Tiago Ribeiro

Tiago Ribeiro

AI Animation Scientist & Senior Researcher II

Soul Machines


Lisbon, Portugal

I am an eclectic scientist and engineer who’s major pursuit is the connection between arts and intelligent, interactive technology.

My major work has been on robots that interact with people, in various contexts such as entertainment, education, personal- or labour- assistance, etc. Within those fields, I have accumulated 9 years of expertise in animation and behaviour management technology for autonomous social robots.

Technically my expertise includes programming lower-level software that controls robots, to high-level animation tools and plug-ins that are suitable for non-technical personnel and end-users, such as artists and psychologists, and also all the middleware that is required to integrate such tools and robots with socially-aware artificial intelligence that drives the interaction.

More recently I moved back into the Intelligent Virtual Characters field by joining an award-winning team at Soul Machines, where I’m developing animation systems and technology that allow our digital heros to convey the same Illusion of Life while interacting with humans in smart environments.

In summary, my job is to create technology that allows creating such artificial intelligence creatures.

My connection with the arts is very personal, and is driven in most part by my passion for animation, but also for digital film and photography, three particular fields on which I am mostly self-taught and also explore as a hobby. These creative abilities and understanding, allied with my technical background, have allowed me to stand together with both artists, roboticists, social-scientists and software-engineers, to bring them together and build a bridge between all those worlds.

By working together and in multi-disciplinary settings, we are better able to materialize our imagination into real, physical achievements, and to push all those fields forward into the future.

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Animation
  • Robot Animation
  • Human-Robot Interaction
  • Social Robotics
  • Interaction Design
  • Affective Computing
  • PhD in Computer Science & Engineering, 2020

    Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon

  • MSc in Computer Science & Engineering, 2011

    Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon

  • BSc in Computer Science & Engineering, 2008

    Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon

  • High School, 2004

    Escola Secundária José Estêvão, Aveiro



AI Animation Scientist & Senior Researcher II
Jan 2020 – Present Auckland, New Zealand

AGI company that provides Digital People for a variety of markets

Responsibilities include:

  • Designing and developing the skeletal animation system for autonomous digital humans
  • Working with artists to ensure the animated motion looks natural and is fail-safe
  • Inventing mechanisms that enable autonomous animation of digital characters
  • Establishing directives for behaviour design and selection by AI
  • Providing guidelines for expressive behaviour of emotion and personality by and AI
Data Scientist & Data Pipeline Engineer
Jan 2019 – Nov 2019 Lisbon, Portugal

Smart food company

  • Created custom ETL pipeline using Python from various sources into Google BigQuery.
  • Datascience tasks using Google’s BigQuery SQL, DataStudio and Spreadsheets.
HRI Architecture Consultor
Sep 2018 – Sep 2018 Trollhättan, Sweden

University College

Provided consulting on the HRI architecture aimed at the use of the NAO and Pepper robots

Robot Animation Consultor & Engineer
Dec 2017 – Jan 2020 Lisbon, Portugal
Robot Animation & Unreal Engine Developer
Dec 2017 – Mar 2018 Brooklyn and New York City, USA

Contemporary Art Gallery

Exhibition ‘PLAY’, conceived by the NYC-based artists Urs Fischer, with Madeline Hollander Provided consulting on Robot Animation, development of robot animation tools (Maya, Houdini), and development of interactive behaviour simulation in Unreal Engine.

Technical Direction
Feb 2011 – Nov 2017 Lisbon and Oeiras, Portugal

Reseach Lab

  • Developed an HRI platform for various projects and robots
  • Provided guidance and assistance to various MSc and PhD student project
Research Assistant
Feb 2011 – Nov 2017 Lisbon and Oeiras, Portugal

Embodied Perceptive Tutors for Empathy-Based Learning

  • Research Assistant
  • Architecture Design & Development,
  • Behaviour Management & Animation
Research Assistant
Feb 2011 – Nov 2017 Lisbon and Oeiras, Portugal

LIving with Robots and Embodied Companions

  • Research Assistant
  • Robot Animation System




my Craft Robot

EMOTE project

EMOTE project

embodied perceptive tutors for empathy-based learning

LIREC Project

LIREC Project

LIving with Robots and intEractive Companions

PLAY by Urs Fischer

PLAY by Urs Fischer

Interactive Robotic Installation at the Gagosian Gallery, New York.

SERA Ecosystem

SERA Ecosystem

Socially Expressive Robotics Architecture

Nutty Tracks

Nutty Tracks

Programmable symbolic animation system for robot animation.

Thalamus Framework

Thalamus Framework

Message-passing middleware developed for social robot applications