Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

June 12th, 2016

Robots: ICRA Exhibition (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first of two episodes where Audrow Nash interviews several companies at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). ICRA is the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s biggest conference and one of the leading international forums for robotics researchers to present their work. The 2016 conference was May 16-21 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Interviews include the following:

Soheil Salehpour, Development Engineer from Scania, speaks on autonomous trucks.

Judith Viladomat, Corporate Communications at PAL Robotics, discusses a humanoid robot for research labs.

Bjorn Mannefred, Research Engineer at Husqvarna Group, talks about autonomous, robust lawn mowers.

Mohammad Shourijeh, Research and Development Engineer at AnyBody Technology, speaks on human body simulation.



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August 7th, 2015

Robots: Mobile Microrobotics Challenge - Transcript

In this interview, Audrow Nash talks to two teams from Mobile Microrobotics Challenge at the 2015 International Conference for Robotics and Automation (ICRA).

The first team was from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. We spoke with Leanne King about the Autonomous Mobility & Accuracy Challenge. In this competition, teams try to move a small robot accurately around a shape. The robot can be a small piece of metal or even a bubble generated by a laser. Leanne’s team won the Mobility & Accuracy Challenge.

The second team was from West University of Timișoara (UVT) in Romania. We spoke to Ioan Alexandru Ivan about the Microassembly Challenge, where teams tried to move small triangles against walls and other fixtures using a micro-robot. The Ivan’s team placed second in the Microassembly Challenge.



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June 26th, 2015

Robots: Robotic Rehabilitation and Biomimicry Environmental Monitoring - Transcript

In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Dr. Lei Cui from Curtin University about his team’s work on 3D printable hand orthosis for rehabilitation, a  task-oriented 4-DOF robotic device for upper-limb rehabilitation and a 3-DOF platform providing multi-directional perturbations for research into balance rehabilitation. They also discuss the fastest untethered robotic fish for river monitoring and an amphibious robot for monitoring the Swan-Canning River System.


A 3D Printable Parametric Hand Exoskeleton for Finger Rehabilitation

ComBot: a Compact Robot for Upper-Limb Rehabilitation

A 3-DOF Robotic Platform for Research into Multi-Directional Stance Perturbations

Curtin Robotic Fish

AmBot: A Bio-Inspired Amphibious Robot for Monitoring the Swan-Canning Estuary System


Lei Cui


Dr. Lei Cui completed his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering in July 2010 from the Centre for Robotics Research, King’s College London (UK). He continued his employment as Postdoctoral Research Associate after graduation. In February 2011 he moved to the Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University(US) and worked as Postdoctoral Fellow until July 2012. He joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University (AU) and was appointed Lecturer in Mechatronics, which he currently holds.



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May 15th, 2015

Robots: Supernumerary Limbs - Transcript

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Federico Parietti, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about his research on supernumerary robotic limbs that can be used in manufacturing and for rehabilitative purposes, among other uses.

The videos below demonstrate how supernumerary limbs can be used to assist in tasks. This research was done in the same lab that Federico works in.

Federico Parietti

Federico Parietti is currently a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his research focuses on the design and control of wearable robots and man-machine interfaces. Previously, Parietti was a Research Associate and Visiting Scholar at Carnegie Mellon University and an International Student at ETH Zurich, in Switzerland.





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February 22nd, 2013

Robots: Insect-inspired Navigation

In this episode Per talks to Michael Mangan from the University of Edinburgh about using robotics to study and replicate insect behaviour. Mangan describes his studies of desert ants, that are able to accurately navigate arduous environments despite having a very small brain (less than 400 000 neurons). This is an interesting problem as the desert environment is very challenging, it is too hot for pheromone navigation and nearly featureless, making visual navigation difficult.

Michael Mangan
Michael Mangan started by training as an avionics engineer at the University of Glasgow, later deciding to specialize in robotics after taking a course. At that time he was particularly inspired by some of the biorobotics projects in the press such as MIT’s Robot Tuna and Penguin Boat projects. He was very interested in this approach promising improved performance for engineering tasks by taking inspiration from biological systems solving similar problems.

Keen to work in this area he then moved to the Insect Robotics Lab, at the University of Edinburgh to undertake a PhD with Prof. Barbara Webb (see previous podcast interview). This lab combines robotics techniques with animal behavioural experiments in a synergistic loop aimed at revealing how these organisms achieve such impressive behaviors, despite their limited neural hardware and often low-resolution sensory systems. Revealing the parsimonious techniques used by these animals may then allow us to apply them to robotic systems.

Mangan’s current research focuses on the navigational abilities of desert ants. These ants scavenge for food over long distances despite searing surface temperatures when pheromone trails evaporate too quickly to use for guidance. Instead the ants rely mainly on visual cues for guidance. He has recently documented the impressive individual route following behavior of desert ants in southern Spain, and mapped their habitat for the first time. This has allowed the first rigorous testing of robotic and biologically plausible models of navigation in the ant world, as viewed by the ant.

Mangan is currently constructing these virtual worlds for public use and they will be available from This webpage is currently under development but he hopes to have initial data uploaded soon, so stay tuned.


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