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17th International DESIGN Festival paper published

A Life-Cycle Framework to Manage Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange in Open Organisation


We are very proud to announce the Centre’s first official publication authored by the Centre’s Open Innovation Team – Dr Matthias Guertler, former CI Prof Nico Adams, A/Prof Glenda Caldwell and A/Prof Jared Donovan.

The paper was accepted as part of the International DESIGN Conference held from 23-26th May. The paper presents and evaluates the first part of a framework to manage successful collaboration and knowledge exchange across the entire life cycle an Open Organisation (OO).


You can read the full paper here: Design Conference Paper Template (

Changes to our Swinburne Chief Investigators

We are sad to announce the departure of two of our Program co-Leads from Swinburne University of Technology.

  • Professor XiaoQi Chen is moving to South China University of Technology where he will be the new Dean of the School of Intelligent Engineering.
  • Professor Sally McArthur is moving to Deakin University where she will be Director of the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM).

Thank you XiaoQi and Sally for your input and support in shaping the Centre so far. We wish you the best in your new roles.

In their places, we welcome Dr Michelle DunnDr John McCormick and Assoc Prof Chris McCarthy to the Australian Cobotics Centre.

Dr Michelle Dunn will take over the co-leadership of program 4 with Dr Lee Clemon from UTS and Assoc Prof Mats Isaksson will become co-lead of Program 1 with Prof Teresa Vidal-Calleja from UTS.

Welcome to our first PhD Researchers!

We would like to officially welcome our first PhD students to the Centre.

Baris Balci, is based at QUT and his project is part of the Biomimic Cobots Program. Baris received his BSc degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Ozyegin University in 2018. During his undergraduate studies, he was a research assistant at OzU Robotics Lab where he worked on medical robotics, haptics, and planetary rovers. His current research interests include robotic manufacturing and physical human-robot interaction.

Jagannatha Pyaraka is based at Swinburne and his project is part of the Biomimic Cobots Program. Jagannatha received his Bachelor of Engineering degree from GITAM Deemed University in 2018 and Masters degree in Mechatronics, Robotics and Automation Engineering in 2021 from Swinburne University of Technology. Following his undergraduate degree, he worked as a Senior QA Automation Engineer at NTT DATA Services. Jagan is excited to continue to work  in the field of Robotics/Automation that serves and inspires society in leading a simple and better quality of life.

What has Star Wars influenced over the last 45 years

Centre Director, Professor Jonathan Roberts, spoke with Sirine Demachkie on Weekend Evenings on ABC Radio about the influence of Star Wars.

Jonathan is an expert on Star Wars, which he first saw after queueing around the block for tickets with his brother and parents to see the original film in 1977. He has maintained an active interest in all things Star Wars, especially droids, since that time.

Listen below and read his article in The Conversation – Star Wars turns 40 and it still inspires our real life space junkies (  Note- this article is 5 years old but still very relevant!

QUT robotics researchers have a new robotic best friend

The Australian Cobotics Centre’s Associate PhD Student, Marisa Bucolo, was recently featured in the Queensland University of Technology News as one of the QUT Robotics Researchers teaching Spot new tricks. Spot is an agile mobile robot that navigates terrain with unprecedented mobility, allowing you to automate routine inspection tasks and data capture safely, accurately, and frequently.

Bucolo, working with Professor Matt Dunbabin, Centre Director Jonathan Roberts and Program 2 Co-lead Jared Donovan, is using Spot to study how robots can signal their intentions to people.

Click below to read the full article titled ‘QUT robotic researchers teaching Spot new tricks’ the – Queensland University of Technology News.

Read the full article here

Collaborative Robotics: Helping to create a safer workplace and more engaged workforce

Cobotics can help create safer working environments for people. This is particularly important within Australian manufacturing, an industry with one of the highest incident rates for serious claims of work-related injury or disease (Key work health and safety statistics, Australia 2021 | Safe Work Australia).

Our Industry Partners have always been committed to continually improving health and safety of their workers and for many, this desire to consistently improve is one of the main drivers for their involvement with the Centre.

So, how can cobots create a safer workplace?

Cobotics can allow workers to avoid the dirty, repetitive, and hazardous tasks they currently encounter and instead focus on high-detail and knowledge led tasks that a robot cannot do, such as finishing and quality assurance work, programming and servicing cobotic technology, and other highly skilled and knowledgeable tasks.

Cobots allow workers to be removed from potentially hazardous situations through:

  • Decreased time spent on activities that expose the worker to dangerous substances– e.g. cobotic welding or spray painting
  • Reduction in repetitious tasks removing the risk of repetitious strain injuries
  • Remote operation to reduce the risk of injury to the worker. e.g. through operating machinery, handling dangerous materials, or working in confined spaces

One of the Centre’s industry partners, InfraBuild, has a Safety Vision where every employee returns home fit and well at the end of each workday. One of their principles in achieving their vision is to be always alert to hazards.

“As a steel producer, our process involves casting 80 tonnes of 1640°C liquid steel into 2050kg billets and rolling those billets at 1050°C into bar and rod products”, describes InfraBuild’s Andrew Thomas. “Our most effective hazard control is elimination and we see cobots as providing opportunities to remove our operators from what are hazardous workplaces by virtue of the high temperature,  volume and energy of the steel.”

The Centre’s researchers and engineers are working with InfraBuild to research and develop a high-speed sensing and control system that is capable of identifying and moving steel rods and bars with the ability to be able to work safely within relative proximity of their operators. This will result in better working conditions for employees who will supervise the cobot, reducing manual handling tasks and risk of injury.

The project team are careful to ensure any new technology does not introduce new or increase existing hazards to InfraBuild employees.  Ideally it will also increase the health and wellness of their employees. Andrew notes that this can be achieved by including the employees in the design and implementation of the solution and reducing uncertainty for employees through, open and honest communication with employees around the benefits and reasons for introducing technology.

Cobotics also offers organisations an opportunity to attract and retain workers. With labour shortages across the industry, it is important that organisations focus not just on the physical safety of their workplace, but also the ongoing opportunities for existing staff to be exposed to, and learn new skills; and the ability to broaden workforce participation by offering work that relies less on specific physical capabilities.

The Australian Cobotics Centre’s researchers are working with partners to identify solutions can improve a worker’s employment through the development of new skills, and more generally, allowing greater diversity and longevity in the workforce.

This is a priority for our industry partners who want to ensure they have a healthy, safe and engaged workforce.

The Centre has research projects that focus on:

You can read more about InfraBuild’s commitment to Safety here: Safety at InfraBuild – InfraBuild

Further details about our partners and projects can be found via

Happy World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development!

Happy World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development!

Today we recognise and celebrate the contribution of engineers and the importance their work plays in building a sustainable, secure, healthy and better world.

Engineering is crucial to the development of new technologies enabling the 4th Industrial Revolution such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics or quantum computing.  The strength of our Australian Cobotics Centre is its team of multi-disciplinary researchers and industry partners.  But today we celebrate our Centre’s engineers who hold undergraduate and post graduate degrees in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, Mechatronics, Automation, Manufacturing, Materials Engineering and  Engineering Physics. This range of engineering skills and experience is being used to develop robots that are able to mimic humans. Advancements in robotic engineering will allow many workers to avoid the dirty, repetitive, and dangerous tasks they currently encounter. Instead the workers will use collaborative robots as one of the new tools at their disposal.

The Australian Cobotics Centre has a research program specifically dedicated to understanding how this can be achieved. The Biomimic Cobots Program aims to address the fundamental challenges of enabling robots to work with humans in the conditions Australian manufacturing industry demands, and to build skills and capacity for the future workforce using and deploying these new technologies.

The Biomimic Cobots Program is led by engineers Associate Prof. Teresa Vidal-Calleja and Prof. XiaoQi Chen. Prof. Vidal-Calleja is a robotics expert focusing on enabling robots to be deployed in environments that are hazardous or difficult for people to access and Prof. Chen’s research interests cover robotics, smart manufacturing, advanced materials processing, additive manufacturing, and autonomous systems.

The program team also includes engineering researchers Prof. Jonathan Roberts, Dist. Prof. Peter Corke, Prof. Robert Fitch , Prof. Jochen Deuse , Dr Mats Isaksson, Dr Marc Carmichael and Fouad Sukkar. One of the program’s first project includes Engineers in QUT’s Research Engineering Facility and Industry Partner InfraBuild. The aim of the project is to research and develop a high-speed sensing and control system that is capable of identifying and moving steel rods and bars and have the ability to be able to work safely within relative proximity of their operators. This will result in better working conditions for employees who will operate the cobot, reducing manual handling tasks, which will result in higher quality products for their customers.

Learn more about World Engineering Day 

Current Developments in Medical Robotics seminar from Swinburne’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute

Join one of the Centre’s Chief Investigators, Dr. Mats Isaksson on 15th February to hear him talk about current developments within Medical Robots.

Dr Isaksson, leader of the Intelligent Robotics Program at Swinburne’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, will provide an overview of medical robotics with a particular focus on surgical robots and the increasing use of collaborative robots in medical applications.

Collaborative robots (or cobots) are designed to safely interact with humans. The availability of mass-produced, low-cost, collaborative robots has enabled the introduction of numerous new medical robot applications. This presentation will provide a brief overview of such applications in addition to details about our research into using collaborative robots for photobiomodulation therapy and ultrasound applications.

Date: Tue, 15 February 2022

Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM AEST

Register here


Thank you for an E.P.I.C 2021!

​As we approach the end of 2021, we often take stock of the year that has just passed. We look back on the successes, look for opportunities to enhance or improve in some area, and of course we begin to look forward to a well-earned rest from our day to day work responsibilities.

We would like to thank all our Australian Cobotics Centre members, industry partners and stakeholders for their hard work, commitment and support during this year. Our unique combination of people, expertise and backgrounds is what makes us successful as a Centre.

As we head into a new year, we look forward to another E.P.I.C year, and we are excited to embrace new opportunities and collaborations.

We wish you and your families a happy holiday season!