Research Interests +

  • Robotic Learning
  • Assistive Robotics
  • Assisting the Elderly
  • Cognitive Developmental Robotics
  • Intrinsic Motivation
  • Active Imitation Learning
  • Interactive Learning
  • Reinforcement Learning
  • Robot coach
  • Assistive robotics
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Human body movement analysis
  • Activities of daily living
  • Smart home
  • IoT network
  • Activity recognition

Short Profile

Ensta Associate Professor, Flowers Team, U2IS laboratory, Ensta-Paris
IMT Associate Professor, Informatics Department, IMT Atlantique
CNRS Member of the IHSEV team of the CNRS laboratory Lab-STICC
INRIA PhD in Computer Science with highest honors : active learning based on social guidance and artificial curiosity.
Ecole Polytechnique MSc in Computer Science, Ecole Polytechnique, France.
Osaka University MEng in Adaptative Machine Systems, Osaka University, Japan.

Selected Publications +

Technical Feasibility of Supervision of Stretching Exercises by a Humanoid Robot Coach for Chronic Low Back Pain: The R-COOL Randomized Trial
Agathe Blanchard, Sao Mai Nguyen, Maxime Devanne, Mathieu Simonnet, Myriam Le Goff-Pronost, and Olivier Remy-Neris (2022)
BioMed Research International, 2022, 1--10
[ bib video youtube ]
Humanoid robot coach monitor patients during physical exercises to give them feedback: medical and user evaluation.

Intrinsically Motivated Open-Ended Multi-Task Learning Using Transfer Learning to Discover Task Hierarchy
Nicolas Duminy, Sao Mai Nguyen, Junshuai Zhu, Dominique Duhaut, and Jerome Kerdreux (2021)
Applied Sciences, 11, (3),
[ bib youtube code ]
Active learning combines curiosity with goal-based RL and imitation for hierarchical tasks by automatic curriculum learning.
Using Language Model to Bootstrap Human Activity Recognition Ambient Sensors Based in Smart Homes
Damien Bouchabou, Sao Mai Nguyen, Christophe Lohr, Benoit LeDuc, and Ioannis Kanellos (2021)
Electronics, 10, (20),
[ bib ]
NLP embeddings with bi-LSTM encode context-aware semantic for long-term dependencies in human activity recognition.

A Survey of Human Activity Recognition in Smart Homes Based on IoT Sensors Algorithms: Taxonomies, Challenges, and Opportunities with Deep Learning
Damien Bouchabou, Sao Mai Nguyen, Christophe Lohr, Benoit LeDuc, and Ioannis Kanellos (2021)
Sensors, 21, (18), 6037
[ bib ]
Review of deep learning and traditional algorithms for recognition of activities of daily living from smart home sensors.

Active choice of teachers, learning strategies and goals for a socially guided intrinsic motivation learner
Sao Mai Nguyen and Pierre-Yves Oudeyer (2012)
Paladyn Journal of Behavioural Robotics, 3, (3), 136-146
[ bib code ]
Robot learner combines goal-oriented RL and imitation learning to actively choose what, when to learn, what, when and whom to imitate for multi-task learning by curiosity-based autonomous curriculum learning.

Socially Guided Intrinsic Motivation for Robot Learning of Motor Skills
Sao Mai Nguyen and Pierre-Yves Oudeyer (2014)
Autonomous Robots, 36, (3), 273-294
[ bib ]
Robot learner combines goal-oriented RL and imitation learning to actively choose what, when to learn, what, when and whom to imitate for parametrized tasks by curiosity-based autonomous curriculum learning.

Profile Description

I specialize in cognitive developmental learning, reinforcement learning, imitation learning, automatic curriculum learning for robots : I develop algorithms for robots to learn multi-task controls by designing themselves their curriculum and by active imitation learning. I received my PhD from Inria in 2013 in computer science, for machine learning algorithms combining reinforcement learning and active imitation learning for interactive and multi-task learning. I hold an Engineer degree from Ecole Polytechnique, France and a master's degree in adaptive machine systems from Osaka University, Japan. I have coordinated project KERAAL to enable a robot to coach physical rehabilitation. I have participated in project AMUSAAL, for analysing human activities of daily living, and CPER VITAAL for developing assistive technologies for the elderly and disabled. I am currently an assistant professor at Ensta IP Paris, France and was previously with IMT Atlantique. I also act as an associate editor of the journal IEEE TCDS and the co-chair of the Task force "Action and Perception" of the IEEE Technical Committee on Cognitive and Developmental Systems.

Interested in robotics, artificial intelligence and cognitive science, I try to bridge these 3 aspects in my work, and started working in cognitive developmental robotics. I have special interest in linking research of machine learning, robotic embodiment, child development psychology and neuroscience. I also explore possibilities to make robots adapt to their physical and social environments.
This is why I strive to answer the questions: Can a robot learn like a child? How do children learn? How do human beings or other species learn? Can a robot learn through social interaction with humans?

Old updates up to 2019

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Twitter link
  • 10/03/2023 : Can we replace Kinect v2 by a cheaper RGB-camera for human movement analysis ? Our comparison on a medical dataset for #PhysicalRehabilitation points the advantages of Openpose & Blazepose Check Aleksa's poster @HRI_Conference #RobotCoach #RobotPoppy @DL youtube
  • 30/10/2022 : @SBiomecanique and @SB_Congres : Merci beaucoup pour votre invitation à présenter nos travaux concernant les études cliniques testant notre robot coach de publication
  • 31/03/2022 : Heading to the IMOL Workshop for an invited talk on "Intrinsic motivation to interact with teachers for multi-task learning" on Monday. See you there! #RobotLearning #ml #robotics #HierarchicalLearning #intrinsicmotivation #IA #RL #ImitationLearning publication
  • 14/03/2022: So excited. The medical report & patient-therapist evaluation of the #RobotCoach #RobotPoppy for #PhysicalRehabilitation in clinical trial by @remy_neris @CHRU_Brest @MaximeDevanne @MatSimonnet @IMTAtlantique @GenerationRobot is published publication
  • 8/3/2022 : To transfer knowledge from easier tasks to complex tasks recursively, can the #robot discover the hierarchy between tasks ? How can human demonstrations be beneficial to an #intrinsicmotivation robot? #RobotLearning #ml #robotics #HierarchicalLearning
  • 29/11/2021: How #NLP improves Human Activity Recognition in #SmartHome using #IoT sensors? Damien proposes a #DeepLearning algo with #LSTM and ELMo to recognize Activities of Daily Living in @ElectronicsMDPI publication. #ADLs #NeuralNetworks #MachineLearning #AI #TimeSeries
  • 17/11/2021: At 📅10:00 on 17/11/2021, I will give a talk on "Active interaction between robots and humans for automatic curriculum learning and assistive robotics" at room 405 of Idiap. You can also attend online via the webcast. Thanks @Idiap_ch for the invitation
  • 3/11/2021: Je présenterai notre modélisation de la motivation à interagir comme fonction de récompense de #ReinforcementLearning, pour l'#ImitationLearning et pour un robot coach, 🤖à l'invitation du réseau Robotics research in Nouvelle-Aquitaine 📅29/11/2021 à 13h r4 robotique
Last updated on 2021/12/26
Sao Mai Nguyen