Tag Archives: robots

From 3D-printed blacksmith artefacts to proton therapy

LiGHTS Nights is coming to Lincoln and the School of Computer Science is putting on a variety of workshops and lectures you don’t want to miss.

Produce real blacksmith artefacts with the latest 3D-printer technology, find out how Lincoln research is improving proton therapy for cancer sufferers, and get up close and personal with our all-seeing robots, all for LiGHTS Nights on September 30th.

Computer Science does Lights Nights
Computer Science to showcase 3D printing, robotics and proton therapy research
More than 40 scientific workshops, talks and exhibitions will take place as part of the action-packed LiGHTS Nights (Lincoln – Get Hold of Tech and Science) event, which will invite people of all ages to learn more about research projects that are changing the world we live in today.
LiGHTS Nights – a celebration of how science and technology impacts on our daily lives –will take place on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus and in venues across the city.
Visitors to LiGHTS Nights will be introduced to Lincoln’s ensemble cast of robots – the focus of exciting studies into artificial intelligence – and invited to experience the latest developments in Virtual Reality, the technology trend taking the world by storm.
Get 3D-printing real blacksmith artefacts from 12-6pm in the Minerva Building, Atrium with Dr John Murray.
A workshop called ‘See Humans Through a Robot’s Eyes’ will run at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm throughout the day in the LLMC Lecture Theatre, David Chiddick Building with Dr Marc Hanheide.
Professor Nigel Allinson will give an insightful talk into his Proton Therapy research: ‘A positive beam of hope for cancer treatments’ at 3pm in the Stephen Langton Lecture Theatre (Emmtec).
LiGHTS Nights is free to attend but bookings for individual sessions should be made in advance. More more information is available and bookings can be made online.

European Researchers’ Night is an annual Europe-wide initiative that takes place on the last Friday of September. The Lincoln showcase is one of more than 250 events occurring simultaneously in major cities across the continent this year, each inviting members of the public to meet ‘heroes of science’; the researchers from different disciplines whose work has the potential to change our world.

LiGHTS Nights will see academics from the University’s Colleges of Science, Arts and Social Science present their pioneering studies and invite visitors to become scientists for the day by participating in a range of different activities and experiments.

The programme of events, which features exhibitions, tours, public lectures, workshops, screenings and performances, begins at 11am and runs until 10pm. Visitors are encouraged to attend several events and make the most of the variety of activities on offer.

Read the full article here

 

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.

Postdoc to give a talk at a world-leading AI lab in America

A School of Computer Science STRANDS postdoc has been invited to give a presentation at a world-leading Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab in the USA.

Dr Tomas Krajnik, in L-CAS will give a talk next week at MIT: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Cambridge, USA on ‘FreMEn: Frequency Map Enhancement for Long-Term Autonomy of Mobile Robots’.

Tom is a research fellow at the Lincoln Center of Autonomous Systems. He has a PhD degree in Artificial Intelligence and Biocybernetics from the Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic, in 2012. His research interests include long-term autonomy, robot vision and aerial robotics.

This is an amazing opportunity for him to present the work of the STRANDS project to an American audience and we will keep you informed on how the talk goes.

Abstract:

While robotic mapping of static environments has been widely studied,life-long mapping in non-stationary environments is still an open problem. We present an approach for long-term representation of natural environments, where many of the observed changes are caused by pseudo-periodic factors, such as seasonal variations, or humans performing their daily chores.

Rather than using a fixed probability value, our method models the uncertainty of the elementary environment states by their frequency spectra. This allows to integrate sparse and irregular observations obtained during long-term deployments of mobile robots into memory-efficient models that reflect the recurring patterns of activity in the environment.

The frequency-enhanced spatio-temporal models allow to predict the future environment states, which improves the efficiency of mobile robot operation in changing environments. In a series of
experiments performed over periods of weeks to years, we demonstrate that the proposed approach improves mobile robot localization, path and task planning, activity recognition and allows for life-long spatio-temporal exploration.

STRANDS

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.

Jason Bradbury in two places at once

Who said you can’t be in two places at once?
bradburyTV presenter, tech guru for The Gadget Show and Visiting Lecturer Jason Bradbury showed us how by delivering a virtual lecture for our second year ‘Group Project’ students using new robotic communication technology.
bradburyrobot2
Using a Double Robotics system, Jason was able to have a physical presence in front of our students, even though he couldn’t be there in person.
He presented his lecture, moved around the room and discussed creative new ideas with students, all from his base in London.“It is so exciting to be living in a time when technology enables you to teach an entire lecture theatre in person, despite being hundreds of miles away. Technological advances are improving our means of communication on a daily basis,” explained Jason. “I’m delighted to be able to deliver virtual lectures at the University of Lincoln as part of what is a very exciting project for the students.”

Jason’s lecture formed part of a module for second year Computer Science students, entitled My AI Ate My Homework. He tasked the students with a challenging new project – to design and develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that is capable of passing the Turing Test.

The Turing Test was created by Alan Turing OBE, who was a pioneering computer scientist and mathematician and was instrumental in many technological developments during the 1940s. His work at the Bletchley Park codebreaking centre, where he lead a group to breaking the Enigma code, played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in World War II.

 

The Turing Test is a test of a machine’s ability to give the perception of ‘intelligent behaviour’, or to make itself indistinguishable from a human being. Thus, the student’s project would be to create a system which would make people believe they were interacting with a person, when really they’ve been responding to an AI robot.

Bruce Hargrave, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, is leading the module. He said: “Turing proposed that for a machine to pass his test, a human must be unable to tell if he or she was communicating with another human or with a machine. In computer science, the interactions between humans and robots are important areas of study and it is fascinating to explore what it is that distinguishes human behaviour from that of a machine. We are inviting our students to build their own machine with the ability to do just that – appear human.”Suggestions for the type of systems that could be developed by the students include an online agony aunt, a social media communicator, a fortune teller and a fast food ordering service.

The students will submit written proposals before developing their systems, with the aim of exhibiting them in public later in the year.