Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics Director and Professor of Robotics at the University of Edinburgh, has been awarded the 2015 Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science by the Principal of the University, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea. The prize recognises an individual or group's work in science outreach including onsite engagement, talks and other public events or through publishing and broadcasting.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.