Two PhD studentships available on assistive and rehabilitation technology

We have two PhD Studentships available at the University of Hertfordshire, School of Computer Science:

A- Fall detection and activity monitoring at home

With the growing ageing population and preference for prolonged personal independence, smart home technology and telecare has gained substantial popularity. The PhD focuses on detecting user status at home or residential care settings using commercially off the shelf technology. It uses machine learning algorithms to classify and detect resident activities and events of interests including falls. The research is linked with local residential care enterprises and North Hertfordshire County Council, and benefits from cross disciplinary supervision between the School of Computer Science and the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care at the University. Technologies available include fish-eye ceiling cameras, contact sensors, Kinect and RGB-D cameras, wireless range and position sensors, to name a few.

B- Sensing user input in HRI using information theory

Perceiving sensory information better allows us to provide more personalised human-robot interaction. An area of interest is to provide a mechanism where human and robot inputs can be separated towards personalisation and better control. The focus of this PhD is to utilise information theory to better sense user inputs during interaction and to provide a better sense of being in control, or empowerment. This is then used to alter conventional control paradigms such as impedance and admittance control, to provide a more personalised control. HapticMASTER robot as well as EMG and EEG systems are available for use within this PhD. The outcome has application in general HRI but specifically useful for unsupervised therapeutic interaction with robots after stroke. The goal is to use information theory for information provision to patients and their therapist, to inform on recovery progress, and better direct choice of therapeutic interactions.

Requirements: Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Computer Science, Biomechanics or other relevant area, and are expected to have strong interdisciplinary interests (e.g. in robotics, rehabilitation, neuroscience). They are also expected to have very good programming skills and interest in robotics. The PhD will be conducted under Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian’s supervision and candidates are invited to informally contact f.amirabdollahian2 (at) herts.ac.uk.

A limited number of studentships are available for exceptional candidates in particular areas (approximately £14,250 per annum bursary plus the payment of the student fees). Applicants from outside the UK or EU are eligible.

Research in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire has been recognised as excellent in the REF 2014, with 50% of the research submitted rated as internationally excellent or world leading.
The Science and Technology Research Institute provides a very stimulating environment, offering a large number of specialised and interdisciplinary seminars as well as general training and researcher development opportunities. The University of Hertfordshire is situated in Hatfield, in the green belt just north of London.

Your application form​ should be returned to:
Mrs Lorraine Nicholls
Research Student Administrator,
STRI
University of Hertfordshire,
College Lane
Hatfield, Herts,
AL10 9AB
tel: +44 (0)1707 286083
l.nicholls (at) herts.ac.uk

Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees. We accept applications for self-funded places throughout the year.The next short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on
30 May 2016.

New role of “Theme Champion in Information and Security”

I have been appointed to the role of theme champion in Information and Security.
The idea behind this role is to provide an interface connecting the multidisciplinary work in research areas such as robotics, biocomputation, algorithms, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, networking, materials, etc, with the opportunities for funding, spin-offs and partnerships outside the University. More on this role to follow after the launch event scheduled for May 12th.

Application of motor control models in upper limb performance assessment and development of adaptive interfaces

Description: Fitts (1954) presented a model for human psychomotor behaviour for rapid aimed movements. The model provides an index of performance that could be used for analysing performance when aiming at targets. This model has been studied by different groups including MacKenzie (1992) who applied the model to human-computer interfaces. This PhD is aimed at incorporating Fitts model and MacKenzie’s method to assess human performance and compare between healthy individuals and those with impairments caused by some conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Furthermore, it will focus on not only assessing and predicting, but also developing adaptive models that can make the interface easier to use for different user groups.

Requirements:
Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Computer Science, Biomechanics or other relevant area, and are expected to have strong interdisciplinary interests (e.g. in robotics, rehabilitation, neuroscience). They are also expected to have very good programming skills.
The PhD will be conducted under Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian and Dr Steuber’s supervision and candidates are invited to informally contact Dr Amirabdollahian.

Applications: application forms can be found here.

Further information and an application form can be obtained from Mrs Lorraine Nicholls, Research Student Administrator, STRI, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Tel: 01707 286083, email: l.nicholls@herts.ac.uk.

Alternatively, follow the link to online applications, download the file and email to Mrs Nichols. Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees.  The short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on 9 June 2014.

Deadline: Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees. The short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on 9 June 2014.

PhD Studentship in Rehabilitation Robotics and Computational Neuroscience

We invite applications for a PhD studentship in the Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research at the University of Hertfordshire. The project will involve the design of adaptive rehabilitation and assistive robotics systems that are based on computational models of the cerebellum. For informal enquiries contact Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian (f.amirabdollahian2@herts.ac.uk) or Dr Volker Steuber (v.steuber@herts.ac.uk). More information can be found on our webpages:

http://homepages.stca.herts.ac.uk/~fa08aap/ (Amirabdollahian)

http://homepages.stca.herts.ac.uk/~comqvs/ (Steuber)

and in our publications, for example:

  • Reinoud Maex and Volker Steuber (2013). An integrator circuit in cerebellar cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience 38, 2917-32.
  • Radhika Chemuturi, Farshid Amirabdollahian and Kerstin Dautenhahn (2013). Adaptive training algorithm for robot-assisted upper-arm rehabilitation, applicable to individualised and therapeutic human-robot interaction. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation 10:102.
  • Volker Steuber and Dieter Jaeger (2012). Modeling the generation of output by the cerebellar nuclei. Neural Networks 47, 112-119.
  • Farshid Amirabdollahian and Garth Johnson (2011). Analysis of the results from use of haptic peg-in-hole task for assessment in neurorehabilitation. Journal of Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 8, 1-11.
  • Jason Rothman, Laurence Cathala, Volker Steuber and R. Angus Silver (2009). Synaptic depression enables neuronal gain control. Nature 457, 1015-1018.
  • Farshid Amirabdollahian, Rui Loureiro, Elizabeth Gradwell, Christine Collin, William Harwin, Garth Johnson (2007). Multivariate Analysis of the Fugl-Meyer Outcome Measures Assessing the Effectiveness of the GENTLE/S Robot-Mediated Stroke Therapy. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation 4:4.

Applicants should have excellent computational and numerical skills and a good first degree in computer science, maths, physics, neuroscience, or a related discipline. Successful candidates are eligible for a research studentship award from the University (approximately GBP 13,600 per annum bursary plus the payment of the standard UK student fees). Applicants from outside the UK or EU are eligible, but will have to pay half of the overseas fees out of their bursary. Information about the current tuition fees can be found under http://www.herts.ac.uk/apply/fees-and-funding.

Research in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire has been recognized as excellent by the latest Research Assessment Exercise, with 55% of the research submitted being rated as world leading or internationally excellent. The Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research provides a very stimulating environment, offering a large number of specialized and interdisciplinary seminars as well as general training opportunities. The University of Hertfordshire is situated in Hatfield, in the green belt just north of London.

Application forms should be returned to Mrs Lorraine Nicholls, Research Student Administrator, STRI, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Tel: 01707 286083, l.nicholls @ herts.ac.uk. The short-listing process will begin on 20 February 2014.