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PhD Project Introductions

Cooperation and sharing of information are vital for the success of our Center. To support this, we ask our PhD Researchers to give a brief introduction to their projects within the initial 6 months.

During our latest seminar, Akash Hettiarachchi and Louis Fernandez provided an outline of their projects’ objectives, methodology, and anticipated outcomes.

As they continue their research, we’ll keep you posted on their progress. Meanwhile, you can learn more about their research updates HERE.


New PhD Researcher, Eleonora Zodo

Let’s introduce Eleonora Zodo, our newest team member. Eleonora is a PhD researcher at QUT (Queensland University of Technology), actively involved in the Human-Robot Interaction program.

This program focuses on critical aspects of human interaction with robotic systems, including mutual awareness, visualising robotic intentions, and developing rapid collaborative robotic solutions. The program is built on understanding collaborative work patterns and specific task domains and aims to create practical Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) solutions and support industry adoption.

Eleonora’s research project centers on establishing safe and efficient #HumanRobotcollaboration. The work has practical implications, from manufacturing to operating theaters, and involves partners like Cook Medical and Stryker.

We are pleased to welcome Eleonora to the team and anticipate her valuable contributions. Join us in welcoming Eleonora aboard!

Welcome Eleonora!

Meet our E.P.I.C. Researcher, Jagannatha Pyaraka

Jagannatha Pyaraka is a PhD researcher based at Swinburne and his project is part of the Biomimic Cobots Program at the Australian Cobotics Centre.

He is excited to work in the field of Robotics/Automation that serves and inspires society in leading a simple and better quality of life.

We interviewed Jagannatha recently to find out more about why he does what he does.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and your research with the Centre?

I finished my Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronics) degree from GITAM University in 2018 and master’s in professional engineering (Robotics and Mechatronics) in 2021 from Swinburne University of Technology. Following the undergraduate degree, I worked as a Senior QA Automation Engineer at NTT DATA Services. Now I am pursuing my PhD in field of robotics.

My research under ACC is centered on developing a learning framework for cobots through biomimicry digital twinning. I am pioneering a learning from demonstration methodology for collaborative robots using digital twin technology. This project addresses several critical challenges: enabling robots to adapt to varied operational conditions for a given task, facilitating their learning of diverse tasks in a manner analogous to human learning, and significantly reducing the necessity for human intervention in the robot’s learning process. I am confident that the advancements from this research will pave the way for more intuitive robot-human interactions, enabling robots to understand tasks more holistically and perform them as instinctively as humans.

  • Why did you decide to be a part of the Australian Cobotics Centre?

As a postgraduate, my decision to become a part of the Australian Cobotics Centre is fuelled by the extraordinary prospects it offers. The Centre’s vision to revolutionize the Australian manufacturing industry through collaborative robotics resonates deeply with my desire to contribute to impactful change. The opportunity to enhance manufacturing efficiency, and prioritize safety aligns perfectly with my aspirations for a meaningful and dynamic career.

The Centre’s commitment to cutting-edge research and innovation is particularly enticing. Being at the forefront of technological advancements in collaborative robotics would not only allow me to engage with groundbreaking ideas but also give me the chance to be part of a transformative movement. The interdisciplinary approach embraced by the Centre is equally appealing, as it would enable me to explore diverse fields, fostering a versatile skill set that’s crucial in today’s ever-evolving landscape.

The prospect of industry collaboration is another significant factor in my decision. The Centre’s connections with industry partners and its dedication to training researchers and engineers with practical skills means I would be well-prepared to transition seamlessly into the workforce. Moreover, the people-centric and inclusive environment the Centre promotes assures me of a supportive community where I can grow both personally and professionally. Overall, ACC offers a unique chance to merge my academic pursuits with real-world impact, making it an inspiring destination to embark on my journey toward a fulfilling career.

  • What project are you most proud of throughout your career and why?

During my final semester, I undertook an internship at a company that exposed me to a real-world challenge in the realm of autonomous vehicles. To address this issue, I meticulously designed and built an Arduino-based data logger capable of capturing serial data communication between two subsystems. My contribution encompassed both hardware and software elements, resulting in a robust end-to-end system. The finalized product was a turnkey solution that industry professionals could seamlessly utilize for similar scenarios.

  • What do you hope the long-term impact of your work will be?

The goal of my work is to make robots work more like humans. By improving how they learn and interact, we hope to make human-robot teamwork smoother. In the long run, this means robots could do tasks just as naturally as humans, changing the way we work together in many fields.

  • Aside from your research, what topic could you give an hour-long presentation on with little to no preparation?

Autonomous systems in Everyday Life

ARTICLE: Human-Robot Collaboration through Augmented Reality

Written by Dr Alan Burden, Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the Australian Cobotics Centre.

In previous articles, we delved into socio-technical systems (STS) and highlighted the importance of spatial design in shared human-robot environments. As we continue this exploration, this article will focus on technologies that show immense potential in improving the harmony between humans and cobotic systems. Our spotlight will be on augmented reality (AR), a technology poised to make human-cobot interactions more intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable. 

AR is a part of the ‘reality technologies’, often grouped under the umbrella term of extended reality (XR), which also includes virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). These technologies merge the physical and digital worlds, creating innovative environments where humans and machines interact. AR stands out because it doesn’t replace our reality, as with VR, but instead enhances our existing environment by overlaying digital information.   

AR enhances our perception of the physical world by overlaying images, sounds, or other data, onto our physical environment. In cobotics, AR could serve as a communication bridge between humans and robots, facilitating a more intuitive and efficient collaboration. For example, AR can visually guide a human worker in a manufacturing plant, showing them how to operate a machine or assemble a product with the help of a robot. Similarly, AR could provide surgeons with real-time data during a robotic assistant procedure in a healthcare setting. AR offers opportunities to improve the efficiency of the task at hand and enhance the safety and effectiveness of human-robot collaboration. 

The potential of AR extends beyond communication. It also plays a crucial role in spatial design for shared human-robot spaces. AR can help visualise the optimal arrangement of a workspace, considering the movement patterns and tasks of both humans and robots, which could lead to safer, more efficient, and intuitive shared spaces. For example, in a warehouse, AR can help design a layout that minimises the risk of accidents between human workers and autonomous robots. By visualising the robots’ paths and highlighting potential danger zones, AR can contribute to a safer and more productive environment. 

However, the integration of AR into cobotics is not without challenges. Technical limitations, such as AR devices’ accuracy and reliability, can affect AR applications’ effectiveness. User acceptance is another critical factor. While AR can make human-robot collaboration more intuitive, users must adapt to a new way of working and interacting with technology. Ethical considerations, such as privacy and data security, must also be addressed. 

Despite these challenges, AR presents exciting opportunities for the future of cobotics and STS. It can make human-robot collaboration more accessible and user-friendly, opening new possibilities for automation in various industries. Moreover, as AR technology evolves, we can expect even more innovative applications that will further enhance human-robot collaboration. 

AR is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance human-robot collaboration in STS. By improving communication and contributing to the design of safer and more efficient shared spaces, AR can help us harness the full potential of cobotics. As we navigate the intersection of humans and technology, embracing tools like AR will be crucial in creating a harmonious and efficient future for human-robot collaboration. The journey towards this future is filled with challenges and exciting opportunities. As we continue to explore and innovate, we can look forward to a world where humans and robots work together seamlessly, each enhancing the capabilities of the other. 

TAFE Queensland Explores QUT Centre for Robotics’ Industry Collaborations

Yesterday, TAFE Queensland’s representatives visited the QUT Centre for Robotics (QCR) at the Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point campus for an informative tour. Led by QCR PhD researcher Somayeh Hussaini, the delegation, including Shawn O’Sullivan, Mark Robertson, and Richard Auld, got a glimpse of the center’s ongoing industry collaborations and its impact on research.

The tour focused on showcasing the joint projects between QCR and various industries, highlighting the practical applications and benefits of their research efforts. The Australian Cobotics Centre PhD researchers, Jacqueline Greentree, Nisar Ahmed Channa, and Jagannatha Pyaraka, along with Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Melinda Laundon, also participated in the tour, offering their expertise and insights.


In a recent webinar, Dr. Melinda Laundon and Shawn O’Sullivan engaged in a discussion on how education and training systems can support a digitally-enabled workforce in the Australian manufacturing sector. The seminar emphasised the importance of preparing graduates with relevant skills to meet the demands of emerging technologies in the industry. Additionally, they shared the latest research findings from the Australian Cobotics Centre Human-Robot Workforce Program, led by Dr. Melinda Laundon, Professor Paula McDonald, and Jacqueline Greentree.

Watch the webinar via the link – (2) Supporting the digitally-enabled manufacturing workforce: the role of education and training systems – YouTube

Congratulations to our PhD researcher, Jagannatha Pyaraka

Congratulations to our PhD researcher from Swinburne University of TechnologyJagannatha Charjee Pyaraka who passed his confirmation of candidature this week!

The COC Panel was chaired by A/Prof Chris McCarthy with Dr Michelle Dunn and Dr Andrew Ang as other panel members.
Jagan’s supervisors (A/Prof Mats Isaksson, Dr John McCormick & Dr Fouad (Fred) Sukkar) were also in attendance.

More information about his project can be found on our website: