Dr. Kathrin Janowski

Research Assistant
Chair for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
Phone: +49 821 598 - 2323
Room: 2018 (N)
Open hours: by arrangement
Address: Universitätsstraße 6a, 86159 Augsburg


ORCID      Google Scholar      ResearchGate       DBLP      Semantic Scholar      Web of Science      LinkedIn     ACM Digital Library

Research Interests

Virtual Agents, Social Robots, Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction, Multimodal User Interfaces


My research focuses on the development of multimodal dialog systems for intuitive communication between humans and computer-controlled social agents.

Among other things, this includes the generation of believable, life-like behavior for virtual characters and robots which allows the user to understand their cognitive state. Furthermore, I am interested in modern input technology like speech, facial expressions and gestures because those agents, in turn, should be able to understand naturally-occurring human behavior.


zwei virtuelle Charaktere im Dialog, über dem Bayes'schen Netz, welches ihr Verhalten steuert

Decision-Theoretic Personality-Based Turn-Taking

For my doctoral thesis I am examining different factors which influence the turn-taking in dialogue, and how these mechanisms can be applied to artificial characters.

The focus is on behavior patterns which express the personality and the interpersonal stance towards the interlocutor.

videos of the first prototype


Externally Funded Projects

ForGenderCare: Gender Aspects in Robotics for Elderly Care


Supervised Student Projects



For this project I supervised two students who programmed an emotional game-playing companion. For this purpose two different personalities were modeled - a friendly partner and a hostile rival - who react differently to game events and express this verbally as well as using facial expressions.


This application was used in the context of the ForGenderCare project in order to examine how elderly people interact with social robots.


Go to project page



"Adaptive linguistic style for an assistive robotic health companion based on explicit human feedback"

Hannes Ritschel, Andreas Seiderer, Kathrin Janowski, Stefan Wagner, Elisabeth André

12th ACM International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments (PETRA), 2019



Internal Chair Projects




This demonstration was created for the "Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft" ("The Long Night Of Science") which took place on May 5th 2018 in Augsburg.


Here the social robot Reeti serves as a nutrition advisor who informs the user about the calorie content of the offered drinks. By means of custom-made drink holders and an electronic scale the system can detect how much the user drinks of which juice. Based on the amount of calories in the cup a reward is calculated for the information strategy used beforehand, in order to adapt the probability that it is chosen in the future via reinforcement learning. This way the robot is supposed to learn whether the user is convinced more easily by pointing out high or low calories.


In the winter semester of 2018/19 this system was also used to illustrate potential applications of social robots in retirement homes. In the context oft the course "Multimedia 1: Usability Engineering" a group of students presented this recommendation robot in three different retirement homes in the region of Augsburg. Afterwards, they discussed potential uses and the requirements for this technology with the inhabitants and the care staff.


Video on YouTube



"Towards a robotic dietitian with adaptive linguistic style"

Hannes Ritschel, Kathrin Janowski, Andreas Seiderer, Elisabeth André

European Conference on Ambient Intelligence (AmI), 2019


"Drink-O-Mender: An Adaptive Robotic Drink Adviser"
Hannes Ritschel, Andreas Seiderer, Kathrin Janowski, Ilhan Aslan, Elisabeth André

3rd International Workshop on Multisensory Approaches to Human-Food Interaction, 20th International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), 2018

Media Coverage

"Robi forscht und hilft. Studenten mit Roboter im Awo-Heim"

Aichacher Zeitung, January 12, 2019


"Künstliche Intelligenz - Sind Maschinen die besseren Menschen?"

"Stationen", BR, June 13, 2018

Local Scientists

M.Sc. Kathrin JanowskiDr. Hannes RitschelDr. Florian LingenfelserDr. Johannes Wagner, M.Sc. Markus Häring, Prof. Dr. Birgit Lugrin




The simplest form of empathy is mirroring the emotions which are being observed from the interlocutor. Humans usually do this subconsciously.


Our current prototype employs the Social Signal Interpretation Framework (SSI) to analyse the tone of voice and the facial expressions of the user. The recognized emotions are then mapped to numerical values along the two axes "pleasure" and "arousal".


The robot we use, "Zeno", is a RoboKind R50 built by the Texan company Hanson Robotics. He has a human-like body and additional servo motors under a synthetic skin which allow for the adaptation of his facial expressions. The appliation which controls his behavior continually adapts his facial expression and head pose to the emotional state which was recognized by the SSI pipeline.


Additionally, Zeno has several lists of sentences which he can use to comment on the situation when user pauses in their speech. The exact moment when the robot talks depends on various factors, for example the intensity of the current emotional state or the time which has passed since the last comment.


Media Coverage

"Roboter Zeno - Ist es bescheuert, Gefühle für eine Maschine zu haben?"  

"Puls“, BR, March 24, 2016

go to report


"Extrem Robotern - Ein echt netter Typ"  

Deutschlandfunk Nova, March 7, 2016

go to report


"Algorithmus der Gefühle - Menschliche Roboter"  

SWR2, May 2, 2016

go to report


"Robo Sapiens - Können Roboter den Menschen ersetzen?"

"X:enius", arte, June 18, 2015

go to description of report


"Empathische Alice"

"Quarks & Co", WDR, November 12, 2013

Local Scientists

Dr. Gregor Mehlmann,  M.Sc. Kathrin Janowski, M.Sc. Markus Häring




For this application the human's task is to place different objects on the given fields. The robot's instructions for this are kept intentionally ambiguous in order to make the human ask for clarification.


The eye tracking glasses worn by the user, as well as special markers on the objects, enable the system to detect which object the user is currently looking at. This in turn enables the robot to resolve ambiguities in the user's spoken question, so it can answer correctly.


Furthermore, this information allows the robot to show gaze behavior which expresses joint attention. For example, it follows the user's gaze to the respective objects or makes eye contact when the former looks at the robot.


This eye contact also serves as a signal for conversational floor management. When the user asks a question, the robot delays its answer and waits until the user looks at it directly.

All these behavior patterns serve to establish the common ground in order to avoid misunderstandings or at least resolve them quickly.



"Modeling Grounding for Interactive Social Companions"
Gregor Mehlmann, Kathrin Janowski, Elisabeth André
KI - Künstliche Intelligenz, Special Issue on Companion Technologies, 2015

"Exploring a Model of Gaze for Grounding in Multimodal HRI"
Gregor Mehlmann, Kathrin Janowski, Markus Häring, Tobias Baur, Patrick Gebhard and Elisabeth André
16th International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), 2014

"Modeling Gaze Mechanisms for Grounding in HRI"
Gregor Mehlmann, Kathrin Janowski, Tobias Baur, Markus Häring, Elisabeth André und Patrick Gebhard
21th European Conference on Artificial intelligence (ECAI), 2014



Practical Course "Interaction Design and Engineering for Health Care Applications"

  • WS 2020/21
  • WS 2021/22

Multimedia Project

  • WS 2019/20: "Multimodal Human-Robot-Dialogue with Aisoy"
  • WS 2015/16: "The Always-On Clone - Social Activity Manager"
  • WS 2014/15: "Wizard-Of-Oz Control for Robots"  

Practical Module

  • SS 2016: "Emotional Expressions for Reeti"
  • SS 2015: "RoboGames - Social Games with Reeti"

Lecture "Multimedia Grundlagen II"

  • SS 2015

Seminar "Fundamental Issues in Multimodal Dialogue and Interaction"

  • SS 2015: "Verbesserung der Langzeitinteraktion von interaktiven Robotern und Menschen" („Improvement of long-term interaction between interactive robots and humans“)
  • SS 2015: "Social Interaction with Game Playing Agents“

Supervised Student Theses

  • SS 2015: "Entwurf und Implementierung eines Emotionsmoduls für einen sozialen Roboter"  („Design and implementation of an emotion module for a social robot“)
  • SS 2015: "Persönlichkeitsbasierte Verhaltensanpassung eines sozialen Roboters" („Personality-based behavior adaptation of a social robot“)


Practical Course "Interaction Design and Engineering"

  • WS 2020/21

Lecture "Multimedia 1: Usability Engineering"

  • WS 2019/20: "Human-Robot-Interaction - Empathic Smalltalk Application for Elderly People"
  • WS 2018/19: "Human-Robot-Interaction - Requirements Analysis in Retirement Homes"
  • WS 2015/16: "Context-aware Recommendersystems for Elderly People - Social Robots"  

Practical Course "Usability Engineering"

  • SS 2016: "Dialogue Application for a Social Robots - Cooking Assistant"
  • SS 2015: "Context-aware Recommendersystems for Elderly People - Social Robots"

Seminar "Advanced Topics in Multimodal Dialogue and Interaction"

  • SS 2015



"Künstliche Höflichkeit und Frechheit. Wie erhält ein Pflegeroboter das passende Auftreten?"

("Artificial Politeness and Insolence. How does a Care Robot get the appropriate Demeanor?")

4. Interdisziplinäres Dialogforum „Mensch und Endlichkeit“,

Goldegg (Austria), September 21, 2021



"Was machen soziale Maschinen heute schon?"

("What are social machines already doing today?")

Careum Dialog 2020, Zürich, February 13, 2020


"Wie man einen Roboter zum Leben erweckt"

("How to bring a robot to life")

  • Girls' Day (2014-2019, 2021-2022)
  • Tag der Informatik (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019)


"Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft"

("The Long Night of Science")

Augsburg City Hall, 2018


"Fädeln, Löten, Programmieren - Mechanische Wesen im Figurentheater"

("Threading, Soldering, Programming - Mechanical Creatures in Puppet Theater")  

at the museum of the "Augsburger Puppenkiste", 2014-2015


2024 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2016 | 2014 | 2013 | 2011 | 2009


Pol van Rijn, Silvan Mertes, Kathrin Janowski, Katharina Weitz, Nori Jacoby and Elisabeth André. 2024. Giving robots a voice: human-in-the-loop voice creation and open-ended labeling. DOI: 10.1145/3613904.3642038
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI


Kathrin Janowski, Hannes Ritschel and Elisabeth André. 2022. Adaptive artificial personalities. DOI: 10.1145/3563659.3563666
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Kathrin Janowski. 2022. Künstliche Höflichkeit und Frechheit: wie erhält ein Pflegeroboter das passende Auftreten?. DOI: 10.5771/9783748928720-79
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI


Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2021. Nichtverbales Verhalten sozialer Roboter: Bewegungen, deren Bedeutung und die Technik dahinter. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-31114-8_15
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Thomas Kiderle, Hannes Ritschel, Kathrin Janowski, Silvan Mertes, Florian Lingenfelser and Elisabeth André. 2021. Socially-aware personality adaptation. DOI: 10.1109/ACIIW52867.2021.9666197
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI


Klaus Weber, Kathrin Janowski, Niklas Rach, Katharina Weitz, Wolfgang Minker, Stefan Ultes and Elisabeth André. 2020. Predicting persuasive effectiveness for multimodal behavior adaptation using bipolar weighted argument graphs.
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | URL


Hannes Ritschel, Andreas Seiderer, Kathrin Janowski, Stefan Wagner and Elisabeth André. 2019. Adaptive linguistic style for an assistive robotic health companion based on explicit human feedback. DOI: 10.1145/3316782.3316791
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Dominik Schiller, Katharina Weitz, Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2019. Human-inspired socially-aware interfaces. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-34500-6_2
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Hannes Ritschel, Kathrin Janowski, Andreas Seiderer, Stefan Wagner and Elisabeth André. 2019. Insights on usability and user feedback for an assistive robotic health companion with adaptive linguistic style. DOI: 10.1145/3316782.3322737
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Hannes Ritschel, Kathrin Janowski, Andreas Seiderer and Elisabeth André. 2019. Towards a robotic dietitian with adaptive linguistic style.
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | URL

Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2019. What if I speak now? A decision-theoretic approach to personality-based turn-taking.
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | URL | URL


Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2018. Decision-theoretic personality-based reasoning about turn-taking conflicts. DOI: 10.1145/3267851.3267899
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Hannes Ritschel, Andreas Seiderer, Kathrin Janowski, Ilhan Aslan and Elisabeth André. 2018. Drink-o-mender: an adaptive robotic drink adviser. DOI: 10.1145/3279954.3279957
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Kathrin Janowski, Hannes Ritschel, Birgit Lugrin and Elisabeth André. 2018. Sozial interagierende Roboter in der Pflege. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-22698-5_4
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI


Stephan Hammer, Birgit Lugrin, Sergey Bogomolov, Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2016. Investigating politeness strategies and their persuasiveness for a robotic elderly assistant. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-31510-2_27
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Gregor Mehlmann, Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2016. Modeling grounding for interactive social companions. DOI: 10.1007/s13218-015-0397-5
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI


Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2014. Deciding when to react to incremental user input in human-robot interaction.
PDF | BibTeX | RIS

Gregor Mehlmann, Markus Häring, Kathrin Janowski, Tobias Baur, Patrick Gebhard and Elisabeth André. 2014. Exploring a model of gaze for grounding in multimodal HRI. DOI: 10.1145/2663204.2663275
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI

Gregor Mehlmann, Kathrin Janowski, Tobias Baur, Markus Häring, Elisabeth André and Patrick Gebhard. 2014. Modeling gaze mechanisms for grounding in HRI. DOI: 10.3233/978-1-61499-419-0-1069
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI


Kathrin Janowski, Felix Kistler and Elisabeth André. 2013. Gestures or speech? Comparing modality selection for different interaction tasks in a virtual environment.
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | URL | URL


Diana Arellano, Javier Varona, Francisco J. Perales, Nikolaus Bee, Kathrin Janowski and Elisabeth André. 2011. Influence of head orientation in perception of personality traits in virtual agents.
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | URL


Ionut Damian, Kathrin Janowski and Dominik Sollfrank. 2009. Spectators, a joy to watch. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-04380-2_90
PDF | BibTeX | RIS | DOI