Timothy Bickmore, Ph.D.
Office: 805 Columbus Ave, Boston Office 524 (mailstop 535 ISEC)
I'm interested in the development and study of Relational Agents, which are computer agents designed to build and maintain long-term, social-emotional relationships with people. In order to use the same myriad cues that people use when relating to each other, I build agents that are capable of emulating face-to-face interaction with people, including the use of hand gestures, facial expressions, and body posture, in addition to speech.
These agents are particularly effective for tasks in which long-term interactions and personal relationships are known to be important, such as in education, sales and marketing, and the helping professions. Of these, I have focused my recent work within the healthcare domain on health education and health behavior change applications. In order to accomplish this, I conduct communication studies of health provider-patient interactions, develop new approaches to dialogue planning that can address both the behavioral intervention and social aspects of the interactions, and develop animated agents that can use appropriate nonverbal behavior in their simulated conversations with patients, as well as conduct clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of the resulting systems.