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."
The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics would like to invite applications from UK robotics research groups to participate in a collaboration using the NASA Valkyrie humanoid robot, funded by an EPSRC Institutional Sponsorship Grant.
This week, three academics from the Robotics Lab at Heriot-Watt University (Robotarium West), Dr Patricia A Vargas (Director), Dr Katrin Lohan (Deputy Director) and Prof Ruth Aylett plus 3 other researchers, Steven Kay, Ingo Keller and Srinivasan Janarthanam, went down to London to give interviews at the BBC and present demos to show their work. They took many robotic equipment, including three NAOs, several e-pucks, one air-drone and Nikita our iCub talking head.
Two Heriot-Watt researchers, Amol Deshmukh and Dr. Srini Janarthanam from the department of Computer Science, recently took two robots into Beeslack Community High School in Penicuik. The researchers, led by Professor Ruth Aylett and Dr Helen Hastie, are part of a large European project EMOTE (www.emote-project.eu), which also has partners in Sweden, Germany and Portugal. The team have been creating a learning environment that includes a socially aware robotic tutor and a large touch table.
On 2nd September 2015, Sky News correspondent James Matthewson visited the Robotarium facilities at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. ‘Jazz’, ‘BLUE’, ‘The Castle’, a Prosthetic Hand, and other robots featured each hour from 9:30, as part of the Robot Revolution week at Sky News.
All six videos from the coverage can be found in our channel's YouTube playlist.
In collaboration with the University of Glasgow, Prof Oliver Lemon, from The Interaction Lab at Heriot-Watt University, and part of the ECR Robotarium facilities, has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding for their proposal “MultiModal Mall Entertainment Robot” (MuMMER). This is a follow-on of their work on socially intelligent robot communication in the FP7 JAMES project. It brings 900K euros over 4 years to the Interaction Lab.