Wafa Johal

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Interactive and Intelligent Systems

University of New South Wales

I am a Lecturer at the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales.

Previously I was a researcher at the CHILI 🌶️ Lab and Mobots 🤖 Group at EPFL. I hold a PhD in Computer Sciences from the University of Grenoble Alps. My research aims at creating acceptable and useful assistive robot interactions using social signal sensing, affective and cognitive reasonning and natural expressivity. My latest work has investigated the use of tangible robots in education and rehabiliation.

I am currently the Early Career Academic representatitive for the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the Early Career Academic Network (ECAN) and the ECA Eng. representative at the Faculty Board. I am also the treasurer for the newly created #SydCHI Local Chapter.


  • Human-Computer/Robot Interaction
  • Machine Learning and Reasoning
  • Social Signal Processing
  • Robots for Learning



ARC DECRA Fellowship on Human-centred Robot Learning


A Robotic Handwriting Social Companion


Advancing intuitive human-machine interaction with human-like social capabilities for education in schools

Behavioural Analysis in HRI

Understanding human actions, intentions is key

Behavioural Styles

Generating context aware gestures


Tangible Haptic-Enabled Swarm for Learners


Learning Hanwriting with a Robot Companion

CoWriting Kazakh

A social robot to help the transition from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet in Kazakhstan

Find Your Voice

Helping children’s language understanding through joke telling with home assistant

Robots for Learning (R4L)

Understading the value of robots for leaners


Cognitive and Affective Interaction-Oriented

Recent Publications

The Valley of non-Distraction: Effect of Robot's Human-likeness on Perception Load

Previous research in psychology has found that human faces have the capability of being more distracting under high perceptual load …

Domestic Drones: Context of Use in Research Literature

Domestic robotic entities are on the rise, out of which, domestic drones are taking place in our society as one of the upcoming …

Using Tabletop Robots to promote Inclusive Classroom Experiences

Geometry and handwriting rely heavily on the visual representation of basic shapes. It can become challenging for students with visual …

Swarm Robots in Education: A Review of Challenges and Opportunities

This study reviews published scientific literature on the use of swarm robots for education purposes in the last ten years. It focuses …