The Joking Computer
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The online version of the Joking Computer is now available.

Rolf Black


I am a research fellow in the School of Computing at Dundee University but work also very closely with the Natural Language Generation Group at Aberdeen University and hold an honorary contract with NHS Tayside as a researcher.

My background is mechanical engineering (I would even go as far as calling it my vocation) and I describe myself now as a rehabilitation engineer. This means I work mainly on technology that can help people with disabilities.

I am from Germany and I did my first degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hanover in 1996.

When I had travelled to Scotland in 1992, I decided that Glasgow is a place worth coming back to. I used the excuse of studying for a Masters in Bio-Engineering at Strathclyde University for a great year in the secret capital of Scotland.

Ever since back then I have mainly worked on equipment for children with cerebral palsy (CP), a disability due to damage to the brain around the time of birth. First, I worked on equipment to support mobility and now on communication.

child using walking support

Child using StandUp

I moved to Scotland for good in 2004 and joined the STANDUP project in 2005, a rather ironical move of the research team to get a German involved to evaluate the joke generator in action. At least I didn’t have to take the blame for the quality of the jokes...

Currently, I am involved in two exciting projects. I am working on a speech generation device that is based on speech sounds rather than text using a joystick as input interface. I am also working on a personal story teller that automatically generates an interactive narrative of your day at school using environmental sensor data and other input. See "Other projects for children with communication difficulties" in this website for more details on these projects.

The best part of the job is working in schools where pupils and staff get to evaluate the technology we come up with.

I live in Fife with my Scottish wife, my three sons and a border collie.

Picture of Border collie

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