The Humanoids

Merel Bekking


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Merel is a contemporary product designer from The Netherlands. In 2012, she graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts (NL). Merel likes to work on bigger design thinking projects involving cross-sector collaborations. She collaborated with plastic producers, South African artists, traditional Sotho wavers, taxidermists and neuroscientists. Merel has exhibited and presented at the Milan Design Week, Dutch Design Week, DIY Berlin, the World Architecture Festival in Singapore, and more. Between 2015 and 2016 Merel was working and living in Cape Town (South Africa), and in the beginning of 2016 she relocated to Bangor, North Wales, and later in 2017 to Glasgow, Scotland. Merel is very excited to be collaborating with the SoBA lab on the Social Robots project and work together on the exciting robotic petting zoo.


Bishakha Chaudhury


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Bishakha comes from the city of Kolkata in India. She has a BSc in Computer Science from Fergusson College (Pune, India), a Masters in Computer Application (Chennai University, India) and Masters in Virtual Reality and Computer Graphics from the University Of Sussex (UK). All the computer games she played while growing up piqued her interest in virtual reality, computer gameplay and artificial intelligence. Her masters dissertation and the game mods and demos she made ensured her a career in the games industry in London. She worked mainly as an AI programmer and was responsible for AI racers and developing variety in the characteristics of non-human players. After this, she joined a team working on computer-aided orthopaedic surgery, where a robotic hand was used for performing precision hip and knee surgery. She then followed her family to scenic North Wales and worked in the local IT industry for six years as a senior developer and technical analyst. Now she is working with the SoBot's team in Glasgow, Scotland.

Prof. Emily S. Cross


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Emily is a professor of Social Robotics at the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Scotland,  and the co-director of the Social Brain in Action Laboratory. With the recent award of an ERC Starting Grant, she now also serves as the Principal Investigator of the Social Robots project. Emily completed her PhD with Scott Grafton at Dartmouth College, and then worked at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany) and the Behavioural Science Institute and Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands). Emily has been building and collecting robots since a young age (more aesthetically interesting than functional ones!), and looks forward to helping chart the course to peaceful coexistence with our robotic overlords of the future.


Dr. Ruud Hortensius


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Ruud obtained his PhD under supervision of Prof. Beatrice de Gelder at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. Before that, he completed a BSc in Social Work, a BSc in Psychology, an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. In his research he investigates the neural mechanisms of positive and negative social interactions. He continued to explore these topics as a postdoctoral researcher on Dutch and South African soil at Maastricht University and the University of Cape Town. Excited by the unique insights robots offer human psychology and neuroscience, he is eager to explore the dynamic social interactions between robots and less robot-like beings in the Social Robots project at the University of Glasgow.