Dr Vladimir Ivan and Professor Sethu Vijayakumar are members of the AvatarX team lead by Touchlab which recently qualified for the finals of the Avatar XPRIZE.
Fifteen teams from eight countries have been selected by the Avatar XPRIZE judging panel to advance to the final, which is due to be held later in the USA in 2022.
A team of eight British Sign Language and Tech experts have created 500 words and phrases to help members of the deaf community access education and jobs in Computer Science. BBC Scotland visited the University of Edinburgh Robotic Labs to look at the positive impact this will have on our future generations.
Link to the BBC Scotland interview with Professor Vijayakumar can be found here
A group of CDT RAS students have just returned from two action packed days at the University of Edinburgh’s Firbush Outdoor Centre near Killin. After packed lunch on arrival at Firbush, the Firbush staff briefed everyone about the site and the activities. In the afternoon students spilt into two groups. One went kayaking, starting with a trip up the loch, and finishing with kayak games in the harbour. The other group was paddle boarding and went for a trip in the opposite direction, finishing off with some challenges on the paddle boards.
Our 2021 Annual CDT Conference took place on Friday 1st October when we welcomed 70 students, 30 academics and 34 industry partners to our online event.
CDT Director Professor Michael Mistry opened the proceedings by welcoming delegates to the conference and providing an overview of the activities of the CDT in the 2020/21 academic year.
In recognition of outstanding work to recruit and support gender diverse students, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Robotics and Autonomous Systems has won the 2021 Minerva Informatics Equality Award.
The prestigious award recognises excellence in the encouragement to enrol, and retention of, female students in Computer Science and Informatics programmes.
Kai Yuan, PhD student in the 2017 cohort, has received a Rising Star Award from the UK-RAS network. This award was one of four awards made, and it recognises excellence and achievement by the UK robotics and autonomous systems community during the past challenging year.
Following an open nomination process, the winners were selected by an expert panel from the UK-RAS network's Executive Committee. After receiving their awards, the winners gave an overview presentation to the UK-RAS Robotics Summer Showcase attendees.
On Thursday, 24th June 2021, a tour of the world leading robotics facility at Edinburgh University took place where we welcomed the UK Government Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Amanda Solloway MP.
This was a welcomed opportunity to showcase our strengths in robotics, AI and data science.
Members of the Statistical Learning and Motor Control Group at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with Touchlab qualify for the USA semi-finals.
The Avater XPrize aims to create an avatar system that can transport human presence to a remote location in real time. Dr Vladimir Ivan and Professor Sethu Vijayakumar are part of the AvatarX team led by Touchlab developing a mobile remotely operated robot with a unique capability of touch combined advanced shared control.
How to make robots behave like animals in nature is the subject of a long exploration by robotics experts around the world. Dogs or cats don't put too much thought into how they move. They rely on instinct to adapt to the changes in nature, jumping up and down in complex terrain performing flexible movements. But this is not easy for intelligent robots, such as quadrupeds.
In a recent article published in The Scotsman, Professor Sethu Vijayakumar looks at the potential of robotics in healthcare and explains how the latest advancements might be used in the fight against cancers or lung damage brought on by Covid-19.
The following is a modified version of the article.
Over 630 attendees logged in to watch the full interview between Marc Raibert, Founder and Chairman of Boston Dynamics and Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, and to interactively take part in the live online polls and Q&A session.
Boston Dynamics are leaders in some of the world’s most advanced robots including Spot, Atlas and Handle. The company specialises in robots which can reach inaccessible areas and are able to move more quickly to get the work done faster.
The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has launched six new research projects or, “nodes” aimed at tackling challenges to the development of autonomous systems. These are part of the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) programme which will undertake fundamental, creative and multidisciplinary research in various areas key to ensure autonomous systems can be built in a way society can trust and use.
The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics has been awarded funding for two nodes:
Our annual conference took place online this year, and we found it to be just as engaging and diverse as ever. We were joined on Zoom by four keynote speakers, and about 100 students, staff and industry representatives.
We kicked off with Keynote speaker Professor Metin Sitti from Max Planck institute who did a talk on soft-bodied small scale robotics that featured memorable robots modelled after baby jellyfish.
Professor Helen Hastie and Professor Yvan Petillot have been appointed as joint academic leads of the National Robotarium.
On September 22nd the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and The Alan Turing Institute will be hosting exciting talk with guest Marc Raibert from Boston Dynamics. You can register here.
Turing Lecture: Building dynamic robots
The finale in the Turing Lecture mini-series exploring the role of AI and data science in our lives post-lockdown.
We are pleased to announce the arrival of Talos, a high performance humanoid robot standing at 1.75m tall as the newest addition to the robotics research lab at the University of Edinburgh.
Dr Mauro Dragone, Assistant Professor from Heriot-Watt University is one of the scientists launching the open and remote access living lab to research how to create how to create affordable and socially acceptable solutions for Ambient Assisted Living (OpenAAL).
This project is funded by EPSRC and will run for 10 months, ending in April 2021.
More information on the project can be found here.
UK Government Minister Robin Walker was given a tour of Heriot-Watt University’s world leading robotics facilities as he discussed progress on the creation of a National Robotarium.
The proposed facility, which is supported with £21 million from the UK Government, will be a world-class hub, developing and utilising the next generation of robot technology which has the potential to transform lives, industry and our economy.
Professor David Lane, CBE FREng FRSE, Director of the Edinburgh Centre of Robotics, has been named co-chair of the Robotics Growth Partnership alongside Paul Clarke CBE, Chief Technology Officer at the online shopping and robotics giant, Ocado.
The ministerial appointments were announced recently by the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Chris Skidmore MP, during a series of speeches emphasising the Government's commitment to realising investment of 2.4% of GDP in research and development by 2027.
Students from the Centre successfully hosted the third annual student conference held jointly with the EPSRC CDTs in Bristol, Edinburgh and Oxford on the 3rd and 4th June. Fellow students from Bristol and Oxford arrived in Edinburgh on the Sunday evening and had the opportunity to join on a bus tour of the beautiful city.
RAS CDT student, Christian Rauch attended the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Montreal, Canada from 20th -24th May.
ICRA is the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s flagship conference, attracting 4145 participants from 71 different countries.
Christian presented his recent work on articulated tracking and took the opportunity to discuss his research with others working in the same area.
An interactive touchscreen display has been installed in the Bayes Centre foyer, providing further information about the NASA Valkyrie.
Prof. David Lane joins leaders in business and data privacy organisations, as well as from academia, in his new role on the UK Government’s AI Council.
This is an important time in the evolution and application of this most disruptive and groundbreaking of technologies.
Prof. David Lane
The newly appointed members will help put in place the right skills, ethics and data so the UK can make the most of AI technologies.
RAS CDT student Derek Chun has been awarded the John Moyes Lessells Travel Scholarship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh to carry out research in Japan with Prof. Koh Hosoda of Hosoda Lab, Osaka University. This is an amazing achievement as the scholarship is open to all branches of engineering in Scotland and Derek has suceeded in making his application stand out from all others.
Congratulations to Edinburgh Centre for Robotics student Siobhan Duncan (2016 cohort) who was awarded first place in the ACM SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing Student Research Competition held in Cyprus in April for her work titled “Bringing Stigmergy into the Real World”
Professor Stefan Willliams, Head of School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Sydney visited Heriot-Watt University on Monday 13th May and delivered a seminar on Applications in Marine Imaging.
Robotics research in Scotland is set to further expand with the announcement of a £18m funding boost.
A ground-breaking study is to test new therapies for Parkinson’s disease on robots – replacing the need for animal testing. Over the next year, academics from Heriot-Watt University and the International Institute of Neuroscience in Brazil will join forces on the pioneering study: Neurorobotics Model of Parkinson’s disease. Currently, scientists use rats in experiments to find new treatments but in this study, data already recorded from other animals in Brazil and robots in UK will be used instead.
The RAS CDT is delighted to be hosting the third student annual conference held jointly with the Robotics CDTs in Bristol (FARSCOPE), Edinburgh (RAS) and Oxford (AIMS). The conference will take place at Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities on Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th June. More information about the conference can be found here https://www.edinburgh-robotics.org/cdt-student-conference-3rd-4th-june-2019
Professor Verena Rieser and Professor Oliver Lemon have been named as People to Watch in 2019 in the Digital List in FutureScot, a journal that reports on the digital technology sector in Scotland. The article recognises the team’s research work in the area of AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing and acknowledges that this has enabled Heriot-Watt University to be a top three finalist in the Amazon Alexa Challenge for two years in a row.
The creation of the UK’s first National Robotarium reached a significant milestone on 17th December after its business case was approved by the Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee.
The multimillion pound hub, to be built at Heriot-Watt University in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, will be the UK’s leading innovation hub for robotics and autonomous systems, delivering leading-edge research and support for business creation and growth, as well as data skills.
Centre Academic Mauro Dragone has authored an article in The Conversation on the major opportunities that will be opened up by incorporating robots into the Internet of Things.
The full article can be read here http://theconversation.com/the-next-great-leap-forward-combining-robots-with-the-internet-of-things-108307
Edinburgh Centre for Robotics was delighted to provide the venue for the launch of Girlguiding Scotland’s first digital activity badge designed to encourage girls of all ages to develop the skills they need for their digital future.
The Digital Scotland Challenge Badge was created in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Education Scotland, and aims to empower every girl to make the most of the opportunities technology offers.
Centre academic Professor Helen Hastie and CDT student Paola Ardon Ramirez attended a Universities of Scotland event at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 30th October.
Wolfgang Merkt and research assistants Yiming Yang and Vladimir Ivan are developing a high-performance, high-payload, and high-precision mobile manipulation collaborative robot along with an accompanying AI software platform to target applications such as smart manufacturing. The team is supported by Professor Sethu Vijayakumar as Chief Scientific Advisor.
Our annual conference took place on Tuesday 9th October at the John MacIntyre Hall at the University of Edinburgh. It was attended by over 100 students, academics and industry partners.
Following the success of the first European Robotics League local tournament of the Service Robots (ERL-SR) competition, which was held in January 2018, the Edinburgh Center for Robotics will host its second ERL-SR local tournament, from the 3rd to the 7th of December 2018.
Our social robot Pepper joined and played dominoes at the Dean social club in the LifeCare Centre, Stockbridge. The social club welcomes its elderly members for three half days every week, all of which are packed with social activities, like music, Tai-chi, Dominoes or Scrabble. The mission of the centre is to help Edinburgh’s lonely and isolated over-60’s by providing companionship that is integrated with local communities.
Five of the Centre’s students are currently undertaking internships with organisations at the forefront of AI and machine learning technology.
Andrew Brock is interning at DeepMind, where he is engaged in cutting-edge scientific research involving technologies.
Tatiana López-Guevara is about to begin a four month long internship with Google Zurich.
Boris Mocialov is working with Adobe on a system that will predict project development success at early stages using machine learning.
Dr Patricia Vargas has contributed to an article that has appeared in Refinery29 magazine entitled 'Why There's A Shocking Lack Of Women Working In Science, Tech, Engineering & Maths.' Her experience differed from many other young girls who were actively encouraged to become involved in STEM subjects when she was told that her passion for STEM and robotics as a 'man's career'. However, Dr. Vargas was clear that if someone tells her she can’t do something she wants to do it more! Dr.
Congratulations to RAS CDT student Èric Pairet Artau who won 1st place in the @cdt_plural Twitter competition. Cdt_plural is the EPSRC CDT PIADS & EPSRC/MRC OPTIMA CDT led photography competition and Èric's image, "Those existential questions: to be, or not to be", came 1st in the #cdtfunny category. Eric won a £25 @AmazonUK voucher, @Seagate hard drive, @BIGchats membership AND a framed print!
Heriot-Watt University and the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics was represented in the Future Combat Systems Expo 2018, that took place on the 3rd of July and organized by BAE Systems. This forum was an opportunity for us to present our research and engage with industry to identify the most pressing needs in the area of underwater systems.
To encourage innovation from research underway in the Centre, the CDT has allocated some modest resources to support current RAS CDT students in the preparation of prototype hardware and/or software that could lead to a commercial idea.
Two groups of students are already benefiting from funding from the first round of calls at the start of 2018 with exciting projects progressing well.
Watt Ventures: Bright Ideas is a business pitching competition run by the Enterprise Team at Heriot-Watt University that gives students with early-stage business ideas the chance to win up to £500. To be considered for this award, students are asked to submit a two-minute video of them pitching their business idea.
We are delighted to report that our CDT students Siobhan Duncan and Boris Mocialov, and affiliated student Ingo Keller have been awarded 3rd prize at the Watt Ventures Awards for their pitch for their business idea EduBot – Robotics Education for Kids.
A team of students represented the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics at RoboCup 2018 in Montreal, Canada from the 15th to the 22nd of June.
Team Edinbots competed in the Rescue Simulation League, a challenge where a group of robots navigate autonomously through an unknown disaster environment in search of victims. Edinbots competed against a team from Cambridge University in an exhilarating, fast-paced and tight final set of 4 matches, with Cambridge winning by an extremely narrow margin.
Heriot-Watt University has just been awarded the Herald Higher Education Award for ‘Campaign of the Year’ for Year of Robotics 2017.
ECR member Dr. Stefano Albrecht is guest co-editor of a new special issue on Autonomous Agents Modelling Other Agents, to be published in the journal Artificial Intelligence.
Robotics: Utilities and Beyond organised by the IGEM Scottish Section and IET Scotland South East Network took place at Apex Grassmarket Hotel, Edinburgh. Keynote speakers included Sam Wilson, Head of UK Business Development at ULC Robotics; Wez Little, Innovations Director at Synthotech Limited; Wolfgang Merkt and Joao Moura, from the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.
Dr Patricia A Vargas, Dr Renan Moioli, Dr Micael Couceiro, Prof Josh Bongard and Prof Phil Husbands are leading and organising a special session that will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 8-13 July this year.
The IEEE Special Session on Evolutionary Robotics is part of the WCCI 2018, which is the largest technical event in the field of computational intelligence.
Sethu Vijayakumar appeared at TEDx Glasgow on Friday 1st June, giving a talk entitled 'Sending your robot to Mars? List of things to pack'.
In the talk, Sethu outlined the capabilities that would be required in an unmanned robotic pre-deployment mission to Mars. Three live robotics demonstrations were also included. Students from the centre joined Sethu to assist with the robots.
Dr. Filippo Cavallo with be hosting a joint seminar with University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University. The dates and times are as follows:
Date: Monday 11th June
Place: Room G.07, Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh
Time: 3pm – 4pm
Date: Wednesday 13th June
Place: Robotarium, Heriot-Watt University
Professor Sethu Vijayakumar joined a panel of Scottish leaders at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 16th May in a discussion exploring the aspirations for Scotland in 2030.
During the event, run by Scotland’s Futures Forum and the RSE’s Young Academy of Scotland, a video and engagement project to explore people’s hopes and fears about the changes that would face the country in the coming decades.
We are delighted to confirm that a team of six students from Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR) along with one undergraduate student from Heriot-Watt University has been selected to take part in the final round of the RoboCup Rescue Simulation League - Virtual Robot Competition.
A team of academics from the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics have discovered that robots can make humans sleepy. About half of adults yawn after someone else yawns due to a universal phenomenon called contagious yawning. Volunteers who watched the EMYS android robot that mimicks the sounds and signs of sleepiness found that they too developed the urge to yawn. The discovery could help scientists design androids to help around the home.
CreatED 2018 was a 24-hour hardware Hackathon organised by both the Heriot-Watt Robotics Society and the Robotics Society at the University of Edinburgh. Around one hundred attendees queued outside the Appleton Tower at the University of Edinburgh waiting to collect their t-shirts and wrist bands! Some had backpacks and sleeping bags with them as they had travelled from afar (and even from overseas) to be a part of this great event!
Representatives from sponsoring companies gave workshops and mentored the participants as they engaged with their various projects.
RAS CDT students Siobhan Duncan and Boris Mocialov attended the Dumfries and Galloway Science Festival along with Nathan Todd and Klaudia Kleczkowska from the Heriot-Watt Robotics Society.
Wenbin Hu, Iordanis Chatzinikolaidis, Kai Yuan, and Zhibin Li's paper "Comparison Study of Nonlinear Optimization of Step Durations andFoot Placement for Dynamic Walking" has been accepted to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) on 21-25 May 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.
What if it rains? Indeed, what if it snows or the mist rolls in? Will your autonomous vehicle still be able to guide you safely to your destination? These are the central questions at the heart of the PATHCAD (Pervasive low-TeraHz and Video Sensing for Car Autonomy and Driver Assistance) EPSRC/JLR project conducted by Birmingham, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities together with the engineering team at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
Scotland’s First Minister has welcomed a unique robotics partnership – set to forge strong links between Scotland and China.
The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics has joined forces with The State Key Laboratory of Robotics in Shenyang to work on joint research projects in marine robotics, nano robotics, electric power industry robotics and medical robotics.
Ever wondered what it would be like to have a robot boss or robot colleague? This is just one of the topics raised by the Socially Competent Robot (SoCoRo) team at this year’s Scottish Autism Conference. The event, hosted by the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) on 28th March, gave researchers the opportunity to openly discuss the SoCoRo project aims, and gather feedback from a variety of interested parties: parents of autistic children, academics, teachers, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
As Dr Peter McKenna explained,
Maritime 2050 will be a bold new strategic vision to ensure that the UK maritime sector remains a leading global power, strengthening the UK economy for 2050 and beyond.
Professor David Lane has been appointed to the Maritime 20150 panel by the Secretary of State and will look strategically at the issues that will be of critical importance to the maritime industry, and all the industries it sustains, up to 2050.
A new survey titled "Autonomous agents modelling other agents: A comprehensive survey and open problems", co-authored by ECR member Dr. Stefano Albrecht, has been published in the journal Artificial Intelligence.
A prominent UK Government Minister visited Heriot-Watt University today, to find out more about cutting-edge robotics research.
During the event, the Minister met with academics and was given demonstrations of underwater robots, which are used in extreme environments.
Heriot-Watt University’s reputation for AI and robotics has been bolstered after it was selected as the UK’s only entrant in this year’s $3.5 million Amazon Alexa Prize.
A seven-strong group of PhD students – named Team Alana - will once again go head-to-head with universities from around the world to develop an artificial intelligence software that can understand and respond to human conversation.
Heriot-Watt University Dubai welcomed Professor David Lane to the annual Vice-Chancellor Distinguished Lecture. The prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Lectures invite global leaders of industry, business and academia to share their knowledge and vision with students, colleagues and guests.
Professor Lane FREng FRSE CBE, Founding Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, discussed some of the exciting advances underway in research and innovation, as well as recent successes in commercialisation and international challenge competitions.
Europe’s most advanced assisted living robots were showcased in an international tournament at Heriot-Watt University, this week.
Academic teams from across the continent battled it out in the European Robotics League Service Robot Challenge (ERL), testing robots which aim to assist older people in a care setting.
The competition took place in the University’s custom built 60 square metre real life living laboratory, with researchers testing robots which could revolutionise the healthcare and social care sectors.
ORCA Hub (Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets) is a £36M programme aimed at addressing the offshore energy industry vision for a completely autonomous offshore energy field. The Hub brings together internationally leading experts from five UK universities with over thirty industry partners led by the Edinburgh Centre of Robotics in collaboration with Imperial College, Oxford and Liverpool Universities.
Three of our RAS CDT students exhibited some of our robots at the IET headquarters in London as part of the Festival of Engineering in October. Siobhan Duncan has written about the experience:
Vibhav Bharti, James Horn and I travelled to the Institute of Engineering and Technology’s headquarters in London to represent the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics at their recent Festival of Engineering.
Academics and students from the Centre along with guests from industry attended a reception hosted by Gordon MacDonald, MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 8th November to celebrate Heriot-Watt’s ‘Year of Robotics’.
Professor Oliver Lemon, Director of the Interaction Lab at Heriot-Watt University, outlined how the Centre’s research is contributing towards the UK’s drive to realise its industrial potential in the rapidly evolving robotic sector. He also shared the University’s success in the Amazon Alexa Challenge to date.
Our annual conference took place on Wednesday 11th October at the Informatics Forum at the University of Edinburgh. It was attended by over 100 students, academics and industry partners.
Professor Sethu Vijayakumar will be a keynote speaker at the IGD Leaders Forum on 18th October in London. The topic for discussion will be Artificial Intelligence in the food industry and will comprise of the following:
Automation is accelerating in food and grocery. Will this promote productivity and prosperity or will it feed the fires of discontent and rebellion?
- Is AI about to transform the business world?
- Is it any different to previous waves of technology?
- What ethical challenges will it present?
We are delighted to announce the arrival of three new academics to our fast-growing centre. We would like to welcome Dr Lynne Baillie, Dr Hakan Bilen and Dr Thusha Rajendran and all of the experience and expertise they will bring to the Centre.
Dr Lynne Baillie
Lynne is based in the department of MACS at Heriot-Watt University. Her reseach interests are Health and Rehabilitation Technologies & Robotics, Mobile Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Human Robotic Interaction (HRI).
We would like to welcome Dr. Stefano Albrecht as a supervisor for the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics! He is the new Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence in the School of Informatics at The University of Edinburgh. His main research interests are in the areas of autonomous agents, multi-agent systems, machine learning, and game theory, with a focus on sequential decision making under uncertainty.
Ioannis Konstas recently joined as an assistant professor at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. His main research interest focuses on the area of Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Generation (NLG) with an emphasis on data-driven deep learning methods.
Before that he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, Seattle, collaborating with Prof. Luke Zettlemoyer (2015-2017).
The Robots for Resilient Infrastructure Competition was an International Robotics Challenge Event held at the University of Leeds June 27-28, 2017.
Wolfgang Merkt, Yiming Yang, Theodoros Stouraitis, Christopher Mower, Maurice Fallon and Sethu Vijayakumar
The Centre is delighted to welcome Dr Sen Wang to the academic team based at Heriot-Watt University. Dr Wang's research interests include localisation, navigation, robotic vision, SLAM, autonomy, robot learning.
An inter-disciplinary team, involving students and academics from across Heriot-Watt University, took the CBBC channel by storm on Thursday 10th August with an appearance on the long-running magazine programme, Blue Peter.
A group of PhD students from Heriot-Watt University are the only team from the UK to be chosen as one of three finalists in Amazon's $2.5 Million Alexa Prize.
Helen Hastie has recently been appointed Professor at Heriot-Watt University. Helen was promoted to full Professor in the Computer Science Department of the School of Mathmatics and Computer Sciences (MACS). Helen is currently on a Leverhume fellowship looking into explainable AI and trust for interactions with autonomous systems. Congratulations Helen!
Congratulations to Verena Rieser who has recently been appointed Professor in the School of Mathematics and Computer Sciences (MACS). Verena was promoted to full Professor at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, where she leads the NLP research group on Spoken Dialogue Systems and Natural Language Generation. She received her PhD in 2008 from Saarland University and joined Heriot-Watt University in 2011 as Assistant Professor/ Lecturer. She currently serves as a faculty advisor for the Amazon Alexa Challenge and as an area chair for ACL 2017.
Researchers, end users and technology developers attended the International Workshop on Robotics (IWR 2017) which took place on 30th and 31st March at the University of Campinas (Unicamp), São Paulo, Brazil.
This workshop, with a theme of “Robotics and automation: uncovering recent developments and applications on energy, industry, environment, agriculture, health and social settings” was organised jointly by Dr Patricia Vargas from Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and Professor Ely Carneiro de Paiva, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Unicamp.
The Robotics and Interaction Labs at Heriot-Watt University hosted a joint Open Day on Wednesday 21st June. The Open Day included two keynote speakers: Dr Verena Rieser from the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt and Dr Mary-Ellen Foster, a Lecturer in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow.
Dr Rieser discussed "Data-driven methods for spoken dialogue systems" and Dr Foster presented on "Face-to-face conversation with socially intelligent robots".
On Monday 19th June 20 participants joined Dr. Mauro Dragone for an interactive workshop focused on examining robotic and ICT solutions for healthy ageing and assisted living.
The Centre was delighted to welcome Mr. Hu Chunhua, Party Secretary of CPC Guangdong Committee, and Mr. Wen Guohui, Mayor of Guangzhou City, as part of a delegation visiting our facilities at Robotarium-East on Monday the 12th of June. Our Centre Director, Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, gave our distinguished guests a presentation including an overview of our research at the ECR and there were demonstrations of Valkyrie, our Humanoid Robot from our NASA partnership, our Husky UGV and our PR2 Humanoid.
The ERF2017 Organising Team is very proud to announce that they have been awarded the Outward Looking category in the 2017 Spirit of Heriot-Watt Awards. This award recognises the huge amount of effort the team put into organising and delivering the highly successful 2017 European Robotics Forum which reached over 800 delegates from academia and industry.
ERF2017 Organising Team:
After many months of planning it was with a great sense of achievement that we welcomed over 800 delegates to ERF2017 which took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from 22-24 March. This three day conference, featuring seminars, workshops and an exhibition, is the premier European Robotics forum; a meeting place for robotics in Europe, bringing together researchers, engineers, managers, and a growing number of entrepreneurs and business people from all over Europe.
Researchers from Statistical Machine Learning and Motor Control Group have recently received boost in funding from various sources to further their study on novel solutions for automated supermarkets and warehouses.
Three grants awarded to the group will support the work to tackle challenges in dynamic motion planning in pick and place tasks in such cluttered environments.
Are you passionate about robotics?
Would you like to work on exciting robotic platforms in our world-class facilities?
Do you have, or expect to obtain, a first-class degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or related subjects?
We are now recruiting for September 2017.
If you would like to join our ambitious CDT, please apply here : http://www.edinburgh-robotics.org/apply
Our centre director David Lane will be the guest of honour at Policy UK's event - The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Future: Putting Britain at the Forefront of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The event will be held in London on November 23rd and will see David, lead author on the RAS2020 UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Strategy speak on Next Steps for Implementing the Robotics and Automated Systems 2020 Strategy.
On Thursday 13 October 2016, the second Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Conference took place at the Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh. Industry partners, academic staff and students attended the event which was kicked off by Professor Chris Atkeson’s engaging keynote talk: ‘What next for humanoid robotics?’
Centre directors David Lane and Sethu Vijayakumar provided an overview of the Centre’s activities over the last year as well as introducing the new cohort of students.
Congratulations to Dr Patricia Vargas who is included in Robohub’s fourth annual ‘25 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About‘ list, complied in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day.
Patricia Vargas is the Founding Director of the Robotics Laboratory and Associate Professor/Reader in Computer Science and Robotics at the School of Mathematical and Computer Science (MACS) at Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Professor Vijayakumar, ECR Director, will be one of the high profile speakers headlining the biggest showcase of UK-India Technology in sectors ranging from Agriculture, Life Science, Healthcare, Smart Cities, Advanced Manufacturing and of course, Robotics being held in New Delhi on Nov 7-9, 2016. ECR affiliated student, Aga, and enterprise fellow, Sandy, will showcase live demonstrations of their research at the high profile exhibition venue.
Edinburgh Centre for Robotics academic Mauro Dragone spoke at ScotSoft 2016 on the 8th October 2016 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Dr. Dragone illustrated the potential of building an Internet of Robotic Things, and discussed the artificial intelligence and software engineering issues associated with its realisation.
Our director Sethu Vijayakumar has been interviewed for The Royal Society of Edinburgh 'Quiz a Whiz' YouTube video series.
Find out what made Sethu interested in robotics, his research and what he thinks will be the next big thing.
Dr Patricia A. Vargas was invited to write a blog for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering website on ethics and robotics.
The blog can be found here:
On 25th May Professors David Lane and Sethu Vijayakumar were invited by the Society of Petroleum Engineers DSATS (Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section) to present their thoughts on how robotics could address some of the challenges faced by the drilling industry.
Of particular interest to the audience was the adoption of automation in drilling, such as remote operation, underwater vehicles, human-machine interface, machine learning, visualization and analytics.
"Do you know a disruptive technology when you see it? The answer is no..."
ECR Director Professor David Lane was invited to London to participate in a round-table discussion on the implications of disruptive technologies, and how best to embrace them. The discussion took place on 6th May, and was in association with defence technology industry leader BAE Systems.
On May 4th, BBC journalists and crew came to the Robotarium East at the University of Edinburgh to report on our NASA Valkyrie Project for a special BBC News feature that was live streamed on the BBC Facebook page at 6pm.
This year, the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics took part in a number of events at the Edinburgh International Festival (26th March - 10th April). Below, we detail our activities during these past few weeks.
James Garforth, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics student, organised the events Robot Lab and Technologies of the Future, Today. Robot Lab ran from 26th to the 30th March in the National Museum of Scotland and consisted of a series demos that showcased the research carried out at the Centre by current students. Technologies of the Future, Today took place on 30th March in Summerhall. Carson Vogt, Iris Kyranou, Agamemnon Krasoulis, Sandy Enoch and Wolfgang Merkt gave talks about robots and showed some demos.
On Thursday 31st March, the British Consulate General Boston and UK Trade & Investment organised panel sessions with UK roboticists and leaders from the New England robotics community. The three-panel sessions covered the role of robotics in healthcare, autonomous systems, and defence applications.
Lloyd’s Register Foundation has identified Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) as a key technology that impacts on the Foundation’s core objectives and has therefore commissioned a team led by Professor David Lane , Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Director, to produce a Foresight Report.
Edinburgh Centre for Robotics is pleased to announce that next year’s European Robotics Forum will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 22nd to 24th March 2017. The Centre's application to host this event was approved early January this year by EU Robotics.
Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Director, Prof Sethu Vijayakumar, is one of the three judges for the 2016 BBC Robot Wars alongside:
The morning of monday 29th February 2016, Valkyrie, NASA's R5 Robot, arrived in the School of Informatics. The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Valkyrie team, Professor Vijayakumar, Dr Fallon, Dr Vladimir Ivan, and PhD students Wolfgang Merkt, Marco Caravagna, Simona Nobili and Yiming Yang welcomed the NASA crew and set up the lab for the new addition to the Robotarium East. The Valkyrie is not ready for display and demos yet, but further information will be provided soon.
Last Wednesday 24th February, Professor Sethu Vijayakumar and PhD students, Alexander Enoch (Edinburgh) and Iris Kyranou (Heriot Watt) were live on BBC micro:bit Live Lesson at 11-11.45am . Professor Sethu Vijayakumar gave an insight of the Valkyrie robot that arrived in Edinburgh last Monday 29th February 2016. Alexander Enoch and Iris Kyranou demoed some of the robots that are part of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Robotarium East, such as the prosthetic hand.
Will robots take over our jobs in the near future? Will the rise of robots lead to a decrease in human cognitive abilities? These are some of the questions the audience asked at the public debate “How Will Robotics Reshape Our Lives in the Next Two Decades”, an event co-organised by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and the British Science Association last Thursday 4th February 2016 at the Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh.
Marian Andrecki, MSc by Research student at Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, was shortlisted for the finals of the Man AHL Coder competition. The top eight entrants have been invited to the Man AHL office in the City of London on 12th February 2016 for the final ‘Code Off’ to establish the winner of the competition and the £5,000 prize. Marian said,
The team at Edinburgh Centre for Robotics was delighted to welcome Professor Michael Beetz to Edinburgh last week. Professor Beetz is a professor for Computer Science at the Faculty for Mathematics & Informatics of the University Bremen and Head of the Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IAI). IAI investigates AI-based control methods for robotic agents, with a focus on human-scale everyday manipulation tasks.
Professor David Lane, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering in Heriot-Watt’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, has been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Engineering in the 2016 New Year's Honours list.
On 13th November 2015, Professors David Lane and Sethu Vijayakumar, Directors of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, both talked at The Royal Society event: "Robotics and Autonomous Systems – Vision Challenges and Actions".
Professor David Lane gave a lecture on 'Creating Innovation from Invention: the UK RAS strategy and lessons from marine robotics'. Professor Sethu Vijayakumar's lecture was on ‘Shared autonomy for interactive robotics: closing the loop’.
On 7th October 2015, Professor David Lane, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, talked about "Persistently autonomous robots – from invention to innovation and lessons from marine robotics" as a keynote speaker at the "Robotics in Extreme Environments: The fundamentals of developing advanced robotics applications". The Conference was held at the University of Birmingham. Professor David Lane talked about
Congratulations to Dr Patricia Vargas’s IEEE Ontologies for Robotics and Automation working group. They were awarded the IEEE-SA Emerging Technology Award at a ceremony on Sunday 6th December.
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.
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 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.
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.
We are delighted to issue the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Newsletter for August 2015.
Read about upcoming events, latest news, Robotarium equipment (available to all researchers across the UK) and more!
We hope you enjoy it!
Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh are delighted to be founding members of the newly-launched EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network).
The Network will bring together the UK’s core academic capabilities in robotics innovation under national coordination for the first time and encourage academic and industry collaborations that will accelerate the development and adoption of robotics and autonomous systems.
We are delighted to publish the first edition of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Newsletter. We hope you enjoy finding out about what we do at the Centre. We'll publish the ECR newsletter bi-monthly so keep an eye out for our next newsletter in August.
On Monday 18th May, Professor Nick Taylor escorted a delegation from the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy led by its Head, Minister Counsellor Jin Xu, on a tour of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics at Heriot-Watt University. They were accompanied by Ruth Moir, Heriot-Watt’s Assistant Principal (International Development) and James Brodie of the China Britain Business Council.
At the beginning of March The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics played host to the BBC's Science editor, David Shukman. He visited both the Heriot-Watt University and University of Edinburgh sites, and got a taste of our current research. It was a great way to showcase the facilities, technology and research that the centre has to offer.
The BBC spent time with a number of academics associated with the centre with Centre co-director Professor David Lane explaining that there is ''a global race to be the country that develops the best smart robots".
In February of this year, Professors David Lane and Sethu Vijayakumar, Directors of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics spent a week in Japan, a visit organised by The British Embassy’s Science and Innovation department. The visit's main objective was to highlight the strength of UK institutions, industries and start-ups to the Japanese market.
Dr Patricia Vargas, Outreach and Public Engagment lead at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, has just secured funding from The Royal Society-Newton International Exchanges (Newton Fund) Scheme.
This will support her work which is in collaboration with the Brazilian Neuroscience Institute .
Research on Robotic Fish and New Advanced Robotics
On Thursday 18th December, the 2014 Christmas Lecture for the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics at Heriot-Watt University, "Human Selves/Robot Selves", was delivered by Tony Prescott, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield and Director of Sheffield Robotics.
CDT Open Day – 27 February 2015, 12:30 - 16:00
Whether you’ve already applied or plan to apply to the CDT in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, come along to the CDT Open Day at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. Meet the directors and current students, learn more about the programme, and have the opportunity to have your questions answered.
Profs Ruth Aylett and Nick Taylor in School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University host Prof Hiroshi Ishiguro
The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics held its official launch event on Monday 22nd September 2014, at the Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh. The launch began with a keynote lecture from Professor Andrew Blake, Laboratory Director at Microsoft Research, who spoke on the history of robotics development at Edinburgh-based universities and the challenges and opportunities the new Edinburgh Centre for Robotics faced.