School of Informatics
I am a researcher here at the Interaction Lab, working for the EU-founded project DREAM and the VGR-fuounded project Design, textile, and sustainable development. My research involves robot learning, human robot interaction, and modeling various aspects of human cognition. This work takes form in the development of robots used in therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder and the study of human and robot tactile interaction. I have also a big heart for robot learning from demonstration and wrote my PhD thesis on the topic, titled Cognition Rehearsed - Recognition and Reproduction of Demonstrated Behavior, presented January 2012. The thesis presents novel techniques for learning from human demonstration, inspired by several cognitive and neurocomputational models of learning. This work has continued also after my PhD, resulting in e.g. a recent publication in Frontiers of Robotics and AI. Read more at cognitionreversed.com.
I'm the head of Swecog - Swedish Cognitive Science Society, a network of more than one hundred cognitive science researchers in Sweden. From January 2016, I'm coordinator for the cognitive science subject at the University of Skövde.
R. Andreasson, B. Alenljung, E. A. Billing & R. Lowe (2017) Affective Touch in Human–Robot Interaction: Conveying Emotion to the Nao Robot. International Journal of Social Robotics. Published Online Dec. 1st.
B. Zhou, C. A. Velez Altamirano, H. Cruz, S. R. Atefi, E. A. Billing, F. Seoane, & P. Lukowicz (2017). Textile pressure mapping sensor for emotional touch detection in human-robot interaction. Sensors, 17(11), 1–16.
J. Sun, S. Redyuk, E. A. Billing, D. Högberg, and P. Hemeren. Tactile Interaction and Social Touch: Classifying Human Touch using a Soft Tactile Sensor. In the Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Human Agent Interaction, 17. - 20. October 2017 | CITEC, Bielefeld.
A. Montebelli, E. A. Billing, J. Lindblom, and G. M. Dahlberg (2017). Reframing HRI Education: A Dialogic Reformulation of HRI Education to Promote Diverse Thinking and Scientific Progress. Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 6(2), 3–26.
R. Lowe, A. Almér, E. A. Billing, Y. Sandamirskaya, and C. Balkenius (2017). Affective–associative two-process theory: a neurocomputational account of partial reinforcement extinction effects. Biological Cybernetics, 111(5–6), pp 365–388.
B. Alenljung, R. Andreasson, E. A. Billing, J. Lindblom, and R. Lowe (2017) User Experience of Conveying Emotions by Touch. Proceedings of the 26th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), p. 1240-1247.
E. A. Billing (2017) A New Look at Habits using Simulation Theory. In Proceedings of the IS4SI summit Digitalisation for a Sustainable Society. Embodied, Embedded, Networked, Empowered through Information, Computation & Cognition!, 12–16 June; Gothenburg, Sweden; doi:10.3390/IS4SI-2017-03981
J. Sun., E. A. Billing, F. Seoane, B. Zhou, D. Högberg, and P. Hemeren (2017) Categories of touch: Classifying human touch using a soft tactile sensor. The robotic sense of touch: from sensing to understanding, workshop at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 29 May.
B. Zhou, H. Z. Cruz, S. R. Atefi, E. A. Billing, F. Seoane, and P. Lukowicz (2017) TouchMe: Full-textile Touch Sensitive Skin for Encouraging Human-Robot Interaction. The robotic sense of touch: from sensing to understanding, workshop at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 29 May.
P. Esteban, P. Baxter, T. Belpaeme, E. Billing, H. Cai, H.L. Cao, M. Coeckelbergh, C. Costescu, D. David, A. De Beir, Y. Fang, Z. Ju, J. Kennedy, H. Liu, A. Mazel, A. Pandey, K. Richardson, E. Senft, S. Thill, G. Van de Perre, B. Vanderborght, D. Vernon, H. Yu, and T. Ziemke (2017) How to Build a Supervised Autonomous System for Robot-Enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 8(1), 18-38.
R. Lowe, E. A. Billing (2017). Affective-Associative Two-Process theory: A neural network investigation of adaptive behaviour in differential outcomes training. Adaptive Behavior, 25(1), 5–23.
F. Syrén, C. Li, E. A. Billing, A. Lund (2016) Characterization of textile resistive strain sensors. 16th World Textile Conference AUTEX 2016, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 8-10.
A. Almér, R. Lowe, E. Billing (2016) Proceedings of the 2016 Swecog conference. Skövde University Studies in Informatics, ISSN 1653-2325; 2016:2.
R. Lowe, E. I. Barakova, E. A. Billing, J. Broekens (2016) Special issue on Grounding Emotions in Robots. Adaptive Behaviour, 24 (5).
E. A. Billing, H. Svensson, R. Lowe, T. Ziemke (2016) Finding Your Way from the Bed to the Kitchen: Re-enacting and Re-combining Sensorimotor Episodes Learned from Human Demonstration. Front. Robot. AI 3 (9). doi: 10.3389/frobt.2016.00009.
D. Vernon, E. A. Billing, P. Hemeren, S. Thill, T. Ziemke (2015) An Architecture-oriented Approach to System Integration in Collaborative Robotics Research Projects — An Experience Report. Journal of Software Engineering for Robotics, 6 (1), p. 15-32.
E. A. Billing, R. Lowe, Y. Sandamirskaya (2015) Simultaneous Planning and Action: Neural-dynamic Sequencing of Elementary Behaviors in Robot Navigation. Adaptive Behavior, 23(5), p. 243–264. SAGE Pub. [pdf]
E. A. Billing, J. Lindblom, T. Ziemke (2015) Proceedings of the 2015 SWECOG conference. Skövde University Studies in Informatics, ISSN 1653-2325; 2015:3.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström, L. E. Janlert (2015) Simultaneous recognition and reproduction of demonstrated behavior. In Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, 12, p. 43–53. Elsevier. [pdf]
E. A. Billing and C. Balkenius (2014) Modeling the Interplay between Conditioning and Attention in a Humanoid Robot: Habituation and Attentional Blocking. In Proceeding of The 4th International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (IEEE ICDL-EPIROB), Genoa, Italy. October 13-16. p. 41-47.
R. Lowe, Y. Sandarmirskaya, and E. A. Billing (2014) A Neural Dynamic Model of Associative Two-Process Theory: The Differential Outcomes Effect and Infant Development. In Proceeding of The 4th International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (IEEE ICDL-EPIROB), Genoa, Italy. October 13-16. p. 41-47.
E. A. Billing, M. Servin (2013) Composer: A prototype multilingual model composition tool. In MODPROD2013: 7th MODPROD Workshop on Model-Based Product Development. Linköping University, February 5-6.
E. A. Billing (2012) Cognition Rehearsed: Recognition and reproduction of demonstrated behavior. PhD Thesis. Department of Computing Science, Umeå University, Sweden.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström, L. E. Janlert (2011) Simultaneous control and recognition of demonstrated behavior. Technical report (UMINF). Department of Computing Science, Umeå University, Sweden.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström, L. E. Janlert (2011) Robot learning from demonstration using predictive sequence learning. In Dutta. Robotic systems: applications, control and programming. IN-TECH, p. 235-250.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström, L. E. Janlert (2011) Predictive learning from demonstration. In J. Filipe. Second International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence: ICAART 2010. Springer Verlag. Berlin.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström, L. E. Janlert (2010) Behavior recognition for learning from demonstration. In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Anchorage, Alaska, May 3-8, p. 866-872.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström, L. E. Janlert (2010) Cognitive Perspectives on Robot Behavior. In ICAART 2010 - Proceedings of the international conference on agents and artificial intelligence: Special Session on Computing Languages with Multi-Agent Systems and Bio-Inspired Devices. Valencia, Spain, January 22-24, p. 373-382.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström, L. E. Janlert (2010) Model-free learning from demonstration. In ICAART 2010 - Proceedings of the international conference on agents and artificial intelligence: volume 2. Valencia, Spain, January 22-24, p. 62-71.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström (2010) A formalism for learning from demonstration. In Paladyn: Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 1(1) p. 1-13. Versita.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström (2010) Predictive Learning in Context. In Tenth International Conference on Epigenetic Robotics, Örenäs slott, Sweden, November 5-7.
E. A. Billing (2009) Cognition Reversed: Robot learning from demonstration. Lic. Thesis. Department of Computing Science, Umeå University, Sweden.
E. A. Billing, T. Hellström (2008) Behavior recognition for segmentation of demonstrated task. In IEEE SMC International Conference on Distributed Human-Machine Systems (DHMS). Athens, Greece, Match 9-12.
E. A. Billing (2005) Simulation of Corticospinal Interaction for Motor Control. Master thesis. Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Umeå University, Sweden.
Below is a list of invited presentations and other public appearances by Erik, both academic and directed to a non-academic audience.
A touch of Pepper
Social signals for collaborative robots
November 10, 2017, a year after his first talk at Elektroautomatik, Erik is invited back to give an update on future directions in Human-Robot Collaboration and relevant connections to social robots, like the Nao and Pepper robots from Softbank. The presentation rendered articles in several media, including articles in Skövde Nyheter and Metal Suply.
September 29, 2017, Erik participates in Forskar Grand Prix, presenting his research within the DREAM project. The competition was part of Skövde University 40-year birthday celbration, have a look at the whole cermony on Facebook.
More thoughts about robots
May 3, 2017, Erik gives a talk at Örebro Senioruniversitet, discussing applications of robots, artificial intelligence, and it's relation to human thinking.
For students with disabilities
April 26, 2017, Erik presents his experience from the DREAM project for University coordinators supporting students with disabilities.
Future of robots
A play with YuMi
November 25, 2016, Erik is invited for a breakfast talk at Elektroautomatik, discussing collaborative robot arms and their relation to social robotics.
Umeå Cognitive Science Days
November 11, Erik speaks at the Umeå Cognitive Science Days 2016, presenting some of his research and its connection to the cognitive sicence education in Umeå.
October 27, 2016, Erik is invited to talk at Populärvetenskapligt Café in Skövde, a relaxed way to learn and discuss research - the subject is, as always, robots and cog. sci!
A visit from Kanagawa
April 21, 2016, Erik and his colleges at the Interaction Lab receives a visit from the regional parlament of Kanagawa, Japan, presenting robotics research in the region. Read more in the univerity news (swedish only).
The next big thing
April 8, 2016, Erik is interviewed on the TV4 national news about the future for robots in our homes.
Robot in teaching
Robots can learn from humans, and we can learn from them. March 7, 2016, Erik speaks for teachers in Skaraborg, about robot, learning, and teaching. Read more at www.skovdegymnasium.se.
Emotions in Robots
Together with Robert Lowe, Emilia Barakova, and Joost Broekens, Erik is editing a special issue on Grounding Emotions in Robots: Embodiment, Adaptation, Social Interaction, in Adaptive Behavior, with submission deadline March 1:st.
For social services
A Swedish-African cooperation
November 11, 2015, Erik is invited speaker at the STINT-conference, building future Swedish-African cooperation.
September 28 - October 3, 2015, Erik is, together with Robert Lowe, Emilia Barakova, and Joost Broekens, organizing the workshop at the IROS conference, Hamburg, Germany. The workshop is titled Grounding robot autonomy: Emotional and social interaction in robot behaviour, with the aim of capturing emerging trends and common problems related to the interaction autonomy of social robots.
Research on Friday
Campaign against sex robots
September 15, 2015, Kathleen Richardson and Erik Billing launched a campaign against sex robots. The campaign received a lot of attention and in media, some of which is summarized on the campaign webpage. In Sweden, the campaign has been discussed in e.g. Swedish radio and IDG.
August 24 to 28, 2015, Erik is lecturing at the 2nd International Summer School on Social Human-Robot Interaction, Käringsund, Åland.
Erik is, together with several other colleagues here at HIS, hosting a yearly conference by the Swedish Cognitive Science Society - Swecog. The conference takes place at the University of Skövde, June 15 to 16, 2015. More info at www.swecog.se.
Robot autonomy revised
June 1 to 5, Erik is, together with Emilia Barakova, Robert Lowe, and Joost Broekens, hosting the workshop Robot autonomy revised: grounding emotions and cognitive states in robot behavior at the IWINAC2015.
Therapy with robots
April 27, 2015, Erik visits the BUP at Skaraborg hospital, presenting research on robot therapy for children with autism spectrum disporder.
A visit to Umeå
Fear for the future
January 15, 2015, Skövde Nyheter publish an interview with Erik in response to Stewen Hawking's recent BBC article, warning for AI being a threat to humanity. Erik may not be less worrid than Hawking, but for different reasons.
October 30, 2014, Erik visits Stureplan Youth Center in Skara, Sweden, for a full night out with the robots, and some coffee!
October 14, 2014, Erik presents his paper Modeling the Interplay between Conditioning and Attention in a Humanoid Robot: Habituation and Attentional Blocking at the Forth Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics, Genua, Italy.
The robot that can help children with ASD
June 29th to July 19th, 2014, together with Yulia Sandamirskaya, Erik is responsible for a track of the Telluride Neuromorphic Cognition Engineering Workshop, Telluride, Colorado. The track is titled Planning with Dynamic Neural Fields.
June 17, 2014, our lab had a visit from Balthazar in Skövde, a science center aimed at engaging children in science. A group of kids from the age of 10 to 12 got the opportunity to interact with the Nao robot from Aldebaran.
June 12, 2014, Erik gave a web seminar for the International IT Arcgitect Association IASA. The seminar focused on software architectures for modern robots. Please see the recorded seminar at IASA.
June 2, 2014, Erik and colleges appear in the local newspaper SLA, presenting the European research project Dream. The goal of the project is to develop robot enhanced therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder.
Kjell och klortanten
February 20, 2014, Erik participates in the swedish pod cast Kjell och Klortanten, about robots and environmental effects.
December 23, 2013, Erik appears in the popular news magazine Computer Sweden, commenting the development of intelligent robots. Author: Kenneth Tarre.
Summer School in Social Signal Processing
August 5, 2013, Erik is responsible for a Workshop on social robotics, within the Swecog Summer School on Social Signal Processing (SSP).
This year, Erik takes part in the education days for teachers at elementary and upper secondary schools, held by the Faculty of Science and Technology. October 31, Erik is responsible for a workshop on how to use robots in education.
Research Friday is an event that takes place all over Europe, on September 28 2012. The goal of the event is to give people a chance to meet researchers in new and inspiring situations. Erik participates with a talk about the future of robotics, in Umivatoriet. More information at www.umu.se/forskning/popularvetenskap/evenemang/forskarfredag
Swecog Summer School
Erik attends the Swecog summer school week, August 13-18, with a lecture on the interaction between the fields of robotics and cognitive science.
May 2, 2012, Erik appears in the local newspaper in an article about his past life as a PhD student.
April 24 & 25, 2012. Within the project NOT (Nature and Technology) that brings pupils from elementary and secondary shools to Umeå University, Erik participates with the lecture Vad tänker robotar på?
March 7, 2012, Erik presents his research at the workshop Reading Intentions, organized by Lund University and the Pufendorf Institute.
March 2, 2012, Erik appears in the popular news magazine Computer Sweden, commenting the current and future development in the field of intelligent robots. Author: Anders Lotsson
February 15, 2012, Erik appears in the Swedish magazine Ny Teknik, presenting his research and possible applications. Author: Stefan Nordberg
Februari 6, 2012. The newly baked doctor appears in Swedish radio P4 Jönköping, commenting the Swedish tv-series Äkta människor and the possibilities for real world humanoid robots.
Erik on TV
January 24, 25 and 29, Erik appears in Swedish television SVT Västerbottensnytt, Nordnytt and Landet runt, discussing the future of humanoid robots.
True humans and real robots
January 23, 2012. Erik appears on InfoTech news and Robotnyheter.se, commenting the Swedish TV-series Äkta människor and puts it in relation to the kind of robots that already exist, and may come in the future.
November 1, 2011. Erik gives an introduction to intelligent robotics for teachers within Lärarlyftet.
September 15, 2011. A popular science lunch seminar at Café Station in central Umeå. The theme is: What do robots think about? The audience receives an crash course in intelligent robotics - what does it mean to say that a machine is thinking and how is our society changing when autonomous machines enters our homes, streets and battlefields. More information at Vetenskapslunchsidan. More information atInfoTech.
Workshop at Swecog Summer School
August 14, 2011. Erik is responsible for a workshop on data visualization at the Swecog Summer School. Read more at www.swecog.se.
Joint Statistical Seminar
May 31, 2011. Erik presents his research at a Joint Statistical Seminar. The seminar series is a cooperation between the Department of Statistics and the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics.
Research presentation at the Swecog spring conference
May 14, 2011. Erik presents his research at the Swecog spring conference. Swecog is a Swedish National Graduate School on Cognitive Science and one of the main research networks on cognitive science in Sweden.
Presentations for schools in Umeå
April 7, 2011. Within the project NOT (Nature and Technology) that brings pupils from elementary and secondary shools to Umeå University, Erik has two presentations with the title Fåglar, Fiskar, Flockar och Termiter.
Umestudent för en helg
March 13, 2011. "Umestudent för en helg" let students from upper secondary schools around Sweden visit Umeå University in order to see what it is about. Erik participates with two presentations with the title What robots think about.
Erik on the radio
October 29, 2010. Togeather with the rest of the Intelligent Robotics Group in Umeå, Erik is discussing robots stepping into everyday environments, in an interview byInfoTech Umeå.
December 16, 2009, Erik presents his Licentiate thesis with the title Cognition Reversed - Robot Learning from Demonstration. Read more at cognitionreversed.com.