Advanced Robotics

Advanced Robotics

NUS Engineering, in Advanced Robotics research, develops the mathematical foundations, computational frameworks, and the software and hardware platforms that enable robots to perceive, reason about, and act on the physical world and to communicate and interact with humans. The focus is on human-robot collaborative systems, where robotics is the ultimate tool for humans. Advances in sensors and actuators, microelectronics, and computing enable a new data-driven approach to computing in robotics and will create a new generation of robots that learn and adapt to human needs.

NUS Engineering comprises experts from multidisciplinary areas that span the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. To advance robotics science and engineering, and its impact in our daily lives, a common platform for interdisciplinary research was realised in the setup of the Advanced Robotics Centre (ARC) by NUS Engineering and NUS School of Computing. The ARC partners government agencies and industry to create a clear link between scientific contributions and translational research towards real-world applications.

Currently, there are six main research themes under the Robotics research:

  • Embodied Perception
  • Human-Robot Interfaces
  • Model Learning and Planning
  • Planning and Control
  • Intelligent Mechanics
  • Electronics and Communications

These research efforts target the following application drivers: Productivity, Defence, Healthcare and Marine and Offshore, where robotics can provide immense benefits in these unstructured and human environments.

Embodied Perception

Embodied perception aims to connect sensing with planning and control, so that perceptual understanding of human intentions and environments is situated in the context of effective human-robot interaction and collaboration. The research topics include multiple levels of the perception hierarchy, from low-level sensor design, active sensing, to the extraction of high-level semantic features, such as speaker identification and intention recognition.

Human-Robot Interfaces

Human-robot interfaces address novel interaction modalities that include immersive salient displays for humans. We combine spoken dialog management with other interaction modalities, such as gestures and facial expressions, and create an integrated system capable of deciphering user intentions much more effectively.

Model Learning and Planning

Research in model learning and planning allows a collaborative robot to learn and plan on the fly, as the human intention changes with the progress of a joint task and the general ambient context. We investigate principled probabilistic frameworks that seamless integrate planning and learning.

Planning and Control

Planning and control achieve different levels of autonomy in a hierarchical fashion with human in the loop, with the optimal level of task decomposition between the robotic system and humans. This is obtained from analysis of various data sources at different levels of granularity, to convert these data into meaningful information for effective planning and execution.

Intelligent Mechanics

Inherently safe robotic manipulators interacting with humans require a radically new design of robotic manipulators with relatively soft structures controlled by intelligent controllers. These controllers take advantage of the inherent dynamics (“intelligent mechanics”) of the robotic structure to achieve safe interaction with humans with improved performance in motion and force control.

Electronics and Communications

Electronics and Communications provide the underlying power and nerve centre of the robotic system, and include signal processing and conversion, communications and embedded computing. The research covers both hardware and software of the cognitive robotic system.

To learn more about Robotics research in NUS Engineering, please visit the Advanced Robotics Centre website.