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60 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
Episode Nine – Robot Talk Live: Robots into the Wild
We often hear about robots working in controlled, predictable environments, like an assembly line or an operating theatre, but as a former field biologist, Claire is most interested in what happens when we take robots outside into wild environments, where everything — from the elements to the local wildlife — seems to be against you. In this special live recording for the UK Festival of Robotics, Claire chatted to Sophie Armanini (TU Munich / Imperial College London), Ben Scott-Robinson (Small Robot Company) and Matthew Ryan Tucker (University of Bristol). Find out more about the UK Festival of Robotics here: https://www.ukras.org/robotics-festival/ Dr Sophie Armanini is an assistant professor at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and a guest researcher at Imperial College London, where she previously worked as a research associate. She obtained her PhD from Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), and has been a visiting researcher at Cranfield University and Cornell University (USA). Sophie’s research focuses on the dynamics and control of unconventional and bioinspired aerial vehicles, including flapping-wing and aerial-aquatic robots. Ben Scott-Robinson is an accomplished digital entrepreneur focused on geospatial and mobility technologies. Ben co-founded the Small Robot Company in 2017 which endeavours to replace tractors with accurate, smart, lightweight robots. With 20 years experience in digital innovation, including the digital transformation of Ordnance Survey, Ben is also an experienced technology entrepreneur having founded two agencies, two consultancies, an app start-up and a phone for the blind. Matthew Ryan Tucker is a Physics PhD Student at the University of Bristol, researching the use of ground based mobile robots for mapping radiation and finding radiation hotspots. Last year he was part of a University field trip to the Chernobyl Exclusion zone, where he deployed a Boston Dynamics Spot robot in a variety of different locations, including beneath the New Safe Confinement at the Chernobyl Power plant.
32 minutes | May 28, 2021
Episode Eight - Soft Robotics: a new kind of robot
Throughout the series so far, soft robotics has come up over and over in different areas, from medicine to agriculture. In this episode, I’ll be chatting to three roboticists working on different applications of this fascinating and fast-developing area of robotics: Dr Thomas Thuruthel (University of Cambridge), Angus Clark (Imperial College London) and Dr Jelizaveta Konstantinova (Ocado Technology). Get your ticket for Robot Talk Live: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/149424567905 Dr Thomas George Thuruthel is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge. He has a BTech in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India and a Master’s in Biorobotics from Waseda University, Japan. He received a PhD in Biorobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy in 2019. His research focuses on the modelling and control of soft-bodied robotics systems using machine learning techniques. Angus Clark is a researcher in the Robotic manipulation: Engineering, Design, and Science Lab, focussing on the development of Malleable Robotics – a new type of reconfigurable serial robot arms. He received the M.Eng. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southampton in 2017 and is currently pursuing a PhD in Design Engineering Research at Imperial College London. His research interests include manipulation and grasping, soft robotics, extreme environment robotics, and exoskeletons and prosthetics. Dr Jelizaveta Konstantinova is a research coordinator at Ocado Technology. She holds a PhD in Robotics from King’s College London, and her previous academic research was focused on medical robotics, force and tactile sensing for grasping, sensor fusion and intelligent grasping. Jelizaveta is currently working on developing external and internal collaborative research projects and connections with the focus on robotics and cutting-edge innovation.
29 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Episode Seven - Agricultural Robotics: Farming for the future
Although as consumers we may sometimes feel quite detached from food production, agriculture is central to all our lives. As an industry, agriculture has often been at the forefront of technological development, and today researchers are developing robots that can lighten the load at virtually every stage of the growing process. In this episode, I’ll be striding into the muddy world of agricultural robotics with help from Petra Bosilj (University of Lincoln) and Chris Chavasse (MuddyMachines). We've also just launched tickets for a special live online recording of Episode 9 in June - find out more here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/robot-talk-live-robots-into-the-wild-tickets-149424567905 Dr Petra Bosilj is a Senior Lecturer in Agri-Robotics at the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Technology, University of Lincoln, and specialises in robotic vision for agriculture. Her research focuses on visual scene analysis and interpretation, and has been applied to different agricultural processes such as robotic weeding, assessing soil quality and estimating yields from crop counts. The goal of her research is not only to improve the efficacy of agricultural practices, but to ensure the food production chain has a sustainable and even a regenerative effect on our environment. Chris Chavasse has spent his entire career in robotics innovation. At school, he was involved with the First Lego League robotics competitions and RoboCup Junior. He went on to complete his Masters in Electronics Engineering at the University of Warwick, developing new UAVs and Search & Rescue Robots. Upon graduating, he spent four years at Dyson, inventing the next generation of household robots, followed by two years leading the development of novel commercial kitchen robots at Deliveroo, before founding Muddy Machines, where he is now focused on solving domestic growers most pressing issues.
39 minutes | Mar 27, 2021
Episode Six - Human-Robot Collaboration: working together
Although robots have been in our lives for decades, they have often been kept quite separate from the humans they help, whether that's huge industrial manufacturing robots that operate behind fences on the factory floor or remote handling robots in nuclear and surgical settings. But increasingly, we want to design robots that work with us in close collaboration. In this episode, I take a look at the rapidly-developing world of human-robot collaboration — from nimble robotic assistants in the smart factories of the future, to robotic toys and assistants in homes, classrooms, and hospital wards — with the help of Javier Chiyah (Heriot-Watt University), Dr Helena Webb (University of Oxford) and Dr Lola Cañamero (University of Hertfordshire). Javier Chiyah is a PhD student at Heriot-Watt University working on human-robot collaboration using conversational agents. He is exploring new methods of interaction for robots in smart factories with Siemens. Previously, he worked on the development of a system for remote operation of autonomous underwater vehicles, funded by the Ministry of Defence. One of his goals is to make robots more intuitive to use through speech, and he is very excited about all the amazing things that human-robot teams can achieve together. Dr Helena Webb is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. She specialises in detailed, qualitative research that explores the lived experience of technology and the different ways in which users interact with technological systems. She is currently part of a project called RoboTIPS, a collaboration between Oxford and Bristol Robotics Lab to develop an innovative safety mechanism for social robots – the Ethical Black Box. Dr Lola Cañamero is Head of the Embodied Emotion, Cognition and (Inter-)Action Lab at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Following an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, she turned to Embodied AI and robotics as a postdoctoral fellow. Her research investigates the interactions between motivation, emotion and embodied cognition and action from the perspectives of adaptation, development and evolution, using autonomous and social robots and artificial life simulations.
27 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
Episode Five - Robots for hazardous environments: into the extremes
One way in which robots can be put to particularly good use is for performing tasks in environments that are too dangerous for humans to work, for example deep below ground or underwater, or in industrial environments like nuclear power plants. In this episode, I’m joined by Dr Simon Watson (University of Manchester) and Jonathon Witty (UK Atomic Energy Authority) to chat about some of the ways robotics is being used in hazardous places like these. Dr Simon Watson is a Senior Lecturer in Robotic Systems in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Manchester. His research focus is on mobile robots for the exploration and characterisation of hazardous and extreme environments, such as those found in the nuclear, offshore energy and mining industries. He has led the development of aquatic, aerial and ground robots and works closely with industry to take robotic platforms from University prototypes through to commercially viable systems. Jonathon Witty is a mechatronics engineer in the cybernetics group of RACE, a department of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), having completed their graduate scheme after his engineering science degree at Oxford University. He largely works on integrating sensors with robotic systems, supporting maintenance, upgrades, and research for fusion energy devices. One key project has been supporting upgrades to the remote handling system for JET - the world’s most powerful active fusion machine - based in Oxfordshire.
35 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
Episode Four - Robot Senses: perceiving the world
If we want to create smart, adaptable robots, the first thing they need to be able to do is to sense and understand the world around them. In this episode, I explore how robots sense and perceive the world around them with help from Matt Watson (Opteran Technologies), Dr Perla Maiolino (University of Oxford) and Dr Dimitrios Kanoulas (University College London). Matthew T. Watson received a Masters in electronic engineering and a PhD in robotics from the University of Sheffield. In 2019 he joined Opteran Technologies as a senior engineer, helping to advance and bring to market Opteran’s natural intelligence technologies. His research interests include autonomous mobile robot and UAV trajectory planning and tracking, dynamically stable robot locomotion systems, and computationally efficient approaches to combined robot perception and control. Dr Perla Maiolino is currently Associate Professor at the Engineering Science Department of the University of Oxford and director of the Soft Robotics lab at The Oxford Robotics Institute. She worked at the development of CySkin Technology, an artificial skin for providing robot with sense of touch. This technology has been shown at the Robots exhibition at London Science Museum in 2017. Her research includes the development of tactile sensing technologies for robots, tactile perception and soft robotics. Dr Dimitrios Kanoulas is a Lecturer in Robotics and Computation at the University College London (UCL), Department of Computer Science, member of the UCL Robotics Institute, and the PI of the Robot Perception and Learning (RPL) lab. His research aims to apply perception and learning in robotics. In particular, he is developing new estimation and planning algorithms for articulated robots that locomote and manipulate in uncertain environments, including real-time methods for sensing, map building, and self/environment modelling.
4 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Winter Treats Pt 5
Claire asked her guests some extra questions about their careers, their advice, and their favourite robots. In the final clip, we hear from UK roboticists about the robots they'd most like to have in an apocalypse to help them survive.
5 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Winter Treats Pt 4
Claire asked her guests some extra questions about their careers, their advice, and their favourite robots. In the fourth clip, we hear researchers' tips and advice for starting a career in robotics.
5 minutes | Dec 30, 2020
Winter Treats Pt 3
Claire asked her guests some extra questions about their careers, their advice, and their favourite robots. In this clip, we hear from UK roboticists about what made them decide to pursue a career in robotics.
4 minutes | Dec 30, 2020
Winter Treats Pt 2
As a special treat for the holiday season, Claire asked her guests some extra questions. In the second clip, we hear from UK roboticists about their favourite robot characters from film and television.
8 minutes | Dec 29, 2020
Winter Treats Pt 1
As a special treat for the holiday season, Claire asked her guests some extra questions about their careers, their advice, and their favourite robots. In the first clip, we hear from UK roboticists about their career paths.
32 minutes | Nov 27, 2020
Episode Three - Robot Locomotion: getting moving
One of the most fundamental things a robot can do is to move around in its environment, and engineers have developed lots of different solutions to robotic locomotion – legs, wheels, rotors, and everything in between. In this episode, I’m joined by Dr Romeo Orsolino (Dynamic Robot Systems Group, University of Oxford), Chris Cieslak (BladeBUG), and Dr Chengxu Zhou (Real Robotics Lab, University of Leeds) to talk about the amazing and sometimes surprising ways that robots get moving. Dr Romeo Orsolino is a postdoctoral researcher at the Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI) focusing on the development of efficient locomotion strategies that allow humanoid and quadruped robots to walk and navigate across complex environments. He has a master’s degree in robotics engineering and a PhD in advanced and humanoid robotics. Romeo's research interests encompass a wide range of topics such as artificial intelligence, optimization, dynamics and computer science. Chris Cieslak is a Chartered Engineer with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Sussex University and a master’s degree in Composite Materials from Imperial College. He is a former wind turbine blade designer with over a decade of experience in the industry. Chris firmly believes that now is the time to bring blade maintenance into the 21st century with the BladeBUG robot, applying the deep knowledge and understanding he has gained to ensure that wind farms perform at their maximum efficiency and last the full life span for which they are designed. Dr Chengxu Zhou is a lecturer in Mobile Robotics at the University of Leeds working on intelligent motion generation for legged robots. He received his PhD degree in Robotics in 2016 from the Italian Institute of Technology. His research focusses on dynamic locomotion of humanoid robots using machine learning technologies and is interested in whole-body coordination in complex environments. His work on humanoid robots as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge was highlighted by the Journal of Bionic Engineering in 2017.
34 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
Episode Two - Space Robotics: out of this world
Of all the different areas that robotics is being applied to, space robotics might be the one that most captures people’s imaginations and inspires us to make what seems impossible, possible. From robots in orbit to planetary rovers and wearable tech, in this episode we’ll explore the latest developments in space robotics and technology. In this episode, I’m joined by Xander Hall (Airbus Defence and Space), Dr Arthur Bouton (Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey) and Steph Pau (Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London) to talk about the challenges and opportunities for robots in space - present and future. Xander Hall is a Mission Systems Engineer at Airbus in Stevenage and specialises in robotics, in-orbit servicing and UK national missions. His time at Airbus has seen him work on projects to build >100m reflectors in orbit, perform Mars rover field trials in the Atacama desert in Chile, and develop the RemoveDEBRIS space harpoon (amongst many others). He is passionate about developing the next generation of spacecraft/services and is an advocate for keeping the space environment sustainable. Dr Arthur Bouton did his PhD in Paris on the topic of compliant wheel-legged locomotion systems. Two years ago, he joined the Future of AI and Robotics in Space (FAIR-SPACE) project at the University of Surrey to work on planetary rover mobility. Robotics is for him the best way to engage with all the engineering topics he is passionate about, from the mechanical design to machine learning and control. Stephanie Pau is a research associate at the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial College London, where she works with medical robotics researchers to create the links with space and industry. She has masters degrees in Electronics and Electronics Engineering from Imperial College and in Healthcare and Design from the Royal College of Art. She worked for 6 years in the space industry as a solutions architect and is now writing a book chapter on the Future of Human Robot Interaction in Space. She recently ran a webinar series, “From PPE to Spacesuits”.
27 minutes | Sep 25, 2020
Episode One – Medical Robotics: into the operating theatre
It’s not an exaggeration to say that robotics research is driving life-saving innovations – robots are already making a difference in clinics and operating theatres around the world. In our first episode, we’ll chat to researchers about how robotics is revolutionising medicine and surgery. In this episode, I’m joined by Dr James Chandler (STORM Lab, University of Leeds) and Dr Matina Giannarou (Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London) to talk about the exciting world of medical and surgical robotics and find out what they’ve been working on. Dr James Chandler is a Research Fellow in the Science and Technologies of Robotics in Medicine (STORM) Lab at the University of Leeds, working on low-cost, soft robotic technology for intravascular and endoscopic applications. He has a master’s degree in Automotive Engineering and a PhD in surgical sensing of cancer from the University of Leeds. In his research he is interested in soft and flexible robotic systems for surgery and sensing technologies for identifying tissue disease. Dr Stamatia (Matina) Giannarou is a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery, Imperial College London, with a PhD in Image Processing. Her research focuses on enhanced surgical vision for navigation during minimally invasive and robot-assisted operations. She leads the Vision for Robotic Surgery research group at the Hamlyn Centre and is the chair of the annual Hamlyn Winter School on Surgical Imaging and Vision. In 2017 she won “The President’s Award for Outstanding Early Career Researcher” at Imperial College London.
2 minutes | Sep 21, 2020
Robot Talk Trailer
Robot Talk is a brand new podcast that sits down with some of the UK's top robotics researchers and asks them questions like, "How does that work?", "What's better, legs or wheels?", and "How soon can I get one of these robots in my house?". Hosted by Claire Asher, Robot Talk explores the science and technology behind everything from robotic surgery to planetary rovers and self-driving cars, on the last Friday of every month.
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