Tag Archives: conference

Leading figures in human computer interaction converge in Lincoln

The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is the inspiration for this year’s British Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2015), hosted by the University of Lincoln, UK.

HCI 2015, which takes place from 13th-17th July, will focus on our ever-evolving digital society and the role interactive technology plays in mediating and communicating political views. A total of 220 delegates from 18 countries will be in attendance.

Organised by Lincoln’s Social Computing (LiSC) research centre, the conference is inspired by the anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, an event viewed as an international cornerstone of liberty and one that challenged society’s relationship with authority

Director of LiSC, Professor Shaun Lawson said: “Lincoln is home to one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta and will take a major role in the 800th anniversary celebrations coinciding with our hosting of HCI 2015. The theme reflects the increasing public consciousness of how interactive technologies fundamentally affect our privacy, rights, and relationships with authority, government and commerce.

“This conference will set the agenda in the UK and internationally around the design of future interactive digital systems. The research community used to be interested in the use and design of a device, but now it’s more about the experience and the way digital technology affects our lives, including our political and democratic lives.”

The keynote speakers, Chris Csikszentmihalyi, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, will discuss how Magna Carta is more relevant than ever in an age where interactive digital technology constantly shapes our lives and our relationships with each other, as well as those in authority.

Assange, for instance, has recently spoken about the Wikileaks’ claim that “top secret intelligence reports and technical documents” from the US National Security Agency (NSA) state it spied on communications by successive French Presidents from 2006-12.

Research presented at international computer vision conference

Two papers from academics in the School of Computer Science were presented at the world’s premier computer vision event.

The CVPR conference, which took place between June 24-27 in Ohio, is the highest-ranked venue in Computer Science.

According to Google Scholar Metrics, it is also the top publication venue in the field of computer vision and pattern recognition.

This year the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science was represented with two papers.

The first is ‘Gauss-Newton Deformable Part Models for Face Alignment in-the-Wild’ by Dr Georgios Tzimiropoulos and Maja Pantic.

Dr Tzimiropoulos’ research finds applications in face recognition, facial expression analysis and human behaviour understanding. In particular, prior to recognising someone’s identity or understanding his/her facial expressions, a computer program must be able to accurately detect and localise the facial parts like the mouth and the eyes, as well as track their deformable motion in video.

This very well-known computer vision problem, also known as face alignment, is a difficult one, especially when the faces to be analysed are captured in-the-wild, i.e. there is no control over illumination, image resolution, and head pose variations or occlusions. Dr Tzimiropoulos’ algorithm aims to address all of these challenging cases. A video with illustrative face tracking results can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjCSWTFBrFg

The second paper is ‘A Bayesian Framework for the Local Configuration of Retinal Junctions’ by Touseef Qureshi, Professor Andrew Hunter and Dr Bashir Al-Diri.

This focusses on the development of a probabilistic system to accurately configure the broken vessels in retinal images.

Retinal images provide an internal view of the human eye (retina) that contains forests of blood vessels. These vessels provide useful information which can be used for diagnosing several cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Computer-based automated extraction of significant features from the retinal vessels can help early diagnostics of these diseases.

The correct configuration of broken vessels into trees of arteries and veins is a prerequisite for extracting significant information from the vasculature.

Touseef said: “We achieve remarkable results in the initial experiments and intend to develop fully automated diagnostic system in future. Moreover, the proposed system can be optimized for other applications such as biometric security systems and road extraction using aerial images.”

Touseef outside the conference centre
Touseef outside the conference centre
Touseef with academic poster
Touseef with academic poster

The role robotics could play in future food production

A team of computer scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, is co-organising an international workshop on recent advances in agricultural robotics.

Academics from the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (L-CAS) will be attending the 13th International Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS-13) from 15th to 19th July, 2014.

Recent results confirm that robots, machines and systems are rapidly achieving intelligence and autonomy, mastering more and more capabilities such as mobility and manipulation, sensing and perception, reasoning and decision making.

The Series of International Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS) founded in 1986 is one of the major events summarising this trend.

As part of this year’s conference Lincoln scientists will be running a workshop with the aim of bringing together both academic and industrial communities to discuss recent advances in robotic applications for agriculture and horticulture.

The world’s rapidly growing population brings new challenges for global food security. To meet the future demand for more, cheaper and better quality food, new and innovative solutions and improvements to current agricultural practices are required. Agricultural robotics is one of the promising technological solutions for addressing these problems.

Dr Grzegorz Cielniak, senior lecturer in the School of Computer Science, said: “The workshop will provide a forum to present the state-of-the-art technical solutions in agricultural robotics and new exciting robotics platforms, but also to encourage future collaborations between the participants.

“Recent examples have shown agricultural robotics autonomously performing a number of different agricultural tasks, from monitoring soil and crop properties and harvesting fruit in orchards, to mechanical weeders eliminating the need for herbicides to produce affordable, safer food. Using teams of small specialised agricultural robots instead of the currently used heavy machinery can result in lower soil compaction leading to energy savings, but also in more robust systems in the case of technical failures. The number of potential new applications is enormous.”

Projects involving L-CAS include a 12-month feasibility study, funded by a £132,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board, to create a system of laser sensors to accurately control agricultural sprayers.

Other tasks include the creation of new multi-purpose imaging technology to undertake quality inspection tasks in the food industry; automatic identification of potato blemishes and improvements in the seal integrity of heat-sealed packaging.

The workshop is supported by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Technical Committee on Agricultural Robotics & Automation and is a continuation of previous agricultural robotics events held as part of IROS2012 and ICRA2008 conferences.

IAS-13, which is taking place in Padova, Italy, invites researchers, engineers and practitioners to disseminate their achievements and provides them with a forum to exchange their ideas.

Agricultural robotics helping to meet the demand for future food production
Agricultural robotics helping to meet the demand for future food production

Good show from Computer Science postgraduate researchers

Computer Science postgraduate researchers took part in the annual Postgraduate Student Conference held at the University of Lincoln on Thursday, 3rd April.

Some of the Lincoln School of Computer Science Postgraduate researchers
Some of the Lincoln School of Computer Science Postgraduate researchers

This year the focus of the conference was on Methods and Methodologies, the use and applications of which unites postgraduate students across subjects and disciplines.

The aim of the conference was to provide an opportunity for students to share and critically evaluate the research methods and methodologies used to create knowledge in their subject area, and for perspectives and ideas to be challenged in a safe and secure academic environment.

The students gave some oral presentations to the conference attendees, in addition to the posters presented.

Dr Amr Ahmed, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science, said: “It was nice to see increasing attendance and representation from the Lincoln School of Computer Science. Thanks to all who contributed. Hope you also enjoyed the food!”

Student presents robotics research at international conference

A PhD student from the School of Computer Science was invited to present his research at one of the world’s most important conferences on human-robot interaction.

Christian Dondrup was just one of two students chosen to give a presentation at the prestigious HRI Pioneers workshop at the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, held at Bielefeld University, Germany, earlier this month.

More than 300 leading researchers from 25 different countries attended the conference to discuss new theories and research findings.

Topics ranged from developing naturally interacting robots, to visual attention in robotics systems and emotional robots.

Christian said: “Being selected to give one of the talks and present a poster was a huge honour for me and it was a fantastic experience to talk in front of all the PhD students pioneering in HRI and the selected keynote speakers. It was also a great opportunity for networking to foster future collaborations.”

His research focusses on developing a robot which can adapt its spatial behaviour over time according to the environment it is working in.

Christian said: “The motivation for this research stems from the future vision of being able to buy a mobile service robot for your own household, unpack it, switch it on, and have it behave in an intelligent way; but of course it also has to adapt to your personal preferences over time. My work is focusing on the spatial aspect of the robot’s behaviours, which means when it is moving in a confined, shared space with a human it will also take the communicative character of these movements into account. This adaptation to the users preferences should come from experience which the robot gathers throughout several days or months of interaction and not from a programmer hard-coding certain behaviours.”

Christian has been using ‘Linda’ the robot, from the Spatio-Temporal Representations and Activities for Cognitive Control in Long-term scenarios (STRANDS) project, to test and validate the developed algorithms. Linda will be deployed in an elder care home over several months to gather this experience.

The multi-million pound STRANDS project involves computer scientists from the University of Lincoln and a number of European partners, including security company G4S Technology Ltd and the Academy of Ageing Research, an Austrian care home provider.

The aim is to create mobile robots that are able to operate intelligently and independently, based on an understanding of 3D space and how this space changes over time, from milliseconds to months.

Another part of Christian’s research is looking for implicit cues that occur during natural interaction between human and robot, and finding indications for so-called hesitation signals.

These occur during Human-Robot Spatial Interaction (HRSI) when the human participant is confused by the robot’s behaviour which can lead to annoyance very quickly.

This study was conducted in collaboration with the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Lincoln using high precision motion capture cameras.

In a mock-up restaurant scenario, the participants were put into the same confined shared space with Linda and played waiters, delivering drinks while Linda was taking orders from the supposed guest.

The team evaluated the reaction of the participants to different behaviours the robot showed and found indications for these hesitation signals when the robot was behaving in an unsocial way.

Christian also presented these preliminary results to the conference and the resulting so-called “Late Breaking Report” paper was one of six out of 109 nominated for the best paper award.

Strands close up 2 John Robertson