José Santos-Victor

José Santos-Victor

Full Professor,
Electrical & Computer Engineering,
Instituto Superior Técnico,
Institute of Systems and Robotics.



My research interests are in the areas of computer and robot vision, to address two questions:  (i) how to develop artificial (robotic) systems that use vision and other sensing modalities to make sense of the world around them and (ii) to investigate, model and understand how vision is used in biological systems like insects or humans.

One example is vision based-navigation, motion perception and control, including how to use video imagery in closed loop for mapping and control of land, air and underwater vehicles. It often requires the design of task-specific camera geometries, like omnidirectional and space variant cameras. This research draws inspiration from biology where evolution has lead to specialized and sophisticated solutions (both eye design and processing) adapted to the behaviour of the various species (e.g. compound eyes, foveal cameras).

Another main area of research is cognitive humanoid systems. Together with neuroscientists and developmental psychologists, we aim to understand human cognition, sensorimotor coordination and learning, as well as to design robotic systems with learning and adaptation capabilities. Flagship projects have addressed the models of mirror neurons to enhance the ability of human action recognition, imitation and programming by demonstration. We have proposed a model of object affordances that improves a robot’s ability to manipulate objects, ground language and choose tools that are adequate to a given function.

Contact me if you are interested in working in some of these topics.

Publications & Projects Check: [GoogleScholar] [Research Gate] [DBLP] [Microsoft Academic Research]
My publications and projects are also available from the Vislab's Web Page.


I am the coordinator international PhD Program RBCog - Robotics, Brain and Cognition, funded by FCT. I am the coordinator of the RBCog-Lab research infrastructure that was selected to be part of the Portuguese Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.


PhD: [Computer Vision/ spring semester]


Ph.D.: Sofija Spasojevic, Atabak Dehban.


Ph.D.: Ravin de Souza (2016, co-supervised  w/  Aude Billard, EPFL)
         Luka Lukic (2015, co-supervised  w/  Aude Billard, EPFL)
         Bruno Damas (2014),
         Sebastien Gay, (2013, co-supervised w/ Auke Ijspeert, EPFL)
         Jonas Hornstein, (2013),
         Jonas Ruesch, (2013, co-supervised w/ A. Bernardino, IST)
         Ricardo Beira, (2013,  co-supervised w/ Hannes Bleuler, EPFL)
         Plinio Moreno (2008),
         Manuel Lopes (2006),
         Raquel Vassallo (),
         Alexandre Bernardino (2004),
         Nuno Gracias (2003),
         José Gaspar (2003),
         Etienne Grossmann (2002), 
         Niall Winters (2001), 
         César Silva (2001).

M.Sc.: Alexandre Bernardino, César Silva, Vitor Costa,
Nuno Gracias, Raquel Vassallo, Sjoerd van der Zwaan.
Ricardo Marranita, Alpesh Ranchordas.

Job offers

We regularly hire researchers and PhD students interested and experienced in different topics of computer vision and robotics. Email me if you're interested to learn about work and research opportunities. 


Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, IST, 1995.
M.Sc., Electrical and Computer Engineering, IST, 1991.
Licenciatura, Electrical and Computer Engineering, IST, 1988.


Prof. José Santos-Victor, email
ISR - Torre Norte,
Instituto Superior Técnico,
Rovisco Pais,
1049-001 Lisboa,

Tel.: +351 21.8418.294
Fax.: +351 21.8418.291