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Social robot interaction and interactivity through enhanced verbal/non-verbal communication

Social robots require excellent communication and interaction skills to be able to operate effectively in dynamic social environments. This includes the ability to capture, understand and respond to complex social content given by humans, such as verbal (e.g. semantics, pauses) and non-verbal (e.g. visual cues, body language) information. Therefore, social robots must be able to adjust to individuals on a case by case basis, as well as being able to identify and provide appropriate responses.The aim of this project is …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Building virtual environments for robots using NVIDIA simulator ISAAC

Conducting experiments using real robots can be difficult sometimes due to the restrictions on space and actions.Simulators can provide an answer to these concerns in the early stages of development. We recognise that real world testing is crucial as results in a simulator do not always reflect results in reality.ISAAC is a new robot simulator that shows promise in this space. However it currently only offers a few Unreal Engine environments.In this project, you will add more environments to this …

Study level
Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Observer-based force sensing using a surgical robot

Performing surgery is a difficult task that pushes surgeons to their mental and physical limits. Automation has been able to successfully reduce the burden on human workers in other industries (e.g. manufacturing) and is expected to be able to do the same for surgeons. Surgical robots are different from most industrial robots as they must be made in a way that makes them able to safely interact with a patient during surgery, which means that the typical methods of automation …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Controlling a surgical robot using a game controller

Many surgical robots, such as the da Vinci robot, are controlled by an operator using complex teleoperation devices. These devices are designed to be easy for a trained surgeon to use, but are not very intuitive for a novice operator.There has been much research recently that suggests that people with gaming experience will be better at controlling surgical robots than surgeons due to having more experience controlling objects via a screen. However, having to learn how to use the current …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Robots and Digital Agents in Health and Wellbeing Settings

Increasingly digital agents and robots are playing a role in our health care system. Key questions remain about how people respond to non-human entities in health settings. This program of research aims to explore a range of issues in this space:When do people treat agents and robots as though they are human?Which topics are people comfortable disclosing to digital agents and robots?What features of digital agents and robots make them feel more trustworthy, friendly, believable, etc? …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences

Place classification for mobile robots

For social robots and service robots to be able to operate effectively 'out of the box' in indoor environments, they must be able to understand the context of those environments without necessarily developing or having access to a complex map.The aim of this project is to develop a visual classifier for the type of rooms encountered in a typical home (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, laundry, etc.), medical facility (hallway, ward, waiting area, treatment room), commercial office environment (personal office, …

Study level
Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Improving visual following for Pepper the social robot

For social robots and service robots to be able to operate effectively around people, they must be able to safely move around in environments where humans and other robots are also moving. Pepper, the social robot from Softbank Robotics is already capable of tracking and following a person, but can get confused if they move out of sight around a corner, or if there are multiple people moving in the robot’s field of view.The aim of this project is to …

Study level
Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Visual understanding of doorways for mobile robots

For social robots and service robots to be able to operate effectively 'out of the box' in indoor environments, they must be able to understand the context of those environments without necessarily developing or having access to a complex map.The aim of this project is to develop a generic understanding of doorways for mobile robots relying only on visual information. We will be using the Pepper robot from Softbank Robotics as a test and demonstration platform. The aim is for …

Study level
Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Robust pose estimation of objects using TensorFlow computation

Robust pose estimation of objects is needed for robotic application and human computer interfaces. Like most computer vision tasks, robust pose estimation becomes a challenging problem when the environmental conditions (like lighting and visibility) are not controlled.The approach we propose is to leverage the computational graphs that can be created in deep learning framework like TensorFlow. This approach opens up several strategies.For example, if a model of an object is available, a deep neural network can be trained to make …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Engaging older adults: a digital companion device

This project involves the study and development of an innovative digital companion platform to improve senior’s user-accessibility, maintain active ageing, promote social engagement and enhance their quality of life. The project will explore ways seniors are interacting with current technologies such as mobile applications and wearables, and their expectations and user satisfaction with technology in their everyday life activities.Our main goal is to reduce today’s fast-growing digital divide by leveraging novel technologies that are more supportive and interactive reducing tactile …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Visual place recognition for robots and autonomous vehicles

Knowing where you are is a fundamental capability for robots and autonomous vehicles moving through an environment.Increasingly technologies in this area are based around camera sensors, performing a process known as Visual Place Recognition (VPR).VPR becomes challenging in the real-world when conditions or viewpoint change: for example in conditions of inclement weather, changing seasons or day-night cycles.Robots and autonomous vehicles must also be able to localize across viewpoint changes - for example driving down the same road but in the …

Study level
PhD, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Pose recognition and replication by a humanoid robot

The use of body language, whether conscious or unconscious, provides an important mechanism for people to communicate information, such as intent or emotion, to people around them. In order for social robots to work alongside humans, they must therefore be capable of recognising and understanding these subtle cues, and where necessary, to replicate such cues to express their own messages.While providing robots with a complete understanding of body language is still a long way off however, through this project we …

Study level
Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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