Tag Archives: Robotics

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.


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.


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.


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


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.



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


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.

Research Seminar 15/02/16 2pm, in MB1020: Dr Michael Mangan

After Dr Cuayahuitl and Dr Baxter, who gave research presentations recently, we are now happy to announce a research seminar by the third colleague to join the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems soon as a Senior Lecturer.

Dr Michael Mangan

On 15/02/16, at 2pm, in room MB1020 (1st floor, Minerva Building), Dr Michael Mangan, currently still at the University of Edinburgh, will be presenting his exciting research. Everybody is invited to join in.




What can self-driving cars learn from the humble desert ant?  And how are those lessons learned?


Desert ants are amongst the most impressive of the animal navigators: expertly piloting through complex environments despite possessing low-resolution eyes and tiny brains. As such they are an ideal model system for bio-roboticists that seek to understand these amazing animals, as well as those seeking novel solutions for engineering goals such as autonomous navigation.  In this talk I shall firstly introduce the animal of interest (the desert ant) describing their amazing navigational capabilities.  I will then briefly describe some recent examples for which our bio-robotic approach has lead to advances in understanding of the biological system and novel applications in autonomous systems (such as self-driving cars).  I shall close by looking ahead to the research I shall be pursuing after joining the University of Lincoln this spring.