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The Cognitive Robotics team is engaged in a range of national and international research projects, in key areas of robotics.

We focus primarily on mobile robotics, but also have interests in robot manipulation. Our work addresses robot learning, robot vision, collaborative robotics, networked robotics, robotics as a science, tactile sensing and cumulative skills acquisition and adaptation.

We maintain strong links with both industry and academia with current research initiatives funded by the European Union, the Leverhulme Trust, the Northern Ireland local development corporation and Invest NI, as well as projects funded directly by industry.

We strive to provide a robot with the ability to think and learn for itself resulting in intelligent behavior without the need of human supervision. To this end, the team is engaged in a range of national and international research projects in key areas of robotics.

Some of the challenges within the lab revolve around robot manipulation with particular focus on action learning and novelty detection. We use methods such as image-based visual serving for object tracking and haptic feedback to add a further dimension of knowledge to assist the robot to successfully identify objects. The basic foresight to this approach is to allow the robots to behave like children at play which acquire skills autonomously on the basis of “intrinsic motivations”.

We are currently involved in an international project (IM-CleVeR) which incorporates these principles to develop a robotic system which can reuse the skills acquired for accomplishing multiple, complex, and externally-assigned tasks.

We are also interested in creating a self-learning robot ecology (RUBICON project) which will enable robots to mutually support one another’s learning to identify commission and fulfil tasks more efficiently in an ambient assisted living setting.

Affordable assistive robots in the home may be a somewhat delayed reality, however due to the work we do in the Centre; we believe we are a key player in progression of this global aim.