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PhD Project Introductions

Collaboration and sharing of information are vital for the success of our Centre. 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, Eleonora Zodo and Justin Botha from QUT (Queensland University of Technology) and Danial Rizvi from University of Technology Sydney 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.

   

Meet our E.P.I.C. Researcher, Jacqueline Greentree

Jacqueline Greentree is a PhD researcher based at Queensland University of Technology and her project is part of the Human-Robot Workforce Program at the Australian Cobotics Centre.
Her current research interests include education, government policy and the intersection in preparing people for the workplaces of the future.

We interviewed Jacqueline 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 have worked in education in some form across my career starting in Government and Vocational Education and Training (VET), moving to school education and VET in Schools and most recently working in Higher Education in a range of professional positions. My research seeks to understand how well VET education prepares those seeking work in advanced manufacturing considering the technological disruptions created through the adoption of new technologies (Industry 4.0). It also seeks to discover potential improvements in policy settings to bridge the skills gap in technical and digital domains for manufacturing to ensure a responsive training system to meet future skills needs.

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

It was a great opportunity to be part of some research that spans different disciplines but working together to achieve some new and different things. It was also an opportunity to learn more about how we will be working in the future as technology is rapidly changing work and workplaces. It was also an opportunity to dedicate myself fully to something new and different.

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

Completing my Masters of Philosophy, it was a long road to get there and had to balance a research project while doing a demanding full time job. I am enjoying being part of the centre and not having to work full-time in a different field while trying to complete the research.

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

I hope it continues the conversation about the way we educate people and whether the ways we have been doing that are still fit for our current world of learning and work. I would like for it open up new possibilities for considering how we move through education systems in Australia and possibly have different ways of gaining skills that are recognised by industry.

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

I find it difficult to talk for an hour on anything. If it was not my research then benefits of outdoor education/adventure challenges for kids to build resilience, perseverance and to be open to taking some appropriate risks.

CONGRATULATIONS Barış Balcı – Final Seminar

Massive congratulations to our PhD researcher, Barış Balcı who completed his final seminar today!

His thesis is entitled: Methods for Robotic Surface Finishing. His supervisory team include Professor Jonathan Roberts, Associate Professor Jared Donovan and Distinguished Professor Peter Corke and the review panel included Dr Christopher Lehnert, Dr Fangyi Zhang and Associate Professor Mats Isaksson.

His project addresses the challenges of using industrial robots in the surface finishing processes of custom-manufactured goods. Unlike mass manufacturing, in which goods are produced in high volumes with relatively non-changing manufacturing processes, custom manufacturing needs to overcome frequent process changes to deliver different products. These changes create multiple challenges such as cell design and reprogramming for implementing robotics into custom manufacturing scenarios.

Surface finishing for custom-manufactured products currently relies on high-skilled human operators to achieve the required level of position and force accuracy for the desired outcome. The project has created prototype tools for easing the integration of industrial robots into custom surface finishing operations while combining the knowledge of the human operator and the physical capabilities of the industrial robots.

As part of his thesis, Baris will have three papers published. The first two are below with a third to come in the new year:

???? B. Balci, J. Donovan, J. Roberts, and P. Corke, “Optimal Workpiece Placement Based on Robot Reach, Manipulability and Joint Torques,” 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). IEEE, May 29, 2023.

???? B. Balci, J. Roberts, J. Donovan, and P. Corke, “Force Controlled Robotic Surface Finishing with Variable Tool Centre Point (TCP),” 2023 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE). Accepted, May 25, 2023.

Barış originally started his PhD as part of the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC) Design Robotics project with UAP | Urban Art Projects and ARM Hub (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing). He had to pause his PhD for 2 years during the pandemic. When he returned, we were lucky enough to have him join our Centre.

Congratulations to our PhD Researchers

Congratulations to our PhD Researchers who passed their confirmation of candidature over the past month!

  1. Jacqueline Greentree from QUT (Queensland University of Technology). The review panel included Prof Greg Hearn and Prof Carol Richards. Jacqueline’s supervisors (Prof Paula McDonald and Dr Melinda Laundon) were also in attendance. More information about her project can be found on our website: HERE
  2. Nisar Ahmed Channa from QUT (Queensland University of Technology). The review panel included Prof Markus Rittenbruch and A/Prof Penny Williams. Nisar’s supervisors (Prof Greg Hearn, A/Prof Dr Luca Casali and Dr Sean Gallagher) were also in attendance. More information about his project can be found on our website: HERE
  3. Nadimul Haque from University of Technology Sydney. More information about his project can be found on our website: HERE
  4. Munia Ahamed from University of Technology Sydney. More information about his project can be found on our website: HERE

CONGRATULATIONS Victor Hernandez Moreno – Final Seminar

Congratulations to Victor Hernandez Moreno from the UTS Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, and Associate PhD Researcher from the Australian Cobotics Centre, for successfully passing his final Candidature Assessment.

Victor’s work addresses the problem of making robots easier to program through “Learning from Demonstration” in the industrial context. This is an important tool in helping to increase the utilisation of robotics.

Meet our E.P.I.C. Researcher, Anushani Bibile

Anushani Bibile is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, based at Swinburne University of Technology. Her project is part of the Quality Assurance and Compliance Program at the Australian Cobotics Centre. Her research is proactive in preserving the quality assurance of cobots in automated processes, where organisations can reap the benefits of cobot automation while minimising risks and maximising productivity.

We interviewed Anushani recently to find out more about why she does what she does.

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

I am proud to say that I was born in the town of Galle, nestled along the southwestern coast of beautiful Sri Lanka, having a huge cultural and historical significance. My bachelor’s degree was in Engineering Physics which I successfully completed with a first-class honour from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2004. I flew to UK to pursue my higher studies and completed my MSc in Mobile, Personal and Satellite Communications. After returning to my motherland, I served as a Lecturer at the Institute of Technology, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka from year 2009-2012. I taught the subjects Electronics and Telecommunications. I migrated to Australia with my family in 2013 and was offered the opportunity of a PhD from Monash University in 2015. I successfully completed my PhD in Engineering from the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering (ECSE) at Monash University. The research was based on signal processing for moving chipless RFID tag detection. I was privileged to contribute to the Monash, Microwave, Antennas, RF and Sensors (MMARS) team which pioneered this technology. After completing my PhD in 2020, I was working at Cylite optics, Clayton, as a researcher where I contributed towards the development of 3D registration algorithms for sparsely sampled OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) retinal volume data, designed specifically for the anterior of the eye (cornea, lens, and iris). I joined Swinburne University of Technology as a Postdoctoral research fellow in 2022 and am presently the postdoctoral researcher for the Quality Assurance and Compliance research program at the Australian Cobotics Centre.

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

I have been engaged in high end industrial projects throughout my doctoral research and have been able to publish journal papers in Q1 journals, conference papers and book articles. My research strengths were based on signal processing and data analysis. I decided to be part of Australian Cobotics Centre since I believed my experience in signal processing can be further utilized in a more real environment and it will be useful in bringing solutions to cobot associated manufacturing processes.

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

One of the longest and interesting projects that I was involved in was the implementation of a UHF RFID based smart shopping trolley which can track products and provide item level information to consumers in real time. I was involved in each part of this project, while my biggest contribution was to implement the novel detection algorithm that I developed for moving chipless RFID tag detection into the RFID reader. I am proud to have been a part of this project as it was a low cost chipless RFID sensor which was presented to eliminate the current limitation of conventional RFID sensors and the optical barcode for item-level tagging which is a future 6G intelligent IOT application.

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

The integration of cobots enables the delegation of many human-based skill activities, with cobots able to undertake a range of repetitious tasks, whilst offering high flexibility and increased productivity. It is important to regularly review and update quality assurance protocols to keep pace with evolving technologies and changing workplace conditions. By remaining vigilant and proactive in preserving the quality assurance of cobots in automated processes, organisations can reap the benefits of cobot automation while minimising risks and maximising productivity. With my contribution to the quality assurance and compliance program of the Australian Cobotics Centre, I hope we will be able to make significant impact in achieving these standards in cobot automated processes.

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

Research has been a fascinating part of my life, but aside from research there is life which we truly live and which brings joy to our lives. So, as a woman, a mother of 3 kids, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, and a child of God I can keep on talking about my life experiences ….no preparation needed!

Meet our E.P.I.C. Researcher, Nadimul Haque

Nadimul Haque is a PhD researcher based at the University of Technology Sydney and his project is part of the Biomimic Cobots Program at the Australian Cobotics Centre.
His research interests lie in the applications of deep reinforcement learning in robotics.

We interviewed Nadimul 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 graduated from the University of Dhaka from the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. While doing my bachelor’s, I was parallelly working as a research assistant on a funded project on agricultural automation, which I continued till June 2022.

The research I am undertaking under ACC is on the effective manipulation of collaborative robots with learning frameworks. I want to create a generalised cobotic control system for complex manipulation tasks. I envision making a learning framework that will allow the cobot to adapt quickly to any scenario and, hopefully, any task. Current systems are generally optimised to work on a particular task under very specific conditions. My research will look to unlock the potential of generalised learning frameworks that will facilitate fast adaptation to the changing environment. This will eventually be tested and applied to industrial scenarios where a cobot can be counted on to perform effectively with humans in a dynamic environment.

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

I have always wanted to conduct research in robotics that will have a real-world impact. ACC provides the perfect opportunity for me to do that. There is a persistent fear amongst the general masses that robots will replace the human workforce. The center’s ideal of using collaborative robots in industrial spaces could alleviate this issue. I believe that the only sustainable move forward towards an automated industry would be cobots and humans working together. The center will play a pivotal role in this aspect.

The match in ideals is supplemented by the center’s collaborations with established industry partners. The fact that the robotic systems developed will actively be adapted to the industry makes it the ideal playground for a robotics enthusiast.

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

It was a simple project where I, with another group member, created a line-following robot equipped with reinforcement learning. The idea was that rather than hard coding the robot to follow a line, the robot would learn how to traverse any path, with the signals from simple IR sensors. Of course, it was not anywhere near as efficient as an optimised LFR, it was exhilarating to watch it learn and slowly but surely, get better. Although most of the projects I have taken on so far have yielded more tangible results, I am most proud of this one as it got me hooked on robotics and reinforcement learning.

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

I hope that my research with the center will pave the way towards generalised robotic controls that can be redeployed into any situation, preferably for multiple different tasks.

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

Football (The one you play with your feet)

New PhD Researcher, Justin Botha

Let’s introduce Justin Botha, our newest team member. Justin is a PhD researcher at QUT (Queensland University of Technology), actively involved in the Human-Robot-Interaction program and the Interactive (and Collaborative) Robot Programming using Language project.

Programming robots to carry out desired tasks is difficult and time-consuming. This PhD project focuses on collaborative and instructional dialogue agents to help human operators program robot tasks. We are pleased to welcome Justin to the team and anticipate his valuable contributions. Join us in welcoming Justin aboard!

Welcome Justin!

PhD Project Introductions

Collaboration and sharing of information are vital for the success of our Centre. 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, QUT (Queensland University of Technology)‘s Phuong Anh TranJasper Vermeulen and Yuan Liu 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.