New research into robots’ understanding of the world

Oscar Martinez-MozosNew methods to enable robots to understand the world around them have been put forward by Dr Oscar Martinez Mozos from the School of Computer Science.

His paper, currently in press, details research into how a robot can understand human-made environments by trying to learn how to recognise different types of surroundings, such as corridors, kitchens and offices. A 3D laser sensor is used in order to scan the environment.

Dr Martinez-Mozos said: “In our method, we combine the range and reflectance data from the laser scan for the final categorisation of places. The results of the presented experiments demonstrate the capability of our technique to categorise indoor places with high accuracy.”

The paper ‘Categorization of indoor places by combining local binary pattern histograms of range and reflectance data from laser range finders’ is currently in press for the international journal Advanced Robotics. The research was conducted with the University of Kyushu in Japan.

In a second publication Dr Martinez Mozos and colleagues study new methods for robots to be able to recognise everyday objects such as plates, boxes and cups.

He said: “The main point of this paper is that we focus on the situations where there is a lot of clutter and it is difficult to distinguish the different objects. For example, we try to identify several objects that are located on a table and that occlude each other. In this situation the task of recognising objects is difficult (even for humans) because the robot can only see a part of the object.”

The paper presents an approach based on a 3D dataset containing over 15,000 Kinect scans of more than 100 objects which were grouped into general geometric categories.

The joint work ‘Cumulative object categorization in clutter’ was done in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the University of Bremen in Germany, and the Autonomous Technologies Group Robert Bosch LLC in the United States.

The paper was accepted for a workshop organised inside the Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) conference, June 2013.

‘Computing at School’ Hub meeting

The School of Computer Science held its third CAS (Computing at School) Hub meeting on the 3 July 2013. The turn out was good with 6 schools represented. Debate was energetic and members engaged in  topics related to:

  • Preparing to teach Computing.
  • Mapping  examining body assessment to curriculum.

Sue Sutton the curriculum advisor from the AQA was in attendance and provided some valuable input to the debate. Some concerns as to the overly prescriptive and constrictive nature of the assessment for GCSE Computing were raised and Sue agreed to forward comments and concerns.

EMESP Masters Prize 2013

On Thursday, 19th June 2013, Olivier Szymanezyk, a PhD games computing student at the Lincoln School of Computer Science travelled to Leicester to represent the University of Lincoln at the East Midlands Engineering and Science Professionals (EMESP) Masters Prize.

It was most honourable to have been appointed by a panel of University of Lincoln academics as the representative of the University of Lincoln for the EMESP Masters Prize Event”, says Olivier, “This was a fantastic opportunity to show my work – I highly enjoy talking about my interdisciplinary crowd simulation research, and this was a great opportunity to do so. Furthermore, this was a most well organised event to see research presentations from other EMESP Masters Prize candidates from a wide array of research fields.

Olivier was awarded the prize as the University’s representative, for his project and presentation, which, in the view of the EMESP Masters Prize 2013 judges and the evidence of its content, was of a high standard and has the potential to make commercial impact. Pictures of the award can be seen below – more pictures of the event will follow shortly.

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As described on their homepage, the EMESP provides a voice for the engineering and science profession in the East Midlands. It aims to make people aware and appreciative of the contributions of engineering and science to the economy, prosperity and quality of life. The yearly EMESP Masters Prize aims to link research with industry, allowing prosperous candidates to show their research, ideas and innovations in front of a well-chosen panel of industry experts and academics.

Upon his arrival, Olivier was warmly welcomed by the EMESP Chairman, Ian Treacy, who introduced him to other Masters Prize University representatives. This was shortly followed by a twenty minute presentation of each candidate of their ongoing work. Presentations were most interesting and included talks about blood clotting countermeasures, climate change dwelling adaptations, big data visualisations and novel approaches to the control of quad-rotor helicopters. Olivier talked about his games computing related work on the verification and validation process of simulated crowds for serious applications and video-game environments.

 

European conference on computing technologies

A European society aimed at bridging the gap between academic and industry-based computer simulation and modelling research is to hold a conference in Lincoln.

The Euromedia/Fubutec/ECEC conference, which is organised by Eurosis (The European Multidisciplinary Society for Modelling and Simulation Technology), will take place at the University of Lincoln from 10-11 June.

Chaired by Dr Patrick Dickinson, from the University’s School of Computer Sciences, it will cover the latest developments in web-multimedia and communications.

Speakers include Lincoln Professor of Social Computing Shaun Lawson and Kofi Appiah, who completed a PhD in Computer Science at the University.

Kofi, who is now a Senior Research Officer in the Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Department at the University of Essex, will address the challenges faced by computer programmers, games designers and developers.

Another keynote speaker David Wortley is a freelance consultant on the strategic use of immersive and emerging technologies such as serious games, virtual worlds and social networks.

David, who is Founding Director of the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University, will focus on the shift in awareness and acceptance of video games as tools that address a range of organisational and societal issues.

He said: In the future, we are likely to see the convergence of video games, virtual worlds and social networks accessed through mobile devices and high speed wireless networks. A vast array of sensor technologies will be used to connect real-world information to augmented virtual worlds in which more sophisticated artificial intelligence is used to personalise the user experience and embed games and social media into everyday life.”

University of Lincoln, UK