Anara Sandygulova, PhD

Department: Robotics and Mechatronics
Position: Assistant Professor
Office: 7e.320
Email: anara.sandygulova@nu.edu.kz
Phone: +7 (7172) 694679

Prior to moving to Astana, Anara obtained her undergraduate and graduate education at University College Dublin in Ireland. Her undergraduate in Computer Science was a combination of two schools: University of California Irvine and University College Dublin. In addition to graduating as BSc (Hons) in Computer Science with First Class Honors, Anara’s final year project received the “Best Project and Presentation” award and she was the 2011 class recipient of the John Kelly Memorial Medal for her exceptional studies.

Having competitively secured a prestigious postgraduate Irish Research Council fellowship for her personally proposed research project, Anara pursued her graduate studies at the School of Computer Science and Informatics at University College Dublin. Anara’s PhD research focused on investigating how children’s perception of the robot changes with age with the aim to create such a robot to adapt to these differences. In particular, her research investigated children’s tendency of gender development on child-robot interaction with a humanoid NAO robot. During her PhD, Anara conducted a series of experiments with more than two thousand children aged between 5 and 16 years old in Dublin. Her paper on this work was invited for a highly selective participation in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) Pioneers Workshop at HRI’2014 in Bielefeld. In addition, for her research and outreach activities, Anara was awarded the prestigious Google Anita Borg Scholarship in July 2014 among Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Anara is a member of EUCog (European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems, Interaction and Robotics) and an Associate Fellow of RobotDoc collegium (the Marie Curie Doctoral Training Network in Developmental Robotics). 

In addition to academic work, Anara enjoys serving the community by introducing primary and secondary school children to Robotics and by encouraging children to study Robotics and Computer Science. 

Anara’s research lies at the intersection of human-robot interaction, machine learning, and ubiquitous  computing. She is interested in addressing social challenges of human-robot interaction by employing a combination of robotics, distributed computing, and psychology techniques to make robots more socially appropriate and acceptable by the end-users.


1. Sandygulova, Anara, Mauro Dragone, and Gregory M.P. O’Hare. “Ubiquitous Robotics Testbed: Towards Adaptive Human-Robot Interaction in Public Spaces”. In: Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments. 2015. [To appear]2. Sandygulova, Anara and Gregory M.P. O’Hare. “Children’s Perception of Synthesized Voice: Robot’s Gender, Age and Accent”. In: Seventh International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR 2015). [To appear]3. Sandygulova, Anara, Mauro Dragone, and Gregory MP O’Hare. “Real-time adaptive child-robot interaction: Age and gender determination of children based on 3D body metrics.” Robot and Human Interactive Communication, 2014 RO-MAN: The 23rd IEEE International Symposium on. IEEE, 2014.
4. Sandygulova, Anara, Mauro Dragone, and Gregory MP O’Hare. “Investigating the impact of gender development in child-robot interaction.” Proceedings of the 2014 ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction. ACM, 2014.
5. Sandygulova, Anara, et al. “Ubiquitous human perception for real-time gender estimation.” Ubiquitous Robots and Ambient Intelligence (URAI), 2013 10th International Conference on. IEEE, 2013.
6. Sandygulova, Anara, and Mauro Dragone. “A portable and self-presenting robotic ecology HRI testbed.” Evolving Ambient Intelligence. Springer International Publishing, 2013. 136-150.
7. Sandygulova, Anara, et al. “A study of effective social cues within ubiquitous robotics.” Proceedings of the 8th ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction. IEEE Press, 2013.
8. Sandygulova, Anara, et al. “Immersive human-robot interaction.” Proceedings of the seventh annual ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-Robot Interaction. ACM, 2012.