Welcome to the Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Lab (SIRRL)

Founded in August 2018 by professors Kerstin Dautenhahn and Chrystopher Nehaniv, the Social and Intelligent Robotics Research group carries out work situated in the fields of social robotics, human-robot interaction, cognitive and developmental robotics and Embodied Artificial Intelligence.

Here you can learn about the group’s journey to discover fundamental principles and mechanisms that can make robots more socially intelligent, as well as enabling them to interact with people in a trustworthy and efficient, but also "natural" and socially acceptable manner - as co-workers, assistants or companions. The goal of our research is to advance knowledge in social and intelligent robotics and to develop robots that can make a positive contribution to human society.


The SIRRL is an interdisciplinary research group. We believe that science and engineering can only advance with a diversity of thought, and inclusion of researchers from a variety of backgrounds and demographics. To make an impact, research should reflect the population who will be impacted by the outcomes of this research. At the SIRRL, we put equity, inclusion, and diversity at the heart of what we do.

We, the SIRRL team at the University of Waterloo, acknowledge that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.


An interdisciplinary research team from the University of Waterloo's Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Lab (SIRRL) has found that people prefer interacting with robots they perceive to have social identities like their own.

This finding was made by a pair of Waterloo professors: Dr. Moojan Ghafurian, based in the Department of Systems Design Engineering and Dr. Kerstin Dautenhahn, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who worked together to conduct new research on human interactions with social robots. These robots possess social abilities and can interact with humans in interpersonal and social manners.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Towards Adaptive Social Robots

Kerstin Dautenhahn was a speaker at the AI for Social Good Stream, part of Industry Day: Co-hosted by Waterloo AI & Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (AMC). Her talk was entitled “Towards Adaptive Social Robots: Integrating Physiological Adaptation in Human-Robot Interactions” and gave a brief introduction into social robotics followed by an overview of the HRI Physio Lib project at SIRRL.