The Committee of the UK-RAS Network met during the 2020 UK Robotics Week (https://www.ukras.org/robotics-week/) to discuss, amongst other items on collaboration, partnerships and digital infrastructure, the activity ongoing at a National and International level on Robotics and Autonomous Systems this year that is showcased during the Robotics Week. This year the Covid-19 disruption has moved all activities online but this was a good opportunity to learn more about and celebrate the successes of the Network this past year (link to video: https://youtu.be/Uou_RHj8EvA)

The UK-RAS Network committee wished everybody a Happy Robotics Week! (https://twitter.com/UKRobotics/status/1276806236709756930)

 

20200625 Ukras Network Meeting

The Network brings together the UK’s core academic capabilities in robotics innovation under national coordination and encourages academic and industry collaboration to accelerate the development and adoption of RAS.

The EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Network (https://www.ukras.org/) was established in March 2015 with the mission to provide academic leadership in RAS, expand collaboration with industry and integrate and coordinate activities at eight Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded RAS capital facilities, four Centres of Doctoral Training (CDTs) of which the CDT in Embedded Intelligence is one of them, and with 30 partner universities across the UK.

Our paper entitled ‘A Doctorate That Works: Non-traditional Populations Served on Both Sides of the Atlantic’ was presented on the 25th June 2020 at the Online and Professional Graduate Programs session of this year’s ASEE Annual Conference and Exhibition.

This paper is a collaboration between the EPSRC CDT in Embedded Intelligence and American universities such as Purdue University and Texas A&M University who offer PhD programmes tailored for students with an entrepreneurial spirit, eager to conduct industry-inspired projects with industrial collaborators, and with an impactful agenda in mind for the student’s PhD research.

Details about this collaborative work can be found here: https://www.asee.org/public/conferences/172/papers/30121/view.%20 The paper will shortly be found here: https://www.asee.org/public/conferences/172/papers/30121/view

Asee 2020

The day event organised by the UKTech Cluster Group (https://uktechclustergroup.com/) was aimed to discuss how to tackle the issues stemming from the Covid-19 disruption and what practical plans the public sector should put in place by utilising the tech & the startup communities across the UK.

The event was split into different sessions which can be found here.

https://uktechclustergroup.com/the-recovery-roadmap-summit/

One of the afternoon sessions was dedicated to understanding international recovery programmes and to learn from best practices. The Executive Director of the EPSRC CDT in Embedded Intelligence, Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez, was invited to contribute to the ‘Tech for smart manufacturing’ Panel facilitated by David Hardman MBE, iCentrum Managing Director, in the Supporting the Entire Economy session. Other speakers of that panel included: Julia Sutcliffe (Chief Technologist and Director Air Labs at BAE Systems), Nick Wright (Head of Manufacturing Industries, Digital Catapult), and Sophie Hallet-Jones (CEO of Protean Advanced).

 

20200623 Uktechclustergroup3 1


The topics discussed in the session were:

• Why is now the right time to be making investments in the 4th industrial revolution?

• What should the regions be doing to develop capability to drive the 4th industrial revolution in the UK?

• What are the challenges and potential solutions to developing more digital tech capability for the manufacturing sector and are there existing initiatives that people should be aware of and can benefit from?

• How could we make the most of what we’ve got to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as a reset- point; a pivot-point or just a catalyst for change that was already underway.

The discussion between the speakers and the questions from the audience showed a significant interest around SMEs and the ecosystem they form.

 

In October 2019, our Cohort 5 student, Yang Zhou attended the Robot & Research Equipment Training (RRET) based in Italy.

RRET aims at delivering the fundamental understandings of the underwater robots’ manipulation, application programming interfaces (APIs) and embedded system algorithms training. The event was conducted by an underwater robotics technology company, attended by many researchers who are also working on the embedded intelligence area.

Yang found attendance at this event highly useful to his research as he explains below:

During this training, we were divided into groups, working on the underwater robots. Therefore, I learnt how to effectively communicate with researchers in science. Moreover, the training deepened my insights of underwater robotics. As my PhD research is Curiosity-driven Underwater Robot Navigation, it provided a good opportunity to play with the equipment and to further think about the PhD project. Furthermore, I learnt the big gap of transformation of lab research algorithms and industrial applications.

The reason I chose to attend the events is this event is relevance to my PhD research, from which I could have the opportunity to learn how the underwater robot works and how I could develop as well as deploy my algorithms on it.

Youssef Hamid (Cohort 3) attended the 21st Electronic Packaging Technology Conference (EPTC 2019) held in Singapore from the 4th to 6th December 2019.

This is a major conference of the Asian chapter of the IEEE Electronics Packaging Society (EPS). With several academics, engineers, researcher gathering, the event was important networking opportunity focused on the specific areas of MEMS packaging, Microelectronic manufacturing and homogeneous integration.

During this event, Youssef presented his second conference paper on “Packaging Effects on MEMS Pressure Sensor Hysteresis”. This had led to further conversations with Prof Chris Baily from Greenwich University, Dr Karsten Meier from Dresden University, Germany about the use of ANSYS as a simulation tool for MEMS packaging.

Throughout the 3 conference days, Youssef learned about using Raman spectroscopy to measure stress in Silicon MEMS devices as a means for evaluation residual packaging effects from Pf Xuejun Fan from Lamar University, USA; a technique present at Loughborough university a was investigate during the research project. Interesting conversation with STMicroelectronics engineer Dr Roseanna Duca revolving packaging techniques for microphones also occurred.

EPTC was the second international opportunity to present to MEMS packaging experts.

 

Our Cohort 3 student, Orange Gao attended ICIP (IEEE International Conference on Image Processing) from September 22-25 2019 in Taiwan.

ICIP is the world's largest and most comprehensive technical conference focused on image and video processing and computer vision, the conference features world-class speakers, tutorials, exhibits and innovative programs that include grand challenges, prominent industry talks, showcases, etc.

Orange's paper "Image Super-Resolution Using CNN Optimised By Self-Feature Loss" was accepted here as a poster presentation. The presentation was successful and attracted a lot of interest from the conference peers and received positive feedback.

Mevea Seminar 2019

16 March 2020

On October 3rd, 2019, Jake Rankin attended The Mevea Seminar 2019 to discuss the applications of Reinforcement Learning on excavation.

The full event can be found on Mevea’s website at https://mevea.com/news-events/news/mevea-seminar-2019-summary/.

The conference took place at the Scandic Helsinki Aviacongress and have over 250 people from 100 different companies attended. The primary meetings were with Mevea software developers to discuss new solutions for reinforcement learning and soil-tool modelling as this was a software specific to the project.

As well as Mevea researchers, it was a great opportunity to discuss ideas with fellow PhD students and industry experts to understand the challenges they face. Several talks were held, with interesting talks from JCB and Liebherr on their autonomy challenges and how Mevea’s software helped to address them.

Another reason for attending was to present research done using Mevea’s software. After an overview on the challenges of the construction industry and an overview on reinforcement learning, project work was described as well as preliminary results of the study including initial data collection on Mevea’s digital twin and excavation work performed. This helped further understanding of the target audience for reinforcement learning and the follow-up meeting with Mevea helped establish future project work that could help both the project and Mevea.

This was an interesting and valuable opportunity that helped to develop confidence and networking. A follow-up presentation is planned for October 2020 with more emphasis on technical delivery.

Youssef Hamid (Cohort 3) attended the 5th annual conference on Sensors and Electronic Instrumentation Advances (SEIA' 2019) held in Tenerife, Spain from the 25th to 27th Sep 2019.

With several scientists and engineers brought together, the event was a great networking opportunity focused on the specific areas of sensor development, MEMS actuators and measurements.

During this event, Youssef presented his first ever abstract on the “effect of thin film interconnect inelasticity on MEMS pressure sensor hysteresis”, a topic that sparked real interest amongst attendee’s Dr Eleanor Chalkley from Strathclyde, UK, and Dr Dan Stefanescu from the Romanian Measurement Society, Romania.

Throughout conversations with other attendees, Youssef learned about using platinum strips as insitu temperature sensors due their constant temperature coefficient of resistance throughout an extended range. Presenting at the SEIA conference represented an excellent communication exercise building on the university approved Vitae RDF training program which helped meet and network with expert MEMS sensors.

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