Matej currently serves as Associate Professor at the CTU in Prague, coordinating the Humanoid and Cognitive Robotics group. With multiple humanoid robot platforms, including the iCub baby robot, he established Prague as an important center or research in cognitive developmental robotics worldwide.
He employs the so-called synthetic methodology, or "understanding by building", with two main goals.
The first goal is to understand cognition and its development. In particular, Matej is interested in the "body in the brain": how babies learn to represent their bodies and the space around it (peripersonal space) and what are the mechanisms in the brain. Matej's group builds embodied computational models on humanoid robots to uncover how these representations operate. (see Modeling development for more details)
The second goal are robots that safely and naturally interact with humans. Matej's group develops robots that exploit multimodal information (mostly vision and touch) to share space with humans. Research covers both physical and social human-robot interaction. (see Co-bots and physical HRI)
Finally, Matej and his group specialize in the sense of touch for robots. While for humans, touch is the first sense to develop and most of the time, we are barely aware of it, robots were lacking this sense until recently. Matej's group studies how robots can exploit large area sensitive skin array on their bodies. (see Artificial touch and self-calibration)
Matej received his MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence from Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2006. Between 2006 and 2013 he completed the PhD degree and then served as Senior Research Associate at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, University of Zurich, Switzerland (Prof. Rolf Pfeifer). In 2013 he joined the iCub Facility of the Italian Institute of Technology (Prof. Giorgio Metta), supported by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (iCub Body Schema, 2014-2016). In 2017, he joined the Department of Cybernetics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague where he is currently serving as Associate Professor and leading a group focused on cognitive, neuro-, collaborative, and humanoid robotics.
3.10.2023 Matej was a panelist at the SingularityU Czech Summit.
13.9.2023 Matej giving an invited talk at The 6th International Workshop on Intrinsically Motivated Open-ended Learning (IMOL 2023), Paris, France.
19.-23.6. Matej was an invited lecturer at the Active Self Summer School, Tutzing, Germany.
24.5.2023 Matej Hoffmann and iCub in the main news on Czech TV (Události) - link.
24.5.2023 Interview with Matej Hoffmann about humanoids with skin etc. @ Veda na dosah (in Slovak).
21.10. 2022 Interview with Matej Hoffmann on humanoid robots in Rozstřel @ iDnes TV (in Czech).
12.10.2022 Matej's habilitation lecture: youtube.
14.11.2021 Interview with Matej Hoffmann and our iCub robot featured in Fokus Václava Moravce on the human brain (our part starting at 1:06:23).
30.11.2021 CTU Prague Xmas Robot video: https://youtu.be/wiE7GfN358s. Featuring our Pepper and iCub (robots) and Petr and Lukáš (lab members).
10.11.2021 Summary of recent media presence in the Department news.
10.11.2021 Interview with Matej Hoffmann about the iCub robot in Cool People (in Czech).
28.10.2021 Our robots with artificial skin on Czech TV Planeta YÓ.
18.10.2021 Our iCub humanoid has been presented in several media, including "Zprávičky" on the Czech TV, Czech Radio (Český Rozhlas - Radiožurnál), Novinky.cz, and more than 20 other media - see here for an overview.
19.7.2021 Talk at Towards physical-social human-robot interaction workshop @ Humanoids 2020/2021.
1.7.2021 Two new postdocs joined our group: Sergiu Tcaci Popescu and Valentin Marcel.
15.6. We received the iCub humanoid robot!!! (video)
4.6.2021 Talk at Learning to learn for robotics workshop at ICRA 2021.
21.5.2021 Presenting the IPALM project at the Sino-EU Conference on Intelligent Robots and Automation.
18.3.2021 Brain Awareness Week: Talk "Humanoids with artificial skin: embodied modeling of body representations". (in Czech, recording)
22.7.2020 The Frontiers Research Topic Body Representations, Peripersonal Space, and the Self: Humans, Animals, Robots which I guest-edited is closed with 19 articles; the Editorial and e-book (download from RT page) are published.
3.5.2020 Matej Hoffmann and Petr Svarny in a Podcast on collaborative and humanoid robots [in Czech].
5.2.2020 Matej Hoffmann and Zdenek Straka presented our work at the Human Brain Project summit.
29.1.2020 Interview with Matej Hoffmann in "Control Engineering Czech Republic" [in Czech].
28.1.2020 Matej Hoffmann and Petr Svarny invited speakers at "Robots 2020" - Trends in Automation...
10.7.2019 Invited speaker and panelist at a symposium in Cambridge, UK.
12.3.2019 International Brain Week in Prague: I was part of the panel "Informatics, Robotics, and the Brain" and gave a talk "Humanoids with artificial skin: embodied modeling of body representations". (in Czech, recording of the talk)
29.10.2018: We are partners in a new European research project (CHIST-ERA call) IPALM – Interactive Perception-Action-Learning for Modelling Objects, coordinated by Imperial College London.
17.5. I'm co-organizing a workshop @ IROS 2018: "The utility of body, interaction and self learning in robotics" (website)
8.5.2018 Invited speaker at Morphological and Embodied Computing, Gothenburg, Sweden.
26.4.2018: I was a member of the IIT Co-Aware team winning the KUKA Innovation Award 2018: Real-World Interaction Challenge. See the video.
25.1.2018: Our project has become a Partnering Project of the Human Brain Project.
5.1.2018: I'm the lead Topic Editor for this Frontiers Research Topic: Open for submissions!
3.1.2018: Work with IIT Genoa and Yale University on “Compact real-time avoidance on a humanoid robot for human-robot interaction” has been accepted to the HRI ’18 Conference held in Chicago. [pdf @ arxiv] [youtube video]
14.9.2017: Zdenek Straka and Matej Hoffmann awarded ENNS Best Paper Award at 26th Int. Conf. on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN17) for their paper Learning a Peripersonal Space Representation as a Visual-Tactile Prediction Task.
20.7.2017: Our robot homunculus featured in the Italian magazine Focus and iCub YouTube channel (extended version in our channel). The article is available here: [early access - IEEE Xplore][postprint-pdf].
18.4.2017: A 4-page cover story about humanoid robotics in Respekt 16/2017 (a major Czech weekly journal; larger section available for free at ihned.cz.). Matej Hoffmann and Zdenek Straka interviewed and photographed with robots. A video, plus coverage of the rescue robots in the online addition to the story.
4.5.2016: Tomorrow, Scientific Cafe with two other Marie Curie fellows: Humans & machines in equilibrium.
23.10.2015: The iCub and the iCub Body Schema project live at Festival della Scienza, Genova.
24.10.2014: Our work on iCub kinematic calibration through self-touch was featured in IEEE spectrum: link.