PGRs meeting and Research Presentations – May 2016

The monthly PGRs Research Presentations was held on Thursday 12th May, 2pm, Room MC3108.

This session we had the following presentations:




Title: A ROS framework for single antenna RFID tag localisation with mobile robots.


By: George Broughton

 IMG_20160512_141116[1] Abstract: 

Over the last few years, RFID technology has evolved to give mobile robots an extra dimension to sense their surroundings. By determining whether certain tags, often fixed to interesting objects, can be read or not, the robot can effectively sense the objects presence. This is not just useful for finding lost objects, but has also been used for activity recognition. Additionally, tags have been used as landmarks within environments to aid with navigation.

This presentation looks at the development of a ROS framework for localising RFID tags from a mobile robot. The framework combines several different approaches to make use of the information provided by the tag and from the reader, to estimate possible locations of the tag. This is done by taking the output of the different algorithms, and then combining and feeding them into a densely populated occupancy grid using a bayesian update system to calculate the most probable tag location. Rather than rely on multiple antennas for trilateration, the framework exploits a robot’s ability to move within its environment to seek optimal positions to hone in on a tag. This also has the additional benefit of providing resistance to multipath signal errors.

This will lead to a framework that is future-proof, robust, works with multiple models of readers, and can be moulded to suit many needs.






PGRs meeting and Research Presentations – April 2016

The monthly PGRs Research Presentations was held on Wed. 13th April, 2pm, Room MC3108.

This session we had the following presentations:


PGRs Monthly meeting_April2016  (Slides )



  • Speaker –>
  • A quick look at the new “PGRs Management System”,PGR-MS1


  • PGRs Blog.


  • Discussion of the activities plan.
  • Update and plan for the “Showcase Event”
  • Announcements, AOB, & closing



Title: Life-long Spatio-temporal Exploration of Dynamic Environments: An overview.

By: Joao Santos


 Abstract: The primary purpose of robotic exploration is to autonomously acquire a complete and precise model of the robot’s operational environment. To explore efficiently, the robot has to direct its attention to environment areas that are currently unknown. If the world was static, these areas would simply correspond to previously unvisited locations. In the case of dynamic environments, visiting all locations only once is not enough, because they may change over time. Thus, dynamic exploration requires that the environment locations are revisited and their (re-) observations are used to update a dynamic environment model. However, revisiting the individual locations with the same frequency and on a regular basis is not efficient because the environment dynamics will, in general, not be homegeneous, (i.e. certain areas change more often and the changes occur only at certain times).

Similarly to the static environment exploration, the robot should revisit only the areas whose states are unknown at the time of the planned visits. Thus, the robot has to use its environment model to predict the uncertainty of the individual locations over time and use these predictions to plan observations that from a theoretical point of view improve its knowledge about the world’s dynamics. Hence, the observations are scheduled in order to obtain information about the environment changes, which are mainly caused by human-activity. As a consequence, using schedules motivated by the changes in metric maps increases the chance to extract  dynamics that are essential for object learning and activity recording tasks.






PGRs meeting and Research Presentations – Oct. 2015

The monthly PGRs Research Presentations was held on Wed. 14th October, 2pm, Room MC3108.

This session we had the following presentations:

Title: “Modelling LGMD2 Visual Neuron System“. Title:   “Compressed video matching: Frame-to-frame revisited

By: Qinbing Fu

By: Saddam Bekhet

Abstract: Two Lobula Giant Movement Detectors (LGMDs) have been identified in the lobula region of the locust visual system: LGMD1 and LGMD2. LGMD1 had been successfully used in robot navigation to avoid impending collision. LGMD2 also responds to looming stimuli in depth, and shares most the same properties with LGMD1; however, LGMD2 has its specific collision selective responds when dealing with different visual stimulus. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a novel way to model LGMD2, in order to emulate its predicted bio-functions, moreover, to solve some defects of previous LGMD1 computational models. The mechanism of ON and OFF cells, as well as bio-inspired nonlinear functions, are introduced in our model, to achieve LGMD2’s collision selectivity. Our model has been tested by a miniature mobile robot in real time. The results suggested this model has an ideal performance in both software and hardware for collision recognition. Abstract:  This presentation is about an improved frame-to-frame (F-2-F) compressed video matching technique based on local features extracted from reduced size images, in contrast with previous F-2-F techniques that utilized global features extracted from full size frames. The revised technique addresses both accuracy and computational cost issues of the traditional F-2-F approach. Accuracy is improved through using local features, while computational cost issue is addressed through extracting those local features from reduced size images. For compressed videos, the DC-image sequence, without full decompression, is used. Utilizing such small size images (DC-images) as a base for the proposed work is important, as it pushes the traditional F-2-F from off-line to real-time operational mode. The proposed technique involves addressing an important problem: namely the extraction of enough local features from such a small size images to achieve robust matching. The relevant arguments and supporting evidences for the proposed technique are presented. Experimental results and evaluation, on multiple challenging datasets, show considerable computational time improvements for the proposed technique accompanied by a comparable or higher accuracy than state-of-the-art related techniques.



  • Then our usual catch-up agenda:
  • PGR Month (as per the GS email).
  • Reminder of the StatsDay session (28th Oct, Lab B).
  • Expected Deadline (for Progress Panel) v.early Nov.
  • Announce @ “App Fest”:
    • Required ~5 supervisors (PGR/MComp):






PGRs meeting and Research Presentations – Sept. 2015

The monthly PGRs Research Presentations is resumed (after Summer Break) and was held on Wed. 9th September, 2pm, Room MC3108.

This session we had the following presentations:

Title: “Affordable Mobile Robotic Platforms for Teaching Computer Science at African Universities“. Title:   “Exploring the dynamics of social interaction in massive open online courses

By: Ernest Gyebi

By: Kwamena Appiah-Kubi

Abstract: Educational robotics can play a key role in addressing some of the challenges faced by higher education in Africa. One of the major obstacles preventing a wider adoption of initiatives involving educational robotics in this part of the world is lack of robots that would be affordable by African institutions. In this paper, we present a survey and analysis of currently available affordable mobile robots and their suitability for teaching computer science at African universities. To this end, we propose a set of assessment criteria and review a number of platforms costing an order of magnitude less than the existing popular educational robots. Our analysis identifies suitable candidates offering contrasting features and benefits. We also discuss potential issues and promising directions which can be considered by both educators in Africa but also designers and manufacturers of future robot platforms. Abstract:  MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) make free and easily accessible educational resources from participating universities spanning a wide range of courses. These learning resources are often structured and delivered to mimic a brick-and-mortar classroom. The courses usually attract large number of participants who have to collaborate within the time frame of the course to facilitate their learning as well as socialize. This large number of participants that have to collaborate within such a short time span presents a new context to investigate the dynamics of social interaction within such a group.



  • Then our usual catch-up agenda: New regulations and PGRs forms.






July’s Research Presentation

The monthly PGRs Research Presentations was held on Wed.  8th July, 2pm, Room MC3108.

This session we had the following presentations:

Title: “Facilitating Individualised Collaboration with Robots (FInCoR)“.

By: Peter Lightbody

Abstract: Enabling a robot to seamlessly collaborate with a human counterpart on a joint task requires not only the ability to identify human preferences, but also the capacity to act upon this information when planning and scheduling tasks. This presentation provides a review of the current state-of-the-art techniques used in human-robot collaboration; techniques which will be utilised to combine the detection of human preferences with real-time task scheduling. This system will thus allow the collaborator to subconsciously influence the planning and scheduling of the system, eventually creating a seamless and less disruptive collaboration experience. This review is followed by a brief overview of the subsequent stages of research, with a probabilistic model introduced to allow the robot to dynamically adapt to changes during the completion of a task.