Vice Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Research

Good news, I won the VC’s Award for “Excellence in Research” on Friday. It was a very humbling experience as a series of quotes obtained from my peers were read out during the award ceremony, extremely touching and inspiring. It was followed by a staff garden party and then a smaller party which made the event memorable for years to come.

I will share some photos of the award ceremony soon.


Our paper received best paper award at HSI2013

I am just back from the HSI2013, the 6th International Conference on Human System Interaction, where our paper received the Best Paper Award in the area of “Technologies Enhancing well-being for older people”. This was a joint paper with the Accompany consortia ( Well done to all co-authors.

The paper will be shortly listed on IEEE Xplore but here is the bibliographical entry:

Amirabdollahian, F. et al., “Accompany: Acceptable robotiCs COMPanions for AgeiNg Years – Multidimensional Aspects of Human-System Interactions”, 6th International IEEE Conference on Human System Interaction, Sopot, Poland, 06-08 June 2013.

New PhD studentships available – deadline 7th June 2013

A limited number of studentships are available for exceptional candidates in particular areas (approximately £13,600 per annum bursary plus the payment of the standard UK/EU 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 here.

Research in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire has been recognised as excellent by the latest Research Assessment Exercise, with 55% of the research submitted being rated as world leading or internationally excellent. 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 or researcher development opportunities. The University of Hertfordshire is situated in Hatfield, 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 @ Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees. We accept applications for self-funded places throughout the year. The short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on 7 June 2013.

These two topics are available under my supervision:

Topic 1: Application of motor control models in upper limb performance assessment and development of adaptive interfaces

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.

Topic 2: Correlating muscle activity with performing therapeutic games using robots

An exciting area of research in this area relates to progressing robot-mediated therapy using information that can be obtained from EMG electrodes placed on upper limb muscles. This research continues the work of Mrs Radhika Chemuturi conducted with the GENTLE/A system. Radhika investigated the adaptive control for human-robot interaction using kinematic information provided by the robot. PhD research offered by this topic intends to utilise body worn sensors and electrodes alongside kinematics to provide a better estimation of human intention when performing upper limb activities. To support this, PhD candidates would need to develop multiple haptic games while also focusing on incorporating sensory information into game performance.

Technological Platform Used:

Both topics will utilise state of the art haptic devices such as PHANToM Omni, Falcon and HapticMASTER robot for the experimentations on motor control theories.


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 my supervision and candidates are invited to informally contact


Showcasing research to promote active ageing: from Rehabilitation robots to Assistive technologies and beyond

The University of Hertfordshire, with support from KT-Equal, is organising a workshop on technologies to support active ageing as detailed below:

Showcasing research to promote active ageing: from Rehabilitation Robots to Assistive Technologies and beyond

What will event be about?
The event will celebrate the European Year for Active Ageing 2012 by showcasing our research which aims to promote independence, despite challenges of living with long-term conditions and age-related disability. The event will raise awareness around “Active Ageing” particularly in the area of “Independence” in line with the themes of the European Year for Active Ageing 2012.

Independent living: Our health declines as we grow old, but a lot can be done to cope with this decline and quite small changes in our environment can make a big difference to people suffering from various health impairments and disabilities. Active ageing also means empowering us as we age, so that we can remain in charge of our own lives as long as possible.

We will showcase our current research across a number of projects in which the University is involved, for example in the areas of Rehabilitation Robotics, Assistive Technologies, and Smart homes.

We will use this opportunity to engage with stakeholders, highlighting areas where our research activity could benefit from innovation.
From the workshop a web article will be published summarising the discussions that took place to be shared with larger interest groups using social and public media to provide a further means for disseminating & debating future policy on guidelines for innovation and independent living.

Who should attend?
We would be delighted if researchers in AAL and Assistive technologies, local business, care services (formal and informal carers), older people and their advocates and governmental bodies are able to attend and contribute to this debate.

The workshop will take place on the 19th October between 9.30am – 3.30pm at Ramada Hatfield Hotel. Places are limited, so early booking is advised.

Registration is by clicking the register word here or via the KT-Equal website

If you have queries you can get further information by email to Sinead Gorham ( phone: 01707281040)