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The 3rd International Conference on  
Autonomous Robots and Agents    
12-14 December 2006  -  Palmerston North, New Zealand

ICARA 2006 Invited Speakers

Manufacturing to Service Robotics - Gurvinder S Virk

Emil M. Petriu

Facilitating Robotics Research in a Polytechnic Setup - Dr Dave Chong

Tactile Sensing by the Sole of the Foot - Mel Siegel


Professor Gurvinder S Virk

Professor Gurvinder S Virk is Head of the Intelligent Systems Group in the School of Mechanical Engineering at University of Leeds.

Gurvinder S Virk graduated with 1st class honours in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Manchester and went on to obtain a PhD in control theory from Imperial College, London in 1982. Since then he has followed an academic career working at Sheffield City Polytechnic, Universities of Southampton, Sheffield and Bradford, Portsmouth and is now Professor of control and robotics at Leeds.

Professor Virk’s research interests cover a wide area of robotics and control systems engineering and applications (both theoretical and applied aspects). His current main research projects are in mobile robotics with special emphasis on climbing and walking robots (CLAWAR) and smelling robots, building and energy management systems, and the use of advanced model-based control in the variety of applications. He has published heavily in these areas and has produced over 200 publications, including four books. He has held several grants from national and European sources, as well as industry; the total value of research contracts secured is £11M. He coordinated the successful European thematic network on Climbing and walking robots that has initiated considerable work on robot component modularisation and robot standardization to encourage the rapid development and adoption of robotised solutions in new sectors.

He has been involved in several projects to develop innovative robots for exploring volcanic environments, inspection of highway bridges and dams, robotic assistive technologies for biomedical applications. He was chairman of the ISO TC184/SC2 Advisory Group on Standards for mobile service robots that has formulated the standards requirements for service applications where close robot-human interaction and collaboration are essential. He is chairman of the new ISO standardization project team on Personal care robots.

He is Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, Fellow of the Institution of Applied Mathematics and Its Applications. He is Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Mathematician. He has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his work in promoting Information Technology.

Manufacturing to Service Robotics

ICARA 2006 Invited Speaker - Abstract

The area of robotics is widening to meet the needs of the aging society. Here the need for developing and adopting robotized solutions in new non-industrial applications where human-robot interactions are central to achieving the requirements needed. The emerging applications demand new type of “service robots” rather than the traditional and available “manufacturing robots”. The differences in the traditional robots and new service robots of the future will be highlighted. The drivers for achieving the new robots and the barriers to be overcome will also be discussed. Standardization and example applications will also be presented. The presentation will include the latest activities being carried out under ISO in developing standards for robots in personal care.


Dr Dave Chong

Dr Dave Chong joined Singapore Polytechnic as a lecturer in 1987. He was appointed Head of Electronics & Communication Engineering Department in 1991. As a result of the merger of Electrical Engineering and Electronics & Communication Engineering Departments in 2000, he was re-designated as the Director of School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

Prior to coming to Singapore, Dr Chong worked for GEC Hirst Research Centre in England (1978-1987) in the areas of Digital Signal Processing and Broadband Communication.

Dr Chong is a Senior Member of The Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (USA), Singapore Section and the Institution of Engineers, Singapore. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (UK). Dr Chong holds a PhD from King’s College, University of London.

Facilitating Robotics Research in a Polytechnic Setup

ICARA 2006 Invited Speaker - Abstract

In our journey towards attaining a Learning Organisation culture, ARICC (Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Control Centre) was born. A group of our staff had a dream, and of their own volition, they decided to set up an interest group to carry out R&D activities in the area of robotics.

The popularity of Electrical Engineering courses among school leavers has been on the decline for more than ten years and the challenge we all face is to find ways to reverse this trend, that is, how to make learning of engineering subjects interesting as well as fun. Robotics appears to be one of the solutions, going by students’ fascination with these human-like gadgets. Furthermore, robotics requires a multi-disciplinary approach and provides an ideal platform for students to learn mechanical, electrical and software engineering in an integrated manner.

I have been given the privilege to share with you the journey we have been through as well as to demonstrate some of the exciting work taking place in ARICC.

Associate Professor Mel Siegel

Associate Research Professor
Director, Sensor, Measurement, and Control Lab
The Robotics Institute – School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA
email: mws@cmu.edu
Webpage: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mws


• Sensing, sensors and instruments, measurement science, system modelling
• AI methods for data fusion, analysis, presentation, and system control
• Sensor fusion for context aware computing / human computer interaction
• 3D-stereoscopic display system concepts, optics, coding, and psychophysics
• Robots and sensors for remote explosives and drug detection, and aircraft inspection
• High-fidelity tele-operation for remote and space–based science
• Innovative sensors and sensor fusion methods for future vehicles and driver safety
• Large networks of small sensors, e.g., to initialize global-scale weather models
• Teaching outreach and program innovation; Technology Peace Corps


• Negative ion structures (laser photo detachment photoelectron spectrometry)
• Ion-atom/molecule collisions (double differential cross-section measurements)
• Atomic hyperfine structure (magnetic resonance in hex pole-focused beams)
• Space, analytical, process, and isotopic mass spectrometry (high pressure ionizers)
• Biotechnology process control (rule-based characterization and decision)
• Piezoelectric and optical tactile sensors (identification and manipulation by robots)
• Solid state gas sensor characterization and mixture analysis (neural networks)
• Analytical and numerical modelling of optical devices and instruments (photons, ions)
• Mobile robots for remote and automated skin inspection of aging aircraft
• Zoneless 3D-autostereoscopic display system


IEEE: Instrumentation and Measurement Society Administrative Committee and Treasurer, IMTC Program Committee, VIMS Program Committee and General Chair, Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement Associate Editor, chair of Technical Committees in Instrumentation and Measurements Society and Robotics and Automation Society, Senior Member Advancement Panel.


Fellow of the IEEE, cited for contributions to the field of sensors, measurement and robotics.
IR-100 awards for “100 most significant inventions of the year” for inventions in mass spectrometry (2 awards), particle detection, and semiconductor-based gas sensors.
Best paper of the year award, Robotic Assistants for Aircraft Inspectors, Industrial
Robot (MCB University Press).

Tactile Sensing by the Sole of the Foot

ICARA 2006 Invited Speaker - Abstract

Apparatus and Initial Experiments toward Obtaining Dynamic Pressure Maps Useful for Stabilizing Standing, Walking, and Running of Humanoid Robots

We describe newly designed and constructed prototype apparatus, and initial experiments with it, that demonstrate its ability to deliver high spatial and temporal resolution tactile sensing data streams from the sole of a humanoid foot. The eventual aim is to characterize and understand the role of tactile sensing by the human foot in stabilizing bipedal standing, walking, and running, and to apply this understanding to the corresponding problems in the design and control of the corresponding activities by humanoid robots. These initial experiments demonstrate the fitness of the apparatus to generate, capture, and display high signal-to-noise ratio signals of the static pressure distribution under the realistically-loaded foot and – more important – to capture and display the relatively small changes in the pressure distribution that occur when an external destabilizing force – applied at the knee, approximately perpendicular to the knee, in any azimuthal direction – causes the tibia to become offset a few degrees from its stable load-bearing pose.