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Biological inspiration in Human Centred Robotics

Huosheng Hu *

Department of Computer Science, University of Essex

After the recent advancement of computing and robotics technology, human-centred robotics and personal robots are soon ready to serve us in our home, hospital, office and everywhere. These robots are mobile, autonomous, interactive and intelligent, which draws inspiration from behaviour demonstration of biological systems. Recently, a number of new application areas have received significant interests in the robotics community, including entertainment robots, medical robots, education robots, service robots, etc.

Human Centred Robotics (HCR) concerns with the development of various kinds of intelligent systems and robots that will be used in environments coexisting with humans. These systems and robots will be interactive and useful assistants/companions for people in different ages, situations, activities and environments in order to improve our quality of life. Human centred robotics poses a number of challenges. Firstly, these robots have to deal with uncertainty within the system, such as sensor noise, actuator inaccuracy, and components failure. Secondly, they have to handle huge uncertainty in the real world which is dynamically changing all the time. To catch up these changes in real time is very difficult since no sensor is able to work in all the situation and circumstances. Thirdly, human-robot interaction is a key for success, including communication with and navigation around humans. Finally, inspiration from biological systems is an important issue to be addressed in human centred robotics since it could provide some guidelines to solve the problems.

This seminar presents our current research work toward the development of advanced theory and technologies for HCR applications, based on inspiration from biological systems. More specifically, bio-mimetic system modelling, robot learning by imitation and hands-free control of wheelchairs are discussed respectively, and some preliminary results are demonstrated via video.

* Huosheng Hu received the MSc degree in industrial automation from the Central South University, China and the PhD degree in robotics from the University of Oxford. Currently, He is a Professor in Department of Computer Science, University of Essex, leading the Human Centred Robotics Group. His research interests include autonomous mobile robots, human-robot interaction, evolutionary robotics, multi-robot collaboration, embedded systems, pervasive computing, sensor integration, RoboCup, intelligent control and networked robotics. He has published over 200 papers in journals, books and conferences, and received a number of best paper awards. He is a Chartered Engineer, a senior member of IEEE, and a member of IEE, AAAI, ACM, IASTED and IAS.

Wednesday Seminars