The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics featured strongly in the Heriot-Watt University showcase of Laser-based Manufacturing, Marine Science and Robotics at the Scottish Government reception celebrating ‘Scotland's Science - Past, Present and Future’. The event was held on Tuesday 8th December at Our Dynamic Earth and was hosted by Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for Science, Learning and Scotland’s Languages; the guests included the Principal, Professor Richard A. Williams.
On 1st December 2015, Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Professor of Robotics in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, concluded a contract signing with Hitachi's Central Research Labs (CRL-CER) in Tokyo, with support from UKTI and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This marks the beginning of an exciting collaboration in the domain of intelligent warehousing and autonomous manipulation robots between the School of Informatics and one of the leading manufacturing giants of Japan.
We are delighted to publish our last Newsletter of the year. Some of the highlights in this issue are:
*Inauguration of our ECR student blog
*Exciting updates on Robotarium equipment
*A brief report on our Edinburgh Centre for Robotics first annual Conference
Earlier today, Prof Sethu Vijayakumar, co-director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, was interviewed by BBC World Service radio about the NASA Valkyrie robot project. He explained why Valkyrie resembles human beings and talked about its use in space exploration, as well as its applications on Earth.
To hear the full interview, please visit: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038f64b
On 3rd and 4th November 2015, researchers from the groups of Nicolas Mansard (LAAS, Toulouse), Jeremy Wyatt (U. of Birmingham) and Matt Howard (Kings College London) visited for two days to discuss avenues for potential collaboration in the area of humanoid control and manipulation. After a presentions from the visiting groups, Edinburgh research staff and PhD students gave a tutorial session demonstrating their humanoid simulation environment, research in whole-body motion planning and locomotion.
On Friday 23rd October 2015, the first Edinburgh Centre for Robotics took place in the James Watt Centre II at Heriot-Watt University. Industrial delegates, academic staff and students (CDT & aligned) attended the event. Professor Peter Corke, from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, opened the Conference with his talk “Why Robots See?”, which highlighted the similarities and differences between human and robot visions, as well as pondered on the future of Robotics in relation to recent advances in Computer Vision.
At the end of last week a large wooden crate arrived at the Robotics Lab at Heriot-Watt University. Since then our team has been busy unpacking and assembling our latest piece of equipment. We are now delighted to share images of the FLASH robot, the latest addition to the Robotics Lab. His unique, mechanoidal appearance allows him to avoid the uncanny valley phenomenon and use gestures, face and the whole body to efficiently express emotions.
Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, who holds a RAEng - Microsoft Research Chair in Robotics and is the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics director at the University of Edinburgh, delivered the first lecture in the University’s Our Changing World series for 2015 on Tuesday 29th September 2015.
The School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh (Robotarium East) has been successful with a Horizon 2020 research proposal, called TrimBot2020. The project will research the underlying robotics and vision technologies and prototype the first outdoor garden trimming robot. The robot will navigate over varying terrain, approach rose bushes, hedges and boxwood topiary, to trim them to an ideal shape.
"Robots that can understand human emotions are being brought into Scottish schools to help with teaching. It’s hoped the machines will be used to assist in subjects such as history or geography – and because they can sense when children are bored, frustrated or unhappy, they’ll be able to adapt their teaching methods in a simpler way to a human tutor."