Welcome to my website! Thanks for visiting, and please come back because I keep updating the contents frequently. This website reflects my journey so far in this planet, my research life and overall vision.

   It also directs you to different aspects of my scientific work, multidisciplinary projects I am involved in, articles, talks, reviews of recent readings and travels. 

   At different places you will find audiovisuals, demos on research works, downloadable articles, presentation and software!

     Hope you find the stuff interesting and do send me any comments and suggestions!

Recent Updates
March 06 - Our research featured in 'The Future of Food 2040' report of the National Farmers Union !!
Feb 18 - Our research with Tiptree farms will be featured tomorrow in BBC World Service Click on the show 'Farming of the Future' !!
 
Feb 15 - Watch out for Penny's presentation of her Phd Project on 'Robotic Companions for Carehomes' at the House of Commons on March 13th (STEM for BRITAIN 2019)
 
Feb 11 - Our Vice Chancellor on how he is tacking challenges faced by the University, with coverage of our work in Robotics/AI
Dec 19 - University of Essex Review of the year (with nice coverage of our research)- See video !!
 
Dec 4 - Watch out for my talk at The IET  on Dec 12th for the Winter Celebration event. 
Topic-  'The Hidden Engineers- in Crows, Babies and Cognitive Robots', Location -Turing Lecture theatre, Savoy Place, London.
Dec 1 - Delighted to receive £80K funding though the fiercely competitive ProVC bid for equipment. A good amount for Christmas Shopping- A robot tentatively called as  'The Beast' will be a reality before the next strawberry season!!
Nov 19th - RT UK covered the work we do in our robotics arena, click on the link to watch my interview  !!
Nov 9th- Essex Robotics arena almost ready for the next round of filming about our research..!! More updates next Friday!
 
Embodied Action Generation, prediction and Understanding- Keynote lecture at Riseholme campus.Univ of Lincoln. See slides
 
Excited to work on a new 3 year KTP focusing on Adaptive motion control for next-gen laser cutting machines, that will kick off next month! We have an opening for one KTP associate- see Job Vacancy 
BBC coverage of Soft Fruit picking research- Our research on strawberry picking with world famous Tiptree farms was covered by BBC World, BBC One Look East, Telegraph, The Independent, East Anglian Daily Times and several other media (more info here)
July 30, 2018- Won the 2018 Excellence in Education award of University of Essex, for coordinating the inaugural Essex Challenge - that redefines the first five days in the university for first year students (see a short presentation here , the Essex Weekly  news ).  The 392 odd first year students who participated deserve the real credit!!
 
June 20, 2018-  New strawberry picking set up with UR3 robot and NeuralPMP controller up an running in Essex robotics arena (Thanks to the Strawberry season and Tiptree farms), ongoing work, but a short video here
 
June 15, 2018- Social Cognition for Human Robot Symbiosis-Challenges and building blocks- Just accepted in Frontiers in Neurorobotics 
 
June 05, 2018- Social Cognition in Babies and Robots- One fully funded 3 year PhD position available. See link for details, Deadline for applications 24th August. Its a great opportunity to work with  really intelligent babies and robots! For more details get in touch. 
 
May 05, 2018- 'Muscleless motor synergies and actions without movements- from motor neuroscience to cognitive robotics' accepted in Physics of Life Reviews. The article reviews around six+ years of work on dexterous action 'generation, imagination and understanding' in cognitive robots. Read highlights and abstract, full article coming soon!
April 18, 2018- Goal Directed reasoning and cooperation in robots in shared work spaces during assembly tasks- New article in the journal Cognitive Computation, Read Article (open access link)
March 31, 2018- Harvesting the fruits of future robotic labor- Interview to BuisnessTime Essex, read article
 
March 18, 2018- Science Sunday with Pepper at Museum of Power with around 400 young minds (aged 3-12!!!!), see a 30 second slideshow
From Thirsty Crows to Cognitive Robots @  Cafe Scientifique Public Lecture  (14 Feb, 2018)- see talk
 
One fully funded PhD position available: Theme-Cognitive Robots for Care-homes (Deadline- Feb 23, 2018). Contact me for more info. Details here
Robots in Care Homes- Interview to BBC One Look East on the use of Robotic companions for Social care (pic sent by a colleague)
 
 I gave a short talk on Robotics in Agriculture, at the AgroTech event involving farmers and agriculture experts from east of England (see talk)
October 9-13, 2017 - I was the coordinator of the first ever Essex Challenge event involving 370 first year CSEE students  (a crazy 4 min video shot by students upcoming). See a short teaser presentation of what Essex Challenge was....

Research Updates

Invited talk on Brainguided Cognitive Architectures  at NSF workshop on Robotics and Interactive technologies
Ajaz Bhat defended his PhD thesis "Towards a Brainlike MΞMϽRY for Cognitive Robots"  
Towards a learnt neural body schema for dexterous coordination of action in humanoid and industrial robots, Accepted in Autonomous Robots 
Towards "Acting, learning, Reasoning" CoBots
Invited talk at Queens University Belfast 
Humanoid infers Archimedes principle features  cover of Royal Society
Joint Goal Human Robot collaboration-From Remembering to Inferring article accepted in BICA 2017

Ongoing Science

ManufacTuring (with Intelligence......)

Aesop's Fable: Robot Infers Archimedes' Principle?

The story of the Thirsty crow and the pitcher from Aesop's fables, might not just be fiction! Emerging results from animal behaviour (read more) suggest that crows can indeed drop potentially useful objects to displace water, to realize their goals (quench thirst, get food rewards like a floating worm). Underneath the Aesop’s fable paradigm is a more fundamental question i.e. how by cumulatively interacting with different objects an agent (natural/artificial) can approximately abstract the underlying causal relations, predict potential affordances of novel objects in relation to sought goals.

   From a practical perspective, artificial agents, robots endowed with this ability have a critical cognitive edge while acting, assisting in natural living spaces that are abound with diverse physical relations. By recreating the Aesops Fable task on iCub we are exploring the underleying computational basis....The first results using the computational framework were exciting...we just submitted the first article on this work in the Journal of Royal Society Interface: Very positive feedback received  after review from Roy Soc.!!

 

 

     

MEMORY: That works both backward  (remember) and forward (Simulate)

This experiment on a wheeled robotic platform combines multiple studies from animal cognition (tool use, cause effect relations, reasoning). The goal of the robot is to grasp the Green ball, that is unreachable. Recalling context related past expereinces, the robot infers the affordance of a long enough stick, uses it as an extention to its arm, infers the direction to push the ball, the ensuing consequnce.

 

  Recall of past learnt experiences lead to temporally chained sequence of  internal simulations that enable the robot to transform its present environment to a potentially feasible future state that is condusive towards realization of its sought goal.

 

Building up on the work, read more here, working on a perspective/opinion article "Wandering to Wondering: Connecting Navigating rats, thinking brains and robotic memory clouds", Quite excited about this new venture..!!!!!

The central topic addressed here is the deployment/ transfer of our integrated cognitive architecture developed on a humanoid robot (inspired by studies developmental psychology and cogntiive neurosciences), to real world scenarios. Several recent roadmaps (EU Robotics, US Robotics) emphasize the need for transition from academic prototypes to end user applications.

   The video shows two industrial robots, performing assembly (here: two different types of fuse boxes:small/large from the components scattered randomly in the work cell) driven by the our reserach on Action, Memory and Goal directed reasoning. The video shows autonomous triggering of assembly goals (recalling past experiences based on the present environmental cues: what I can do), reasoning and  robot cooperation: observe that: in some cases the robots pass on appropriate fuses so that the other can complete the insertion that they cannot (anticipating ones and other's potential actions ), online monitoring of the evolving scene (acting accordingly), and finally sensorimotor precision that is required in Industry (all acheived with neural models developed on iCub humanoid ). More here

© Vishwanathan Mohan

email: vishwanathan.mohan@essex.ac.uk

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