Tag Archives: Research

Introducing Alfie – the prototype robot supporting the elderly

A robot being developed to help elderly people stay independent and active for longer has been named by residents of three local care homes where it is going to be tested.
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As part of the ENRICHME project – pioneering robotics research funded by an EU Horizon 2020 grant – residents from LACE Housing Association’s housing with extra care in Lincolnshire in the UK have called the first prototype robot Alfie.

ENRICHME (ENabling Robot and assisted living environment for Independent Care and Health Monitoring of the Elderly) is an international collaboration involving the University of Lincoln in the UK.

The research will develop and test the ability of robots to support our ageing populations and see service robots integrated with ‘smart home’ technology in order to provide round-the-clock feedback to elderly users, carers and health professionals. Tasks the robots will be designed to help with include giving reminders to take medication, locating lost objects around the home and enabling video chat with family and friends to reduce loneliness.

The first ENRICHME development robot, programmed by artificial intelligence and robotics experts from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, was introduced to the residents in December 2015. During a special launch event, the researchers showcased the robot, explained the project and conducted some initial tests in the home environment to aid early development processes.

Residents from the LACE housing with extra care schemes in Lincoln, Grantham and Bourne were then invited to vote for their favourite name for the robot. ‘Alfie’ was selected as the winner from a shortlist of five names put together by the ENRICHME team.

Dr Nicola Bellotto, Reader in Computer Science at the University of Lincoln and Principal Investigator for the ENRICHME project, said: “We are delighted that the residents have named our first prototype robot, with ‘Alfie’ proving to be a popular choice. The name is a diminutive of Alfred, which means ‘sage’ or ‘wise’, and it also refers to the famous Lincolnshire poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, so it has wonderful connotations locally. The robot has received an extremely positive reception from the residents so far and we are pleased that they are keen to be involved at each stage of the project.

“The system we are developing builds on recent advances in mobile service robotics and ambient assisted living to help people improve health and wellbeing. It will be of particular benefit to those people who have mild cognitive impairments, for example older people who are still physically healthy but may have early symptoms of dementia.”

For more information on the project, visit: www.enrichme.eu

 

Save the date: Upcoming must-see seminars

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We’ve got some great seminars coming up in the School of Computer Science, so put these dates in your diary and we’ll see you there.

First up next week we have a seminar on ‘Visual mining – interpreting image and video‘ with speaker Professor Stefan Rüger from the Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, UK.

The seminar will start at 2pm on Tuesday 26th January in MB1013, Minerva Building. No need to book, just come along.

This talk highlights recent important technical advances in automated media understanding, which has a variety of applications ranging from machines emulating the human aesthetic judgment of photographs to typical visual mining tasks such as analysing food images.

Highlighted techniques include near-duplicate detection, multimedia indexing and the role of machine learning. The talk will end by looking into the crystal ball exploring what machines might learn from automatically analysing tens of thousands of hours of TV footage.”

We also have a fascinating seminar on ‘Guaranteed delivery systems for online advertising‘ on Wednesday 3rd February at 3pm till 4pm. Please come to MC0024, we look forward to seeing you there.

“Online advertising has become a significant source of revenue for publishers and search engines. One important business model in online advertising is the so-called non-guaranteed delivery (NGD) system, in which advertisers purchase their targeted advertisement inventories like page views or link clicks on the spot market through an auction mechanism.

Despite the success of the NGD system, it has several limitations including the uncertainty in the buyer’s payment, the volatility in the seller’s revenue, and the weak loyalty between buyer and seller. To alleviate these problems, guaranteed delivery (GD) systems have been recently studied in which advertisers are able to secure their targeted future deliveries through standardised or customised contracts.

In this presentation, we will discuss several GD systems that we have developed. “

We look forward to seeing you there so you can join in the conversation. 

Click here to keep up to date with all our seminars in the School of Computer Science

Smart key system brings national award for software engineer

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An innovative electronic smart key system has secured a software system engineer a major national award following a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Lincoln, UK, and Lincoln Security Ltd.

Nandagopal Lakshminarayanan, who has been working as a KTP Associate at the security specialists for the past two years, won the Business Leader of the Future award at Innovate UK’s ‘KTP Best of the Best Awards 2015’.

The award, recognising his outstanding achievement on the project, was presented at a ceremony attended by over 400 people at Old Billingsgate, London, in November.

The software for the electronic locking system, called eLOQ, has been created jointly by the University’s School of Computer Science and Lincoln Security under a KTP.

It enables the creation and management of electronic keys and locks which cannot be copied or picked. The locks contain no batteries and do not require rewiring as all of the power is taken from the key and allows all areas to be controlled. The key records an audit trail of each event so that administrators can track who has gained access at specific times.

Lincoln Security has established a separate company, Dynamic Access Solutions, in order to take the product to market.

Dr John Murray, Principal Lecturer in the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “The project has been very fortunate to have recruited Nanda. He came with a predominantly embedded hardware background which meant that although he had good programming skills, there was a lot for Nanda to learn.

“However, very quickly he had taken up the challenge and has been one of the most enthusiastic and diligent people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Due to the nature of the KTP there have been many changes and developments in the objectives of the project, and where other associates might not have been so accommodating, Nanda took this as an opportunity to expand his learning and deliver excellent project outcomes.”

Mr Lakshminarayanan, who studied previously in India and Singapore, said: “The project has enabled me to get involved in both the academic and business sides. The KTP project has presented a unique challenge because it was not just about innovation and technicality but also about creating awareness of a new product.”

Peter Corlett, Managing Director for Dynamic Access Solutions Ltd, said: “The KTP between the University and the company has enabled the company to diversify the business and offer a unique product when compared to traditional locking systems that meets the needs of the 21st Century.

“Over the past two years Nanda has provided the company with the necessary skills to develop a high-level online management platform where keys and locks can be programmed and managed.

“The launch of this product comes at a time when only two other similar products are available, our solution offers customers not only cost savings but also greater flexibility.”

For further information on KTPs at the University of Lincoln, contact Michelle Davis.

BAXTER Taught-In Activity

Take a look at how well our robot BAXTER is coming along.

This is the very first demo of our new Baxter robot using taught-in trajectories to manipulate some objects. Not much state-of-the-art science in this one, but a feasibility study of what’s possible with off-the-shelf components.

 

Let us know what you think in the comments below

‘Cancer seeing’ technology is one in a hundred innovations to change our world

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A groundbreaking piece of medical imaging technology that could revolutionise cancer treatment will be featured as part of a showcase of 100 engineering ideas that have changed our world.

A section of the PRaVDA instrument, developed at the University of Lincoln, UK, for enhancing the treatment of cancer using proton beam therapy, will be included in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) new show wall at its Savoy Place headquarters in London.

The IET is the largest professional engineering institution in Europe and its show wall will be a celebration of engineering ideas that have had the biggest impact on humanity. Other items on show include an internal combustion engine, as designed by Karl Benz, and a mechanical television system, which was masterminded by Logie Baird.

The international consortium of researchers behind the PRaVDA (Proton Radiotherapy Verification and Dosimetry Applications) project is led by the University of Lincoln’s Distinguished Professor of Image Engineering Nigel Allinson MBE.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, he and his multinational team are developing one of the most complex medical instruments ever imagined to improve the delivery of proton beam therapy in the treatment of cancer. The advances they have made in medical imaging technology could make this type of therapy a viable treatment for many more cancer sufferers.

The world-first technology developed by the team uses proton beams to localise treatment, causing less damage to healthy tissue.

Professor Allinson, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “It is an amazing honour for our work to be included on the IET’s show wall, and to be up there with some of the all-time greats of engineering innovation.”

The IET’s year-long show wall exhibition is part of a series of initiatives to celebrate the launch of the new Savoy Place venue in London, which officially opens in November 2015. The exhibition will include a layer of PRaVDA’s Proton Tracker Unit, which will feature alongside other pioneering innovations from across the globe.

The PRaVDA research consortium was also recognised by the institution in November 2014, when it won the Model-based Engineering category at the prestigious IET Innovation Awards, which recognise the best global innovations in engineering, science and technology.

Later this year, the PRaVDA team will continue its work by using coveted time on the South African National Cyclotron (a type of particle accelerator), near Cape Town, to try to produce a world-first clinical-quality Proton CT.