Queen Mary University of London

The Centre for Advanced Robotics @ Queen Mary (ARQ) is a cross-faculty multidisciplinary research centre. ARQ aims to bring Queen Mary robotics activities under one roof, increasing visibility, facilitating collaboration, public engagement and moving towards critical mass.

One of the main aims of ARQ is to amalgamate, facilitate and promote research and teaching in Advanced Robotics in the widest sense. Our ambition is to underpin existing Queen Mary robotics research activities, to create a focal point for research in robotics and to provide world-class under-/postgraduate research and teaching in robotics.

D7 - Queen Mary University London

Team Robotix, Centre for Advanced Robotics

Lead Investigator: Kaspar Althoefer

Contact: Ivan Vitanov i.vitanov@qmul.ac.uk

Focus (or foci) of the group for NCNR:

Dexterity is important when robots are sent to remote locations to handle nuclear waste. The team at Queen Mary focused on developing soft robotics, including eversion robots (where the robot can turn inside out) to enable smart machines to access to extreme environments and deliver essential information to their operators.

Project achievements include:

  • Soft robotics, such as soft fabric-based inflatable grippers, to handle objects of different shapes
  • Tactile perception, especially using nuclear radiation-immune optics methods, for integration with robotic grippers and hands
  • Camera-based intelligent object detection
  • Visuo-tactile perception for autonomous robotic manipulation (e.g. grasping)
  • Computer vision and machine learning
  • Sensor delivery with reinforcement learning-based mapless navigation in unseen environments
  • Single picture-based policy learning for reaching objects
  • Autonomous robotic grasping and manipulation based on visual and tactile input
  • Software framework to ease integration of software and hardware components
  • Teleoperation of collaborative robot and dexterous robot hands with haptic feedback
  • Human-robot interaction for virtual reality (VR) interfaces
  • Haptic feedback systems
  • Soft grippers with variable stiffness hinges for dexterous grasping of objects
  • Electro-adhesive (EA) pads for anchoring on objects, to assist grasping using soft gripper
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