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Research seminar on “Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects”, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca, University of Birmingham

On Wednesday 3rd June 2015, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca from the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, will give a research seminar in the School of Computer Science. Everyone is welcome!

When: Wednesday 3rd June 2015 @ 4:00pm
Where: MC0024, MHT Building


Title: Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects

Softness is the subjective impression of the physical deformability of an object. When we interact with a deformable object like a pillow, sensory signals from multiple sense modalities provide information related to its compressibility (i.e. proprioceptive position, tactile force, visual deformation). Such signals dynamically depend on the way we interact with the object. Our brain has specialised mechanisms that processes this information to create a coherent perceptual representation of the compressibility of the object and to adjust motor actions accordingly. In this work I will present psychophysical experiments that employ visual-haptic virtual reality setups to investigate how we perceive the compressibility of an object while we squeeze it or while we press against its surface. The results of these studies form the basis of a computational model of softness perception where signals are combined into perceptual estimates that are then integrated according to the rules of Bayesian inference.

Posted in Events, Research.

Finding fault: study of Maglev train suspensions paves way for simpler industrial fault detection through AI

A new approach of industrial fault detection based on Artificial Intelligence has been studied on the electro-magnetic suspension of floating Maglev trains and could be applied to other safety-critical control systems, scientists believe.

Researchers analysed control system reliability using Maglev trains – a transport method that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without touching the ground, reducing friction and allowing higher speeds.

The results show that fault detection in industrial systems based on Artificial Intelligence methods could be less complex and of significantly lower computational cost than current technologies. It has strong potential to replace multiple estimators used in fault detection and isolation schemes in various industrial applications.

The research by Dr Argyrios Zolotas, from the School of Engineering, University of Lincoln, UK, together with Dr Konstantinos Michail, Dr Kyriakos Deliparaschos and Prof Spyridon Tzafestas from Cyprus University of Technology and National Technical University Athens, has been published in the academic journal IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.

Typically, Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI) units for multiple sensor faults require a bank of estimators, such as Kalman Filters, that use the information from the remaining healthy sensors to construct the lost signal.

The results of this latest study show that a single artificial neural network-based estimator scheme achieves the same performance as the bank-based fault detector but with substantially lower computational cost. Artificial neural networks are computer-based algorithms used in machine learning which mimic the way neurons are structured in the human brain.

Dr Zolotas, Deputy Director of Research in the School of Engineering at the University of Lincoln, said: “Reliability is important in control systems and in particular to safety-critical systems. In modern system applications such as in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, control methods that guarantee control reliability usually increase the computational cost of the already limited system resources.

“In this study, we analysed system design simplification for reliability in industrial applications, specifically in relation to sensor and actuator selection. The proposed fault detection scheme uses an Artificial Intelligence approach for developing a low computational fault detection unit that reduces the complexity and computational power of a bank-based equivalent.”

The proposed framework was tested on an electro-magnetic suspension system used on Maglev trains to support the mass of the vehicle and passengers as well as to ensure proper ride quality during journeys.

A few simple modifications in the proposed architecture allowed the replacement of the bank of estimators with a typical Neural Network. The results show that this new approach has strong potential to replace multiple estimators used in FDI schemes in industrial applications.

The research builds on Dr Zolotas’s previous research on sensor optimisation, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Maglev train


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Industry experts impressed with student showcase

Companies have invited Computer Science students to share their project work with staff following a a two-day showcase.

Postgraduate by Research students and final year undergraduates presented their work to fellow students, academic staff and visitors at the showcase on 6-7 May.

The industrial panel commented the overall standard  was very impressive and that the awarding of individual prizes was made difficult by the high quality in both presentations and in the technical content evidenced.

Comp Sci showcase 2015 Amr OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Comp Sci showcase 2015 Comp Sci showcase

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Creating digital technologies for dementia care

Designers, coders, hackers and researchers are coming together for an event aimed at exploring how digital technologies could support and improve dementia care.

Create-4-Dementia, from 30th to 31st May 2015, is the first public event of the Social Computing and Mental Health Research Network led by the University of Lincoln, UK, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Thee two-day hackathon will culminate in the creation of digital prototypes.

Network leader Professor Shaun Lawson, from the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “The design of technology to address issues around dementia has received a lot of attention, but it remains a very difficult and sensitive area. At this event we want to draw in people with any and all relevant skillsets so that everyone’s voice is heard – in particular we want to see if we can rethink entire aspects of the approach to designing for dementia.”

The Social Computing and Mental Health Research Network was created to address challenges around creating online mental health services that could offer a more compelling and convenient way to access information, therapy and support.

The network, which is conducted in partnership with Newcastle University School of Computing Science in collaboration with NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative at Nottingham, aims to create a new interdisciplinary research community, by developing interaction between science, technology, clinical and commercial groups and charities.

Experts in a number of fields, such as social computing and human computer interaction, are working together to try and understand what the challenges are in using mobile and web applications, as well as social media, to assist people with mental health problems and create new collaborative multidisciplinary research proposals.

On the Create-4-Dementia event, Dr Michael Craven, Senior Research Fellow with MindTech and the University of Nottingham Faculty of Engineering, and member of the Centre for Dementia, said: “This is a great opportunity for engineers and software designers to engage with unmet needs in dementia and begin to formulate technology solutions.”

Teams will compete for juried prizes to the value of £1,000 and can apply for additional research funding of up to £10,000.

For more information on  the event, which is taking place at the Great Northern Museum in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, visit


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Students to showcase work

Computer Science students will be exhibiting their projects during a two-day event on Wednesday, 6th May to Thursday, 7th May, 2015.

All students, staff and visitors are welcome to the event which will include presentations from Postgraduate by Research students and final year undergraduates.

The event runs from 9.30am to 5pm on both days and will take place across the third floor of the MHT building on the University’s Brayford Campus.

The School is always open for companies and potential employers to get in touch and participate.

For more information contact Dr Ahmed at

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

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