Nhan Tran

Computer Science Ph.D. Student at Cornell University | Former Robotics Software Engineer at Robust.AI | Enthusiast of AR/VR and Robotics

Hi there!

Hi there! I am Nhan Tran (sounds like “Nyun”). I am currently a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Cornell University, co-advised by Professors Abe Davis and Angelique Taylor.

Before graduate school, I had two wonderful years in the industry working on robotics perception and human-robot interaction at Robust AI (check out our robot here). Prior to that, I interned, learned, and collaborated with the amazing teams at Robust.AI, Facebook, Google Nest, and NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

My current research interests include robotics and extended reality (XR, which includes AR, VR, and MR) in healthcare.

Research and INdustry Experience

Robust AI

Robotics Software Engineer II

September 2020 – August 2022

Research Intern

Summer 2020

Mines Interactive Robotics Research Lab

Graduate Research Assistant / Masters Thesis

Summer 2020

Undergraduate Research Assistant



Production Engineer Intern

Summer 2019

NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Lab

Software Engineer Intern

Summer 2018

Google Nest Labs

Software Engineer Intern

Summer 2017

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications, please visit my Google Scholars page.

What’s The Point? Tradeoffs Between Effectiveness and Social Perception When Using Mixed Reality to Enhance Gesturally Limited Robots

Jared Hamilton* and Thao Phung* and Nhan Tran and Tom Williams
ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction | HRI 2021


Get This! ⇓ Mixed Reality Improves Robot Communication Regardless of Mental Workload

Nhan Tran and Trevor Grant and Thao Phung and Leanne Hirshfield and Christopher Wickens and Tom Williams
ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction | Late-Breaking Reports | HRI LBRs 2021


Adapting Mixed Reality Robot Communication to Mental Workload

Nhan Tran
Proceedings of the HRI Pioneers Workshop* at the 15th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction | HRI 2020
*HRI Pioneers is a premiere forum for graduate students in HRI. Each year, the workshop brings together a cohort of the world’s top student researchers and provides the opportunity for students to present and discuss their work with distinguished student peers and senior scholars in the field.


Mixed Reality Deictic Gesture for Multi-Modal Robot Communication

Tom Williams, Matthew Bussing, Sebastian Cabroll, Elizabeth Boyle, Nhan Tran
ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction | HRI 2019


Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality Enabling of Robot Deixis

Tom Williams, Nhan Tran, Josh Rands and Neil T. Dantam
VAMR/HCI International Conference on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality | VAMR, 2018



A Hands-Free Virtual-Reality Teleoperation Interface for Wizard-of-Oz Control

Nhan Tran and Josh Rands and Tom Williams
1st International Workshop on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality for HRI, VAM-HRI 2018


Robots built

Note: Some of these GIF images can take up to 20-30 seconds to load.
I have written in more detail about these and other side projects here. https://www.trannhan.com/projects/

Creative side