Planning new collaborations with Multimedia University, Malaysia

We are working with Prof Raphael Phan from MMU on a number of research initiatives that can bring the two groups closer together.

The current theme we are exploring includes work on pattern recognition from visual sensors, with the goal to identify subtle/concealed emotions. This has applications in some of our existing research such as research with children with autism, but also a larger reach in areas such as security (e.g. lie detection) or medical domain (e.g. concealment of emotion in depression).


Collaboration between PERCRO lab in Pisa, Italy & Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics lab @Hertfordshire

Mr Fabio Stroppa, a PhD researcher from Italy supervised by my good colleague, Prof Antonio Frisoli is visiting us for an internship for a period of 6 months. Fabio has been working on different evaluations of motor skills using tracking error as you can see here:

Stroppa, F., Loconsole, C., Marcheschi, S., & Frisoli, A. (2017). A Robot-Assisted Neuro-Rehabilitation System for Post-Stroke Patients’ Motor Skill Evaluation with ALEx Exoskeleton. In Converging Clinical and Engineering Research on Neurorehabilitation II (pp. 501-505). Springer International Publishing.

In this collaboration, we intend to explore the links between adaptive robotics and influences of vision dominance in motor control.

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)

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,
University of Hertfordshire,
College Lane
Hatfield, Herts,
AL10 9AB
tel: +44 (0)1707 286083
l.nicholls (at)

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.