Humanoid Robots and Creativity

Half-day Workshop @ Humanoids 2014

Image BannerRobots


Humanoid robots have been connected to creativity and art since the beginnings: one of the first humanoid robots was "The Flute Player" by Vaucanson in 1737. Since then, on the one side, robotics and automata have been recurrent topics in creative and artistic research and on the other side, scholars from robotics and AI have been intrigued by the many technical challenges presented by artistic applications of robotics.
The workshop aims to bring together the humanoid robotics community and the computational creativity community. Creativity has been proposed to be a cornerstone of cognition and a hallmark of human behavior. The concept is hard to define and delineate against the background of discussions on such diverse notions such as intelligence, variety in behavior and art. Computational creativity has been a growing field in recent years with machines creating visual art, music, poetry, narratives and games as well as researchers in the field advancing our understanding of the notion of creativity and its role in human-like intelligence.
In robotics research on social and edutainment robotics solutions are being sought for robots to produce appropriate behaviors in contact with humans in face-to-face interaction. This requires a certain amount of flexibility in their repertoire. Robots are meant to navigate in unknown environments, engage in (possibly) open-ended dialogue with humans and be entertaining in certain contexts. All of these are just a few examples of tasks in which creative behavior would be useful.
Contrary to creative software systems, humanoid robots offer real embodiment and situatedness, which are main ingredients for artistic creations. We envision this to be a meeting that will allow the confrontation between the two communities of humanoid robotics and computational creativity. We expect an unbiased exchange which will lead to a productive new area of common research on creative robotics.

Motivation and Objectives of the Workshop

There have been examples of artistic, performing and presenting robots in the recent past. These include humanoid robots creating visual art, playing musical instruments, dancing, performing in theatrical plays, presenting poetry and presenting art. All of these tasks would be ascribed a certain degree of creativity or an understanding of creative processes if performed by a human.
A definition of the concept of computational creativity has been advanced in recent years and hence foundations have been laid to discuss this within the context of humanoid robotics. We will try to assess whether presently humanoid robots are creative to a certain extent, whether they should be and how to make them more creative.
The workshop will be organized around four themes: a) performing and artistic robots, b) interactive robotic systems, c) learning and problem solving and d) theoretical issues.
The focus will be on the technical challenges concerning the question of how to distinguish imitation from innovation and the algorithms needed for such robotic technology in order for it to be considered truly creative. This is a timely topic as applications fields of such creative technologies are becoming commercially viable in several areas but particularly entertainment robotics and human- robot co-creation of art.
The workshop thus aims to discuss this field of application along with the technical challenges associated with the necessary tasks.

Invited Speaker

Will Jackson - Engineered Arts


15 Min Introduction and workshop motivation (Organizers)
60 Min Invited Talk
60 Min Session I: Creativity
15 Min Coffee break
60 Min Session II: Humanoids
45 Min Panel
15 Min Conclusions and adjourn

Presentation Schedule

Session 1: Creativity 15:15 - 16:15
Kids like robots, do they? Fabio Bonsignorio
Humanoids ‘Performing’ Manufacturing Mathew Schwartz, Ricardo Frias, Emilio Dolgener Cantu, Guilherme Stoffel Saul, and Jaeheung Park
Social Robots: Fostering Creativity through the Illusion of Life Karolina Zawieska
A cognitive approach for a humanoid painter Agnese Augello, Ignazio Infantino, Giovanni Pilato, Riccardo Rizzo, Filippo Vella

Session 2: Humanoids 16:30 - 17:45
Tracking an elastic object with an RGB-D sensor for a pizza chef robot Antoine Petit, Vincenzo Lippiello, Bruno Siciliano
Robot Stand-up: Engineering a Comic Performance Kleomenis Katevas, Patrick G. T. Healey and Matthew Tobias Harris
A Cognitive Architecture for Understanding and Producing Natural Language in Support of Robotic Creativity Arianna Pipitone, Vincenzo Cannella, Roberto Pirrone and Antonio Chella
Towards a Cognitive Humanoid Dancer Agnese Augello, Antonio Chella, Salvatore Gaglio,Ignazio Infantino, Giovanni Pilato, Riccardo Rizzo, Filippo Vella
Understanding The Human Object: ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’ Agatha Hains

Call for Contributions

We intend to make this workshop as interactive as possible. As a basis for discussion, we encourage all prospective participants to submit a three-page short paper which is preferably based on their research and should illustrate the authors' views on creativity in robotics. Topics include but are not limited to:
Short Papers should be submitted to All submissions will get an acknowledgement of receipt. Submissions will be reviewed by the organizing committee and assigned to themes.

Please format your submissions according to the IEEE template which is the same as the one for the main conference. The templates can be found here:

Accepted papers will be listed as part of the programme and published online on the workshop website. Copyright will remain with the authors. We are considering to arrange a special issue for workshop selected papers in an indexed international book or journal.

Important Dates

The deadline for submission of contributions will be the 22nd of October.
Authors will be notified no later than the 29th of October.
The workshop will be on the 18th of November 2014 in the afternoon in Madrid (HOTEL MELIA CASTILLA).


All participants need to register via the official conference website:


Sascha Griffiths, Queen Mary University of London
Antonio Chella, University of Palermo
Geranit Wiggins, Queen Mary University of London


Sascha Griffiths


Nada Lavra (Jozef Stefan Institute)
Dragana Miljkovic (Jozef Stefan Institute)
Katrin Lohan (Heriot Watt University)
Bruno Siciliano (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)
Florian Röhrbein (Technische Universität München)
Reinhard Lafrenz (Technische Universität München)

Sascha Griffiths 2014-09-29