesty S, 2016, 'Social human-robot interaction: A new cognitive and affective interaction-oriented architecture', in International conference on social robotics, Springer, Cham, pp. 253 - 263, Springer, Cham
2016
Johal W; Jacq A; Paiva A; Dillenbourg P, 2016, 'Child-robot spatial arrangement in a learning by teaching activity', in 2016 25th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Ieee, pp. 533 - 538, Ieee
2016
Johal W, 2015, 'Robots Interacting with Style', in Proceedings of the Tenth Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction Extended Abstracts, ACM, pp. 191 - 192, ACM
2015
Johal W; Pellier D; Adam C; Fiorino H; Pesty S, 2015, 'A cognitive and affective architecture for social human-robot interaction', in Proceedings of the Tenth Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction Extended Abstracts, ACM, pp. 71 - 72, ACM
2015
Ta V-C; Johal W; Portaz M; Castelli E; Vaufreydaz D, 2015, 'The Grenoble system for the social touch challenge at ICMI 2015', in Proceedings of the 2015 ACM on International Conference on Multimodal Interaction, ACM, pp. 391 - 398, ACM
2015
Johal W; Calvary G; Pesty S, 2015, 'Non-verbal Signals in HRI: Interference in Human Perception', in International Conference on Social Robotics, Springer, Cham, pp. 275 - 284, Springer, Cham
2015
Johal W; Pesty S; Calvary G, 2014, 'Towards companion robots behaving with style', in The 23rd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, IEEE, pp. 1063 - 1068, IEEE
2014
Johal W; Pesty S; Calvary G, 2014, 'Expressing Parenting Styles with Companion Robots', in Workshop on Applications for Emotional Robots, Human Robot Interaction (HRI) 2014
2014
Johal W; Adam C; Fiorino H; Pesty S; Jost C; Duhaut D, 2014, 'Acceptability of a companion robot for children in daily life situations', in 2014 5th IEEE Conference on Cognitive Infocommunications (CogInfoCom), IEEE, pp. 31 - 36, IEEE
2014
Johal W; Calvary G; Pesty S, 2014, 'A Robot with Style, because you are Worth it!', in Proceedings of the extended abstracts of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, pp. 1201 - 1206, ACM
2014
Adam C; Johal W; Ben Farhat I; Jost C; Fiorono H; Pesty S; Duhaut D, 2013, 'Acceptabilité d’un robot compagnon dans des situations de la vie quotidienne.', in Deuxième conférence III - Intercompréhension de l’intraspécifique à l’interspécifique
2013
Johal W; Dugdale J; Pesty S, 2013, 'Modelling interactions in a mixed agent world.', in European Modeling and Simulation Symposium
2013
Benkaouar W; Vaufreydaz D, 2012, 'Multi-sensors engagement detection with a robot companion in a home environment'
2012
Johal W; Robu O; Dame A; Mondada SMF, 'Augmented Robotics for Learners: A Case Study on Optics'
Other
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Özgür A; Lemaignan S; Johal W; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2019, Magnet-assisted ball drive
2019
Johal W; Castellano G; Tanaka F; Okita S, 2018, Robots for learning, Springer Netherlands
2018
Yadollahi E; Johal W; Dias J; Dillenbourg P; Paiva A, Studying the Effect of Robot Frustration on Children’s Change of Perspective
Jacq A; Johal W; Dillenbourg P, Non-recursive Approach for Mutual Understanding
Guneysu A; Johal W; Ozgur A; Dillenbourg P, Tangible Robots Mediated Collaborative Rehabilitation Design: Can we Find Inspiration from Scripting Collaborative Learning?
Patents
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Ozgur A; Lemaignan S; Johal W; Mondada F; Dillenbourg P, 2019, Magnet-assisted ball drive, Patent No. 10377231
2019
Zolna K; Asselborn T; Johal W, 2019, Method of handwritten character recognition confirmation, Patent No. WO2019101338A1
2019
Reports
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Jacq AD; Johal W; Paiva A; Dillenbourg P, 2017, Expressing Motivations By Facilitating Other’s Inverse Reinforcement Learning, Instituto Superiro Technico
2017
Theses / Dissertations
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Johal WB, 2015, Companion Robots Behaving with Style: Towards Plasticity in Social Human-Robot Interaction
2015

2020    UNSW Faculty of Engineering 2020 Award for the category Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
2020    Best Demo Award for our paper CoWritng Kazakh - Learning a New Script with a Robot Demonstration.
2019    Best Reviewer Award for the 27th International Conference on Computers in Education.
2018    Best Paper Award Honorable Mention. When Deictic Gestures in a Robot Can Harm Child-Robot Collaboration.ACM Interaction Design and Children Conference (IDC 2018), Trondheim, Norway.
2017    Best Paper Award: ACM Human-robot Interaction Conference (HRI), Vienna, Austria.
2015    Winner of the Social Touch Challenge at International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI). Nov. 2015.
2015    Best Paper Award Honorable Mention, ACM Human-robot Interaction Conference 2015 (HRI), Portland, USA.
2015    HRI Pioneers : International Conference on Human Robot Interaction 2015 (HRI), Portland, USA

My research enables robots to provide close, continuous and personalized assistance to people adapting to their capabilities. To this end, I have developed methods to allow robots to (1) decipher human non-verbal cues of communication, (2) synthesize socially intuitive behaviors and (3) provide personalized support according to individual needs.

My research has lead to several top-tier conferences (CHI, HRI, IROS) and journal publications (RAM, Journal, Nature Communications on Digital Medecine). Building on my research to create effective robot-assisted support, my research at EPFL on Educational Robotics (NCCR Robotics) focused on the building autonomous robotic systems that provides enhanced and personalized training for learners. I have been managing the research activities concerning Robotics at the CHILI Lab on the CoWriter, the Cellulo and the ANIMATAS research projects. Within these projects, I supervised six PhD students working various topics dealing with the use of robots and technologies in education and ’re-education’ (motor-rehabilitation). 

See http://wafa.johal.org/

Human-Robot Interaction, Interactive Reasoning, Robots for Learning