Project Team

Development Manager

Kimmo Vänni

Mr. Kimmo Vänni works as the Development Manager of Tampere University of Applied Sciences. He holds M.Sc degree in mechanical engineering, M.Sc degree in well-being technology (biomechanics), executive MBA degree in international business and B.Sc degree in construction engineering. He currently researches and writes his doctoral thesis in occupational health regarding employee performance.

During the last twenty years he has participated various R&D projects including e.g. virtual reality and game research, business model planning and biomechanics studies. He spent an academic year 2009-2010 in Japan at Miyagi University where he met social robotics professionals. His 10-year research experience regarding human performance, productivity loss studies as well as engineering background and knowledge of social robotics gives a good starting point for an innovative social robotics development projects.

Contact info: | tel. +358 (0) 50 320 9573

Project Manager

Rod Walsh

Rod Walsh is an accomplished researcher and innovator in communications and human-centered technology. He is working on human and machine interaction in smart spaces, as well as distribution and virtualization at several layers of the computer networking and interactions stack.

Leading preparation Social Robotics project within the RICTI program (TEKES Reestablishing ICT in Finland) funded by government, Nokia and other industry. Investigating healthcare, wellness, education and entertainment applications. Researching affective, NUI, SOA and robotics technologies; with human-centered approaches, and leading architectural design. Full ecosystem engagement: from established industrial partners and research groups, to the innovation & start-up talent and student projects & competitions.

Contact info:

Project Coordinator

Marion Boberg

Ph.D. In Psychology, Senior User Experience Researcher. Marion is very social and motivated team player, who enjoys working with multidisciplinary and multicultural team. Keen on learning and trying out new methods to get the best of the User Experience.

She has a passion for innovations and creativity, co-author of several patent applications related to UI and Mobile services. Currently working with a team of talented people on developing a killing physio-training application for android, which aims to ease the communication between physiotherapist practitioners and their patients, throughout the reeducation process.

Contact info: | tel. +358 (0) 50 421 0506

Project Designer

Piia Tarnanen

M.Sc. (Health Sciences), a professional physiotherapist with a specialization in geriatric care. her professionalism helps us to focus on developing a robust database for the professionals interested in buying our future product.

She has worked with many different kind of projects in TAMK and also as a physiotherapist in health-care centers, old people's home, sheltered home and a hospital which is specialized for joint replacements. Piia is interested in social robotics, because it's a relatively new and promising innovation area: social robotics can be used for activating people for rehab and health care and for entertainment. She hopes social robotics to find or take place in real life contexts i.e. in (older) people’s homes or service homes, where health care professionals can used social robotics to help them with their important work.

Contact info: | tel. 050 409 4838

Architect & AI Guru

Csaba Kertész

Technical Lead and Artificial Intelligent Specialist, Csaba Kertész received his BSc degree in Computer Sciences focused on Artificial Intelligence from Budapest Tech and MSc in Computer Sciences from University of Szeged, Hungary. He is a Lead Engineer at Vincit Oy and works for Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) in an Architect/AI Guru role in Tampere, Finland.

His research interests include image processing in robotics, behavior-based systems and specialization in Sony AIBO robot dog. Csaba’s main hobby is the artificial intelligence. He has an open-source project which tries to build a new AI for AIBO from scratch, the robot dog of the Sony. This work involves multiple expertises: Qt, image processing, machine learning, network communication, GUI interfaces, AIBO, URBI, Aperios.

Project Designer

Jaakko Rohunen

Jaakko Rohunen is a really talented game designer, and our Unity Master!

Contact info:


Mikko Muhonen

Software Architect & Developer Mikko Muhonen is a student at TUT focusing on software engineering and hypermedia. He's experienced on multiple technologies and frameworks including and specialises on integration and finding solutions to uncommon problems. In Social Robotics team he's leading Android development and Unity integration. Previously in project he's been working on J2EE and WebRTC. Mikko is also passionate on game development and related technologies.

Contact info:

Subcontract Team Members

Business Development

Michael Haralson

Michael Haralson is a native of San Diego, California and has been in Finland over 20 years. As a person who has a solid techno-economic background, he feels at ease discussing hi-technology as well as how to “package” that technology for business markets & customers. He has extensive experience in business, having held leading positions in product marketing, sales & solutions selling, strategy and business development during his 16 years working for Nokia. Finding growth markets as well as developing plans to reach multiple customer segments with those markets is his strength. Michael has a great passion is for robotics & mobile phone technology.


Heidi Mäenpää

Heidi Mäenpää is a Media student at TAMK who specializes in Game Design and Animation. She is currently doing her Final Thesis game project which aims to create awareness of the hard of hearing gamer community and help game companies take their needs into consideration with cost-effective solutions. Heidi is experienced in creating UIs, 3D models, 2D&3D animations and marketing materials. In the current project she is responsible for the overall appearance of the the app and creating marketing videos. She also works on the UX design together with the other team members.

Contact info: |


Riikka Panu

Master of Science in Technology and Artisan in Handicraft Design and Production, Riikka Panu has strong background in telecommunication software Research & Development and also in Teaching. Main work items in this project are Social Robotics Appearance Questionnaire and Requirement Documentation, also participates in Customer Training Material and Marketing Material creation.

Contact info:

Paper Robot

Print & Fold

Take a look at our adorable paper robot. Here you can download an print our brochure and turn it into a paper robot.

Robot & brochure designed by Essi Kannelkoski.


Our projects run within the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) projects organization. TAMK RDI collaborates with TAMK's teaching departments although we are mostly independent of them.

We are based in the beautiful small city of Tampere in Finland, surrounded by forest and lakes and immersed in ITC and nature. With 10,000 students at our university and a further 30,000 students at the three other universities in Tampere (TUT, UTA, and Tampere University Hospital TAYS).

Social Robotics

We have had Social Robotics related projects at TAMK for a few years as part of two of TAMK RDI's three strategic focus areas (Health and Wellbeing, and Intelligent Machines Technologies). During 2012 and 2013 our largest related project is RICTI Social Robotics (the source of these web pages).

We also collaborate with Educational programs (so far at TAMK and TUT, and through the excellent Demola initiative), and other research projects in Tampere (e.g. forestry, HCI and gaming related).

Social Robotics at TAMK covers a broad area of health and entertainment applications, and affective and assistive technologies. Naturally, specific project focus on more specific cases. Please have a look at our news and projects for more information.

We collaborate with several universities, large enterprises, SMEs and 3rd sector (health) organizations, and partner for specific projects. We are always happy to welcome new contacts, ideas and opportunities to collaborate with other who share and improve our vision and ambitions.

This is a rewarding and fun field to work in, with immense potential for social and commercial benefits. And we feel privileged and humbled to have the opportunity to work and work with others on Social Robotics.