Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Open Event @ Arnolfini

I was recently approached by Rui Guerra of the V2 Institute for the Unstable Media who was looking for participants for an Open Event, 'Craftivism', to be held at the Arnolfini (Bristol) in December.

Rui has given everyone a huge amount of freedom in what they want to host as part of the event and my group (consisting of myself and other researchers from BRL) is no exception. Will keep posting as I know more.

The Enactive Torch was presented at V2 by my colleague Tom Froese in February 2008.


I recently took part in Rider Spoke which is currently being held in Bristol (with the Arnolfini as the hub) an event that combines Ubiquitous computing with cycling. As a cyclist and geek I was in.

Here is a blurb from the Blast Theory website:

'The audience can take part either either on their own bike or borrow one supplied by Blast Theory. Following a short introduction and a safety briefing you head out into the streets with a handheld computer mounted on the handlebars. You are given a question and invited to look for an appropriate hiding place where you will record your answer. The screen of the device acts primarily as a positioning system, showing where you are and whether there are any hiding places nearby. The interface employs imagery drawn from Mexican votive painting, sailor tattoos and heraldry: swallows flutter across the screen to show available hiding places, prefab houses indicate places where others have hidden.'

I thought the game was enjoyable but it could of done with some context, and I seemed to come across quite a dark set of questions and answers compared to my girlfriend, which probably affected my enjoyment of the experience. We tried the game on it's first few days after opening (such things book up quickly in Bristol) but it would be nice to try it again at the end of the week when more answers have been recorded.

The novely of having a little Nokia computer on your handlebars is very cool too (though it's only held onto it's bracket with velcro - I was convinced it would fall off or get stolen).

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Paper in Springer Book

My first PhD paper "Robotic Implementation of Realistic Reaching Motion Using a Sliding Mode/Operational Space Controller" has been published the Springer book beries 'Lecture Notes in Computer Science' and may be found on Google Scholar (though I don't know if can be downloaded outside an institution with a Springer License).

If you would really like to read it (the paper, not the book) drop me a line and I can email you a copy.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Conference Tour

I recently (well, relatively recently) returned from two robotics conferences where I presented some work from my PhD in synthesising human motion for robotic application.

At the International Conference of Social Robotics in Incheon, South Korea, I presented a paper titled 'Implementation of Realistic Reaching Motion Using a Sliding Mode/Operational Space Controller' abstract. This work described a controller that mimics the shoulder and elbow motions of a human for 2-dimensional reaching motion and then uses a sliding mode controller to allow this method to be applied to practical systems. This paper is to be published in the Springer proceedings 'Advances in Robotics'.

At TAROS (Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems), which was held in Londonderry, Northen Ireland, I presented an extension of the above paper which augmented the robot's concept of posture 'effort' to include limits of motion abstract. This is analogous to the discomfort felt by a human when stretching muscles or holding uncomfortable poses. Again the benefit of this work lies in the application to physical robots, where the limits of motion prevent mechanical damage to the system.

At both conferences my work was recieved well and there were some very interesting comments and suggestions. Of course it was also a pleasure to visit South Korea and Northern Ireland both as a tourist and as a robotics researcher. The image below was taken from the drinks reception at the Derry robotics lab and shows a research platform modified to distribute party snacks.

I don't think I can host .pdfs on blogspot otherwise I would make the papers available for download. Here are the full references if you wish to do your own search:

Spiers, A., Herrmann, G., Melhuish, C., Pipe, A. and Lenz, A. (2009) Robotic Implementation of Realistic Reaching Motion Using a Sliding Mode/Operational Space Controller. In: S. Ge, U. Witkowski, D., Kim, J., Kim, U., Rückert, D., Sandberg, M., Wahde, C., Cho, J. Cabibihan, Y. Pan, eds. In: Advances in Robotics - FIRA RoboWorld Congress 2009, Incheon 16th-20th August 2009. Heidelberg: Springer, 1980, pp. 230-238.

Spiers, A., Melhuish, C. and Herrmann, G. (2009) Implementing 'Discomfort' in Operational Space: Practical Application of a Human Motion Inspired Robot Controller. In: 10th Anniversary of TAROS - Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems, Londonderry 31st August – 3rd September 2009.