Sylvain Calinon








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Sylvain Calinon

Sylvain Calinon

I am a permanent researcher at the Idiap Research Institute since May 2014, with research interests covering robot learning and human-robot interaction. I am also a lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), and an external collaborator at the Department of Advanced Robotics (ADVR), Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). From 2009 to 2014, I was a Team Leader at ADVR-IIT. From 2007 to 2009, I was a Postdoc at the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (LASA), EPFL. I hold a PhD from EPFL (2007), awarded by the Robotdalen Scientific Award, ABB Award and EPFL-Press Distinction. I co-authored 60 publications and a book in the field of robot learning by imitation and exploration, with recognition including IEEE Ro-Man'2007 Best Paper Award, IEEE-RAS Humanoids'2009 Best Paper Award Finalist and IEEE/RSJ IROS'2013 CoTeSys Best Paper Award Finalist. European Projects I am or have been involved in include DEXROV, STIFF-FLOP, PANDORA, SAPHARI, AMARSI, ROBOT@CWE, FEELIX GROWING and COGNIRON.

My work focuses on human-centric robot applications, with the objective of developing probabilistic approaches to encode movements and behaviors in robots evolving in unconstrained human environments. In these applications, the models serve several purposes (recognition, prediction, online synthesis), and are shared by different learning strategies (imitation, emulation, incremental refinement or exploration). The aim is to facilitate the transfer of skills from end-users to robots, or in-between robots, by exploiting multimodal sensory information and by developing intuitive teaching interfaces. I take the perspective that the robots actuation capability must be enriched with force and impedance information to anticipate the users' behaviors and generate safe and natural movements.

Upcoming or recent invited talks


Workshop on Learning for Human-Robot Collaboration, Ro-Man'2015, Kobe, Japan.


Agile and Dexterous Robotics Lab, ETHZ, Zurich, Switzerland.


CITIA Roadmap for Conversational Interaction Technologies Conference, Brussels, Belgium.


Robotics and Computer Vision Group, ENSTA-ParisTech, France.


GIPSA-lab, CNRS/University of Grenoble, France.


PI Symposium (Posthuman and Digital Art), Monthey, Switzerland, see also the article in Le Nouvelliste (in French) of 19/11/2014.


Intl Conf. on Ubiquitous Robots and Ambient Intelligence (URAI), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Nipconf'2014, SwissTech Convention Center, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Latest news and Updates


Open PhD Student position in robot learning for interactive dressing assistance.


We recently acquired a Baxter robot for the Robot Learning & Interaction Group at Idiap, see the short video report from Canal 9 (in French).


Tohid Alizadeh and Davide De Tommaso successfully defended their PhD Theses and obtained the PhD Degree today. Congrats Doctors!