When our Pepper robot became a TV star…

The day full of Actor-Robot Interaction

On Monday 19th of February the Human-Centered Robotics team was invited to YLE studios with Pepper. The purpose of the day was to shoot material for Robomestarit television series. Robomestarit is a production that is made in co-operation between Innokas network and YLE. The aim of the television series and online materials is to positively encourage programming in elementary schools, and provide pragmatic materials to support programming related activities in schools and childrens’ clubs. The television series will be broadcasted on television during April-May 2018.

“Where Am I?”

So, Pepper is a star now. Everything went well in the studio and Pepper behaved perfectly, thanks to Kirsikka as Pepper’s operator 🙂 We were hosted by Jyrki Laaksonen (whom you may  know from Pikku Kakkonen), the director of the Robomestarit production. We were warmly welcomed to YLE and we got a chance to work with many nice, friendly and professional people during the day. The atmosphere in YLE studios was just great! Everybody was interested in Pepper and we were surrounded by friendly faces and chat.

“I have never been here before..”

In addition to experiencing the shooting process, it was very interesting to observe Actor-Robot Interaction as well as Director-Robot Interaction in the studio. Here, some comments about this novel type of interaction directly from the actor Juho Kemell and the director Jyrki Laaksonen himself:

“This was my first time working with the robot so that we spoke and interacted together. It was fun. Although with the robot you need to wait until it speaks. With people you can see many things out of the gestures and expressions. But it was fun and worked well. Children and even adults fall in love with this robot.” (Juho Kemell, the actor in Robomestarit)

“It was the first time for me to work with a humanoid robot. Previously we have had visits to see industrial robots. It went now well with Pepper. Maybe required more time than with a human actor. Pleasant experience! It is quite convincing. The eyes look like being present, and it listens, and it seems to take you into account by turning to you and so. Very sympathetic.” (Jyrki Laaksonen, the director of Robomestarit)

And.. Action!!

“It is very cold out here..”

“Oh, are we in space now?”

Actor-Robot Interaction.

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Erno Salminen’s guest lecture on HW/SW degugging

As part of TIE-50506 System Design, Erno Salminen from Nokia Networks gave a quest lecture on HW/SW debugging on Monday Feb 19 2018. Erno got the PhD at our lab in 2010 and when moved to Nokia SoC team has contributed to the new generation ReefShark. In the guest lecture he gave practical examples on the debugging challenges. Interestingly, much attention should be paid on teams collaboration. It no longer holds the saying that if HW team makes a mistake let the SW team fix it. They won’t because of the amount of legacy code – unless it was not really a mistake but a feature not properly used. Erno’s lecture notes are available in Moodle for TUT’s staff and students.

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Person of the Day: University Lecturer Timo Aaltonen

I work as a University Lecturer in the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing. Since, my discipline is the data science, I’m responsible for teaching the all the database courses. As Big data rules the world, I have created a new course called Data-Intensive Programming. Sometimes, I organize seminars on interesting topics, also.

I have a long history in TUT. I started my studies in the late 80’s at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (sp?). I graduated at some point in the middle of 90’s and started the doctoral studies. I had a privilege to get supervision from the living legend professor Reino Kurki-Suonio and professor Tommi Mikkonen. I got my doctoral degree at 2005.

After few years in the Department of Software Systems, I joined Nokia at 2010. Timing could not have been worse. The company was spinning down. The Burning-Platform Speech was given next year. At 2013 I packed my staff and came back to TUT. When I came back, I led research which lead to establishing a apin-off company Wellness Warehouse Engine (https://w2e.fi/). W2E service collects human wellness data (daily activity, weight, the quality of sleep, …), unify it (same units, similar structure) and offer the data via a well-defined REST API to third parties – with a permission from data owner, of course. I’m the CEO of the company.

On the free time my time is occupied by boy scouting. I’m a leader of a cub pack Ahmat (dozen 10 years old boys) in the scout group Tampereen Kotkat. Moreover, I play ice hockey in a hobby club Rangers (formerly Nokia Rangers). I’m an eager but hazardous left wing. I’m also enthusiastic for sailing. However, I’m currently executing a human experiment to test how long one can live without a sailing boat.

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Human-Centered Robotics project and teaching @ TUT

Hey there!

How about a short physical exercise or walking meeting with me? Let’s do it!

We have started a new project around Human-Centered Robotics and UX in Robotics and you can imagine that we are very excited about it 🙂 The goal of the project is to develop competences of TUT and TIE lab on the area of designing robotic systems for the use of human beings, and build strong connections, understanding and cooperation between the competences from the technological side and human-centered design side (inside TUT labs and outside).

During this year, we will teach a completely new course called “UX in Robotics” on the fourth period (you can still enroll :). This new course covers the important aspects of user experience in human-robot interaction and gives students opportunities to apply this knowledge in robotics design. Students will get to know the current research in human-robot interaction, including collaborative robots, social and service robots, persuasive robots and cross-cultural aspects in HRI. The course includes practical user experience and interaction design assignments related to the aforementioned topics. We will also have a visiting lecture about collaborative robots given by Dr. Roel Pieters from TUT RoboLab.

We already arranged a doctoral seminar on Perspectives of Human-Robot Interaction – Social Robots in December 2017. It was a succesful day with invited speakers and hands on concepting work about the the social robotics. The students also had a possibility to familiarize and interact with Pepper and Nao.

From the cultural perspective, it is very interesting to observe for example the distances that people from different cultures prefer when interacting with the social robots, as well as do they approach robots independently or in group. The picture was taken in the seminar on Perspectives of Human-Robot Interaction, December 2017.

During this year, there will also be 2-3 diploma thesis workers doing interesting studies around the topic and working with our social robots Pepper and Nao. Together with students we will do user trials and studies with the robots in the field settings. Our topics include (but are not limited to), e.g. customer service, rehabilitation, learning, cross-cultural factors in HRI and robotic persuasion in the office. Our ways of working are very iterative, agile and flexible – as we learn, then we apply. And we will also have fun, definitely 🙂

The human-centered design and UX research is needed before these guys are released from the cage. The picture was taken in TUT Robolab.

Let’s talk more about it!

Cheers; Aino, Kirsikka, Aparajita, Aleksi, Pepper & Nao – The Human-Centered Robotics Team

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A new course on gamification this spring!

Photo: David Grandmougin

A new course on gamification, TIE-40306 Gamification: A Walkthrough of How Games Are Shaping Our Lives, will be organized for the first time this spring. On the course top experts on gamification will introduce different aspects to the phenomenon that is increasingly apparent and significant in our lives. Description of the course can be found in the study guide.

The course gives a broad overview of how games and game-related technologies shape our lives. The course enables the student to understand and analyze the pervasiveness of games and game-related technologies in different domains of culture and society, how they affect and shape our behaviors and interactions with the world.

After completing the course, the students has an overview of e.g. the following topics:

  • Relevant terminology and background of gamification
  • Theoretical background, e.g. psychological and behavior change related aspects of gamification
  • Design aspects related to gamification
  • Topical areas of
    • Virtual and game economies
    • eSports and other forms of games as work
    • Gamification of media
    • AR and VR technologies
    • Gamification of health
    • Gamification of education

Registration to the course is open until 2.3.2018! Welcome to join!

Jonna Koivisto (teacher responsible)

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Person of the Day: Assistant Professor David Hästbacka


My name is David Hästbacka and I joined the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing in February as an Assistant Professor in the field of software engineering. Some of you might have seen me before as I’m not new to TUT and moved here from the Faculty of Engineering Sciences.

My background is in Automation engineering but my previous research as well as my studies have always been computer science related, and applied to industrial automation and production settings. My doctoral dissertation (in 2013) concerned model-driven (software) development of industrial control applications including domain-specific modeling, model transformations and engineering processes. Before joining Pervasive Computing I was working as an Academy Postdoctoral Researcher in the Laboratory of Automation and Hydraulic Engineering.

My primary research interests are in interoperability and integration of software based systems, and my current research concentrates around a few projects targeting industrial production environments. In the Academy of Finland funded Postdoctoral Researcher project I’m researching semantic interoperability of system interfaces using interface descriptions and mediation techniques. Flexible production environments with cloud, edge and locally deployed data-analytics services are researched in the EU ECSEL funded project Productive4.0. In the TUT coordinated H2020 project COCOP (led by Prof. Matti Vilkko) plant-wide monitoring and control using a coordinating optimization concept is studied. In addition to manufacturing and production, I’m also involved in the Tekes funded project Urban Smart Energy, focusing on developing digital ecosystem solutions for energy consumption awareness and new means to control energy usage on a neighborhood and district level.

I’m looking forward being part of Pervasive Computing and meeting all the people here!


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Person of the Day: Post-doc Valentina Lenarduzzi

Valentina Lenarduzzi is a post-doctoral research assistant in the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing since February 2018.

Her primary research interest is on quantitative and qualitative research in Empirical Software Engineering, with a special focus on software product and process improvement. She has a lot of experiences in designing and conducting Systematic Literature Reviews. She is currently working on prioritizing refactoring tasks, so as to focus on the most “harmful” issues to reduce technical debt in SMEs. Moreover, she is also investigating code smells and architectural smells, so as to understand if they should be removed or not.

She obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2015 at University of Insubria (Como – Italy) working on data-driven effort estimation models for software processes. Moreover, during her Ph.D. She was visiting Researcher at the University of Kaiserslautern and Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE) for 8 months, working on Empirical Software Engineering in Embedded Software and Agile projects. From 2015 until 2017, she was Research Assistant at Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Italy) working on Empirical Software Engineering.

Valentina also has industrial experience. She was one of the co-founders of Opensoftengineering, a spin-off company of the University of Insubria (Italy) in 2011 where she worked as software analyst and on technology transfer. In 2017, she co-found Trippydu, an innovative start-up in Bolzano-Bozen to foster the technology transfer activities in Bolzano.

Living on Dolomites Alps for few years, Valentina get addicted with mountain activities: snowshoeing, trekking, climbing and skiing.

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Person of the Day: Assistant Professor Davide Taibi

Davide Taibi just joined the Pervasive Computing Lab as tenure track Assistant Professor in Software Engineering. He is working on software quality and maintenance with a special focus on continuous architecting. He is actively involved in several empirical studies to understand the reasons why companies migrate to microservices, and how to reduce technical debt, especially when re-architecting monolithic systems into microservices.

He is closely working with companies, supporting them in migrating to microservices. On this field, he received two grants from two local companies in Italy to support them during the migration of their systems. Moreover, he supports developers of local SMEs and micro-enterprises in keeping track of their code quality and identifying potential code issues such as code smells or architectural issues as soon as possible in order to reduce refactoring time and keep the growth of technical debt under control.

Before joining Tampere University of Technology, he worked as assistant professor at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano in Italy from 2015 to 2017, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Kalserslautern / Fraunhofer IESE (Germany) from 2013 to 2014 and post-doctoral researcher at University of Insubria (Italy) from 2011 to 2012.

Davide is largely interested in Technical debt, software process/project management and software architectures. More information, among his list of publications can be found on his website. Davide is a DIY lover, he likes to hack things to make them suitable for his needs. From the home thermostat, to the hack of the pizza oven to back a real Italian pizza.

When off work, Davide enjoys the nature, riding his fat bike on the snow, snowshoeing, trekking, climbing and skiing. Coming from the Dolomites Alps, he is more used to downhill skiing, but he is approaching Nordic skiing and ice skating on the lakes.

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Person of the Day: Assistant Professor Antonis Michalas

Hi there!

My name is Antonis Michalas and I just started working at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) as an Assistant Professor in the field of Cyber Security. I would like to briefly introduce myself and the work I have been doing during the last few years. You can always find more information on my profile on my personal webpage.

Having acquired my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at the University of Crete, I later completed my postgraduate studies at the Athens Information Technology in the field of Information Technology and Telecommunications, where I was awarded a Master of Science. Following, I started my PhD in Aalborg University, Denmark in the field of Network Security with a focus on Privacy, Trust and Secure e-Voting in distributed environments. Later, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Security Lab of the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS) in Stockholm, Sweden, where I was actively involved in national and European research projects and combined research with student supervision and project management. After my PostDoc and up until now, I was an assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Westminster in London, UK. As an assistant professor, I was teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to cryptography, forensics, cyber security and network security. My role expanded to student supervision and research group coordination. In parallel, I was an active member of the department’s project development and research activities. In addition to that, I was leading the cyber security research group at the University of Westminster. As the head of the cyber security research group, I lead research projects focused on network security and cryptography. As a group, we mainly focused on applied research in security and privacy of widely deployed communication networks.

Continuing in this streak of great places to work, I welcome the challenge of working at TUT in order to further develop the University and meet its strategic objectives. Towards the realization of this strategy, I would like to share the following thoughts with you and also highlight the skills that I feel I can bring to the role.

Research Excellence: Current research activities and areas of interest

As a researcher, I have a strong background in diverse fields including combinatorial optimization, design and analysis of heuristics/probabilistic algorithms for difficult to solve problems, cloud computing and decentralized networks, computer and network security and privacy (especially as the latter is rather difficult to achieve in real life…). Throughout my career, I have developed security and privacy-preserving architectures for different types of systems and networks.

Security & Privacy in Reputation and e-Voting Schemes

Most notably, I have introduced a new set of vulnerabilities in decentralized reputation and e-Voting schemes. More precisely, I extensively analyzed existing additive reputation systems that preserve the privacy of individual votes. To this end, I presented a list of attacks that can be applied to all the existing additive reputation systems. This comprehensive list of protocol flaws, demonstrated the inefficiencies of existing systems and provided essential knowledge to protocol designers. By answering questions of the form “Did you know that sort of attack?” they can avoid common pitfalls and design even better feedback systems.

As a continuation of this work, I used this analysis to guide me in the design and development of a secure protocol that preserves the privacy of votes in decentralized reputation systems. The protocol allows n participants to securely cast their ratings in a way that preserves the privacy of individual votes against both internal and external attacks. More precisely, I analyzed the protocol and proved that it is resistant to collusion even against up to n-1 corrupted insiders. The insights I obtained from this analysis allowed me to refine the protocol and come up with a lighter version that is equally secure and uses only standard cryptographic mechanisms. This lighter protocol compares favourably with protocols for secure multi-party sum computation and it is considered as another important contribution of this work.

In addition to that, an important part of my research is not only to prove the correctness of my work by providing a theoretical analysis but also to demonstrate its effectiveness by conducting extensive experiments results. In order to achieve this, I measured the communication delay and processing overhead of the proposed protocols in a real P2P network, showing its superior performance over the previous best protocol at that date.

Security in Cloud Computing – Trusted Computing – Secure Storage

During the last years, I have been working on problems related to security, trust and privacy in cloud computing. My main focus is on two problems: (i) How to ensure that a cloud provider is trusted – meaning that no malicious code is running, and (ii) How to securely store data on the cloud.

To this end, I designed and developed a framework for data and operation security in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds, which consists of protocols for a trusted launch of virtual machines in infrastructure clouds and domain-based storage protection. The developed framework consists of protocols that allow users to establish trust by remotely attesting host platform configuration prior to launching guest virtual machines and to ensure confidentiality of data stored in remote storage.

As a continuation of my work on the secure cloud storage, I have recently started working on providing solutions based on Searchable Encryption (SE) schemes. SE is a promising encryption technique that allows users to store data remotely in an encrypted form and search over the encrypted data without having to decrypt them first.

Other Research Interests

Finally, another important aspect of my research is related to privacy in the e-Health sector.

Healthcare has been slow to adopt IT, especially when compared to other sectors like banking where customer information is also sacred. Lately I have also started looking into problems in the field of Digital Forensics with a focus on Memory Forensics.

Teaching Experience & Student Supervision

During my undergraduate and postgraduate years, I was fortunate enough to study with some great professors who, apart from transferring brilliant academic knowledge, showed me what it means to be a good instructor, set high expectations for all students, be prepared and organized, engage and challenge students and most importantly show interest in them as persons. Mentoring students and contributing to their intellectual growth, for me, is a very rewarding task.

Until now I have gained some valuable experience by teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to cryptography, forensics, cyber security, network security and algorithms. In general, I find it very rewarding to interact with students since some of them will become the researchers of tomorrow and our future colleagues. In this sense, besides teaching, I am always keen on supervising strong students in BSc projects, MSc theses, or PhD research on security and privacy-related topics (e.g., security and privacy in cloud computing, mobile sensing systems, smart-phone security, identity and credential management, location privacy, or more general network security).

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New Tenure Professors and a Post-Doc on SW and CyberSec

Today, we had cake and coffee for a good reason: we had the delight to welcome four new colleagues to strengthen our team:

  • Tenure prof. Antonios Michalas who previously worked in University of Westminister in London. He specializes on Cyber Security.
  • Tenure prof. Davide Taibi and Dr. Valentina Lenarduzzi (Post Doc) both from Free University of Bolzano, in the north of Italy. Their expertise is on empirical SW development.
  • Tenure prof. David Hästbacka who actually moved to our laboratory inside TUT from the laboratory of Automation and Hydraulic Engineering. He focuses on SW engineering of industrial systems.

In the following days, we will introduce our new colleagues in the blog post series Person of the day. Keep following!

Kippis for our new colleagues!

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