Tag Archives: Robotics

University robot invited to launch of prestigious Longitude Prize

Linda the robot was one of the star attractions at the high-profile Longitude Prize 2014 launch, which aims to help solve one of the greatest issues of our time.

Linda is one of six specialist mobile robots involved in the £7.2 million collaborative STRANDS project aimed at creating robots that are able to operate independently and ultimately support security guards or staff in care homes.

Based at the University of Lincoln, UK, Linda was invited to attend New Broadcasting House in London for the official launch of the Longitude Prize on Monday, 19th May.

In 1714 the British government threw down the gauntlet to solve one of the great scientific challenges of that century – how to pinpoint a ship’s location at sea by knowing its longitude.

Longitude Prize 2014 is a challenge with a multi-million pound prize fund to help solve one of the greatest challenges we’re facing today. It is being run and developed by Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation.

Linda will be accompanied by Dr Marc Hanheide from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science and Dr Nick Hawes from the University of Birmingham, who are collaborating on the STRANDS project.

Dr Hanheide, whose background is in Artificial Intelligence, is leading the research on how the robots gather information about their surroundings, and use this learned knowledge to interact appropriately with human users.

Dr Hanheide said: “It was fantastic to be asked to show off Linda at this hugely prestigious event. Two of the other robots are currently at G4S Technology in Tewksbury, UK, and the care facility Haus der Barmherzigkeit in Vienna, Austria, so we will soon be able to see how effective they are in real-world environments and use this data to develop their future learning models.”

Other partners in the STRANDS project include Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden); RWTH Aachen University (Germany); The Vienna University of Technology (Austria) and University of Leeds (UK).

Linda will be continuing her travels in June 2014, watch this space for details!

 

Linda and Dr Marc Hanheide
Linda and Dr Marc Hanheide

 

Robotics project highlighted as one of the best in Europe

The European Commission has named the STRANDS robotics project as one of the best, as part of EU Robotics Week.

Lincoln’s robot Linda has been taking part in a robot marathon this week, squaring off against robot partners in Leeds, Birmingham,  Sweden, Germany and Austria.

The robots have been battling it out to be the last one standing – the challenge is for them to autonomously patrol a populated environment for as long as possible, covering the most distance in the shortest time.

Linda is currently in the lead on best distance travelled. Go Linda!

STRANDS is an EU-funded project enabling robots to achieve robust and intelligent behaviour in human environments.
The robots will be evaluated in a care home for the elderly in Austria (assisting human carers), and in an office environment patrolled by G4S Technology security firm.

Follow the final stages of Linda’s progress in the robot marathon at http://strands.acin.tuwien.ac.at/marathon.html

Funded PhD Position – Cognitive Robotics

Using robots to understand animal social cognition:

We are offering a funded PhD position for an enthusiastic and highly-motivated student to join a thriving and dynamic research environment, and benefit from close associations with both the School of Life Sciences and the School of Computer Science.

The aim of this project is to develop a robot that is able to respond dynamically to the behaviour of the focal animal and use it in a series of cognitive experiments. Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are an ideal model species for such an endeavour. They are responsive to social cues and show sophisticated social learning abilities. In addition they have relatively simple behavioural repertoires and movement patterns which can be accurately replicated by a robotic simulant.

Contact:

For more information and details on how to apply for this exciting opportunity contact Dr. John Murray (jomurray@lincoln.ac.uk)

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.