Tag Archives: Robotics

Lincoln computer science research papers accepted

Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (L-CAS) submitted research papers to SAC 2017 and HRI 2017, and have been accepted.

The first paper to be presented at SAC 2017 is joint work with Dr Marc Hanheide‘s PhD student Peter Lightbody and Dr Tomas Krajnik on “A Versatile High-Performance Visual Fiducial Marker Detection System with Scalable Identity Encoding”.

Fiducial markers have a wide field of applications in robotics, ranging from external localisation of single robots or robotic swarms, over self-localisation in marker-augmented environments, to simplifying perception by tagging objects in a robot’s surrounding.

We propose a new family of circular markers allowing for a computationally efficient detection, identification and full 3D position estimation. A key concept of our system is the separation of the detection and identification steps, where the first step is based on a computationally efficient circular marker detection, and the identification step is based on an open-ended `necklace code’, which allows for a theoretically infinite number of individually identifiable markers.

The experimental evaluation of the system on a real robot indicates that while the proposed algorithm achieves similar accuracy to other state-of-the-art methods, it is faster by two orders of magnitude and it can detect markers from longer distances.

The second paper that has been accepted at HRI 2017, which has an acceptance rate of only 24%, is co-authored by Marc Hanheide, Denise Hebesberger, and Tomas Krajnik:
“The When, Where, and How: An Adaptive Robotic Info-Terminal for Care Home Residents – a long-term study”

Adapting to users’ intentions is a key requirement for autonomous robots in general, and in-care settings in particular. In this paper, a comprehensive long-term study of a mobile robot providing information services to residents, visitors, and staff of a care home is presented with a focus on adapting to the when and where the robot should be offering its services to best accommodate the users’ needs.

Rather than providing a fixed schedule, the presented system takes the opportunity of long-term deployment to explore the space of possibilities of interaction while concurrently exploiting the model learned to provide better services. But in order to provide effective services to users in a care home, not only the when and where are relevant, but also the way the information is provided and accessed. Hence, also the usability of the deployed system is studied specifically, in order to provide a most comprehensive overall assessment of a robotic info-terminal implementation in a care setting.

Our results back our hypotheses, (i) that learning a spatiotemporal model of users’ intentions improves efficiency and usefulness of the system, and (ii) that the specific information sought after is indeed dependent on the location the info-terminal is offered.

This is a great achievement for our PhD students and researchers, and you can keep up to date with our L-CAS research here: https://lcas.lincoln.ac.uk/wp/ 

 

Feel the force of technological innovation at Future Fest 2016

Future Fest will return to the city of Lincoln next month with an extraordinary showcase of space-age technology, pioneering research and futuristic fun.

Jason Bradbury (University of Lincoln)

Tech guru, TV presenter and Visiting Lecturer Jason Bradbury will be the special guest at the University of Lincoln’s annual sci-fi themed festival, which this year takes place on Thursday 10th November 2016.

Inspired by the epic film franchise Star Wars, Future Fest 2016 will offer visitors the chance to immerse themselves in futuristic virtual reality worlds, discover the latest advances in consumer technology, and meet the University’s growing ensemble of cutting-edge robots.

*Edit*

The event will feature a number of exciting interactive zones. The Robot Zone will demonstrate the very latest in cutting-edge robotics – from 3D-printed humanoids and mind-controlled androids, to tech that will see visitors immersing themselves in extraordinary virtual reality worlds and building their own robots that can compete in a purpose-built arena.

In the Gaming Zone, visitors can head to ‘a galaxy far far away’ with a variety of Star Wars computer games. In the Space Zone they can learn about the technologies which help us understand what is going on 380,000 feet above our heads, and the Movie Maker Zone will reveal how films are brought to life – from concept to screen. The Stage Combat Zone will see visitors unleash their inner Luke Skywalker and learn how the best battles are fought with lightsabers.

Jason Bradbury, best known as presenter of TV’s The Gadget Show and a Visiting Lecturer on Computer Science and Product Design courses at the University of Lincoln, said: “I am so excited to be involved in Future Fest again this year after the great fun we had at last year’s inaugural event. Bringing all this expertise and technology together provides a wonderful opportunity to appreciate just how much scientific innovation has transformed the way we live in a relatively short time, and to examine some of the innovative research which could shape our future.

“Staff and students at Lincoln are working on projects that we could never have imagined 20 years ago, and that is why I am thrilled to be involved. We’re creating the future, right here, right now.”

Future Fest takes place on Thursday 10th November 2016 at the Engine Shed on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool Campus. The event runs from 10am – 4pm. It is free to attend but places must be booked in advance via the University of Lincoln website.

Socially interactive robots to support autistic children

Technology is supporting and aiding a variety of people and disabilities every single day, enriching their lives as much as possible. Autistic children can now get communication support from robots.

MARC
MARC

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

In our latest School of Computer Science Research Seminar we look at the ‘Socially Interactive Robotic Framework for Communication Training for Children with Autism’ and how robotic communication can aid their skills and behaviour.

Come along on 4th July at 1pm in MC3108 to hear Dr Xiaofeng Liu give an insightful FREE talk on this very interesting and topical subject.

Abstract:

Social robots are often employed to assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for communication, education and therapeutic training. Many studies have shown that the intervention of social robots can promote educational or therapeutic outcomes.

In this study, we record gaze-based child-robot interaction to evaluate the engagement of children, which enable us to design the specific educational or therapeutic items for each child. The platform is built up by a NAO humanoid robot, and a depth camera that captures child’s actions and detect their gaze. The pilot tests have shown that our framework is helpful for therapist to design appropriate and personalised training courses for each child.

Bio:

XIAOFENG LIU received a Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China, in 2006. From 2008 to 2011, he held a post-doctoral position with the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Xi’an Jiaotong University. From 2011, he has been with the College of IoT Engineering, Hohai University, Changzhou, where he is currently a full-time Professor and the Vice Director of the Changzhou Key Laboratory of Robotics and Intelligent Technology.  From 2013 to 2014 He was a visiting professor at University College London, UK. His current research interests focus on the study of nature-inspired navigation, human robot interaction, and neural information processing.

 All are welcome.

Research Seminar 11/7/16: Experiences from Introducing a Robot into a Geriatric Long Term Care Environment

SoCS Research Seminar

Caregiver 4.0 – Experiences from Introducing a Robot into a Geriatric Long Term Care Environment

 

Time: Monday, 11/7/16, 2pm

Place: MC0020

Abstract

henry-at-aafIn my talk, I would like to give an overview of our scientific work that we conduct within the STRANDS-project, where the School of Computer Science of the University of Lincoln is also part of.

Due to demographic changes that lead to an ageing society, a shortage of care provision is anticipated. As a probable solution technical aids for enhancing independent living of older adults and for supporting staff in the elder care sector are proposed. But technical aids often lack required autonomy and were so far primarily tested in lab situations. Thus, the STRANDS –project came to live with the aim to develop a long-term autonomous learning robotic system that can be actually deployed in elder care and in other work environments under “real-world conditions” over longer periods of time.

Besides the technical challenges associated with such an endeavour, different questions were raised:  What does staff in the elder care sector require from a robotic aid? In what areas could we deploy our STRANDS-robot in real world conditions? How would older adults and care staff experience interacting or working with the robot? What ethical guidelines have to be met when introducing a robotic aid in such an environment? And what could the future with such robotic aids look like in elder care? Questions that will be addressed in this presentation.

 

Biography

Denise Hebesberger
Denise Hebesberger, AAF, Vienna

Denise Hebesberger studied Biology (grad. 2013) and Educational Science (grad. 2012) at the University of Vienna. After graduation and working in different fields of science, she joined the Academy for Research on Ageing as a project manager in 2014. The Academy is social science partner within different EU-wide research consortia that develop technical aids and assistive systems for older adults or for the care sector and study their impact in terms of social acceptance and human-robot interaction on end users. She is responsible for establishing theoretical frameworks, evaluation designs and data analysis (mixed methods designs & structural equation modelling), as well as dissemination of research results and scientific publications.

A sad goodbye

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We say ‘good-bye’ with a heavy heart to Marc Hanheide from within the School of Computer Science who has now left  the University of Lincoln to start a new venture.

Marc is leaving for a visiting Professorship at the University of Rome, “La Sapinza”, one of the top university’s in Italy, which also ranks world-wide. The position is fully-funded by the Italian government to provide guest lecturers in the Masters programme in the country.

But don’t worry, he’ll be back!

Away till May 27th, Marc will be taking the research work he does with STRANDS and long term autonomy to further the work on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence they’re already undertaking at the university.

He will be joining the department, “Dipartimento di Ingegneria informatica automatica e gestionale Antonio Ruberti” (The Department of Computer, Control, and Management Engineering Antonio Ruberti).

Marc said: “I’ve been in this post (at the University of Lincoln) for the longest in my life time ever. I’ve been doing this for four years. I felt I was ready for a change, and because I love it in Lincoln, I was looking for something which isn’t forever.

“This gives me more opportunities to make contact with new people, find new collaborators and come up with new ideas.”

Spending half his time teaching, the other half doing research, he hopes that it will open doors to enable collaboration with the University of Rome.

“We haven’t really collaborated with them before, so there are opportunities there,” he said. “The biggest benefit is that we’ll extend the network there.”

Students are advised not to worry as Marc will be contactable and in touch whilst he’s away and says Skype meetings will be arranged.

Marc says ‘experience’ is what he wants to get most out of this trip.

“It’s all about getting the experience; that’s what this job mostly is all about. Hopefully I come back and bring some new ideas.”

We wish Marc all the best with his new venture and we will see him back in May.