I graduated in 2008 with a BEng in Electronic Engineering and Music Technology Sytems from York University. Although my course specialized in audio electronics, I also took modules in AI, and my final year project was robotics-based. See the Links section for a video.
I am currently working towards my PhD with the title “Generic Protective Reflexes for Humanoid Robots”. The goal of my PhD is to implement tactile-triggered protective reflexes, to improve the effectiveness and safety of the robot during operation.
It is part of the EU-funded RoboSkin project, with the goal of creating a flexible, generic skin for humaniod robots. It will have additional functionality from software, such as the reflexes I am working on.
Develop some benchmarking scenarios to develop and test reflexes on the robot. The chosen scenarios will be used to measure any improvement gained by adding protective reflexes. Currently, reaching is being used as a scenario for initial development.
What is a reflex? Develop some experiments to measure reflexes in humans. A motion capture suit will be used to record the reactions of a number of test subjects performing the action from the current scenario. This experiment will be devised to allow both the natural, unmodulated action (reaching for the object), and the reflex reaction arising from an unexpected stimulus, to be recorded.
Distance estimation using head movements. As the robot we are using doesn’t have stereo vision, a different method of distance estimation needs to be used. I am currently experimenting with using movements of the robot’s head to measure distance to an object, using parallax. This short demonstration video shows the Nao robot looking for its hand after it has been moved to a random position. In the first trial, it is in a position that is impossible for it to see. After failing to find it, the arm moves again, and this time, after identifying it, the robot moves its head slightly to measure the distance using parallax.