“Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects”, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca

On Wednesday 3rd June 2015, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca from the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, will give a research seminar in the School of Computer Science. Everyone is welcome!

When: Wednesday 3rd June 2015 @ 4:00pm
Where: MC0024, MHT Building


Title: Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects

Softness is the subjective impression of the physical deformability of an object. When we interact with a deformable object like a pillow, sensory signals from multiple sense modalities provide information related to its compressibility (i.e. proprioceptive position, tactile force, visual deformation). Such signals dynamically depend on the way we interact with the object. Our brain has specialised mechanisms that processes this information to create a coherent perceptual representation of the compressibility of the object and to adjust motor actions accordingly. In this work I will present psychophysical experiments that employ visual-haptic virtual reality setups to investigate how we perceive the compressibility of an object while we squeeze it or while we press against its surface. The results of these studies form the basis of a computational model of softness perception where signals are combined into perceptual estimates that are then integrated according to the rules of Bayesian inference.

New job opportunities: 2 Postdocs in Assistive & Service Robotics

The University of Lincoln is seeking to appoint 2 new Postdoctoral Research Fellows in Assistive Robotics (Robot Perception for Long-Term Human Activity Monitoring) and Service Robotics (Robot Perception for Human Tracking and Motion Analysis) to join the Centre for Autonomous Systems Research (L-CAS). Details are available on the University’s job opportunities website.

CFP – Special Issue: “Representations and Reasoning for Robotics”

Call for Papers

Special Issue of Robotics on “Representations and Reasoning for Robotics”


Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2015
As the field of robotics matures, the development of ever more intelligent robots becomes possible. However, robots deployed in homes, offices and other complex domains are faced with the formidable challenge of representing, revising and reasoning with incomplete domain knowledge about their capabilities, their environments, and how the former interacts with the latter.

Many algorithms have been developed for qualitatively and quantitatively representing and reasoning with knowledge and uncertainty. Unfortunately, research contributions in this area are fragmented, making it difficult for researchers with different expertise to share advances in their respective fields. The objective of this special issue is therefore to promote a deeper understanding of recent breakthroughs and challenges in knowledge representation and reasoning for robots. We are interested in efforts that integrate, or motivate an integration of algorithms for knowledge representation and/or commonsense reasoning, on one or more robots, in different application domains.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

– Knowledge acquisition and representation
– Symbolic and probabilistic representations
– Reasoning with incomplete knowledge
– Interactive and cooperative decision-making
– Learning and symbol grounding
– Qualitative representations and reasoning

We particularly encourage the submission of papers that ground these topics in research areas such as robot perception, human–robot (and multirobot) collaboration, and robot planning.
Guest Editors

Dr. Nicola Bellotto
(University of Lincoln, UK)

Dr. Nick Hawes
(University of Birmingham, UK)

Dr. Mohan Sridharan
(The University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Prof. Daniele Nardi
(“Sapienza” Universita’ di Roma, Italy)

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Fully-funded PhD in Mobile Robotics for Ambient Assisted Living

A PhD position is available in the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems Research (L-CAS, http://robots.lincoln.ac.uk ) at the University of Lincoln UK.

This 3 ½ year funded position is open to UK/EU candidates only and includes tuition fees and a bursary at the current RCUK doctoral stipend levels.

The PhD position is offered in the area of mobile robotics for ambient assisted living with potential application to health and elderly care. The successful candidate will be expected to design, conduct and publish original research on this topic, developing novel approaches for long-term monitoring and assistance of humans, including activity perception, representation and prediction, while taking into account the dynamics and changes that occur in real world environments.

The successful candidate will be expected to engage in an international and ambitious team, working with state-of-the-art robotic hardware and software, and benefitting from excellent support to produce and disseminate original research contributions. Moreover, he/she will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with members of the L-CAS team involved in the European FP7 project STRANDS (http://www.strands-project.eu), which focuses on long term operations and interaction of robots in human populated environments. There is an expectation that the successful candidate will participate in international conferences and other activities as required.

The candidate will have a Bachelor or Master in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics or Physics. He/she must have excellent mathematical and coding skills (e.g. C++, Python), preferably with some knowledge of Linux OS. Although not required, some previous experience in Machine Learning, Computer Vision and/or Artificial Intelligence would be an advantage. The student should be available to start the PhD as soon as possible.

The School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln scored highly in the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) with 85% of its outputs ranked at international quality or better with 15% ranked world-leading. The School provides a stimulating environment for academic research, and is based on the picturesque waterfront campus in the vibrant city of Lincoln in high quality, newly developed facilities. The research facilities available within the School of Computer Science include well-appointed research laboratories and office spaces with state-of-the-art computing facilities for an international community of academics, researchers and graduate students. 

In the first instance please contact Dr Nicola Bellotto and Dr Oscar Martinez Mozos (nbellotto@lincoln.ac.uk , omozos@lincoln.ac.uk), with your CV and transcript. Put “Mobile Robotics for Ambient Assisted Living – PhD Application” in the subject line.

Please note the studentship will be offered to the most suitable candidate on a first come basis, so early application is encouraged.