From self-folding robots to computer vision

From self-folding robots, to robotic endoscopes, to better methods for computer vision and object detection, researchers at the University of California at San Diego (UC San Diego) have a wide range of papers and workshop presentations at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (or IROS) which takes place from 24 to 28 September in Vancouver, Canada.

UC San Diego researchers also are organising workshops on a range of themes during the event.

"IROS is one of the premier conferences in robotics," says Henrik Christensen, director of the Contextual Robotics Institute and a professor of computer science at UC San Diego. "It is essential for our institute that we present key papers across manufacturing, materials, healthcare and autonomy. I am very pleased to see that we have a strong showing at this flagship conference."

The conference this year focuses on "friendly people, friendly robots." Robots and humans are becoming increasingly integrated in various application domains, conference organisers explain on the IROS 2017 website. "We work together in factories, hospitals and households, and share the road," organizers says. "This collaborative partnership of humans and robots gives rise to new technological challenges and significant research opportunities in developing friendly robots that can work effectively with, for, and around people."

Soft robotics is one way to create robots that are not dangerous for humans and the research group of roboticist Michael Tolley is exploring the field with three papers at IROS 2017. Better interactions between robots and people also require improving computer vision and researchers led by computer scientist Laurel Riek are proposing using depth information to do so in one paper.

Computer scientist Gary Cottrell has a paper on improving object recognition processes. Meanwhile, electrical engineer Michael Yip is looking to make medical robots like the Da Vinci surgical system even better.

Tolley also is one of the organisers of the 28 September workshop titled, "Folding in Robotics." Yip is one of the organisers of the 24 September workshop titled "Continuum Robots in Medicine, Design, Integration, and Applications." Mechanical engineer Nicholas Gravish is one of the organisers for the 28 September "Robotics-inspired Biology" workshop.