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.