RobCE Speakers

RobCE 2024 Speakers


Prof. Shane Xie
(Keynote Speaker)

University of Leeds, UK



Keynote Lecture: Advanced Robotics with Enhanced Autonomy and Intelligence for Effective Medical Rehabilitation

Abstract: Globally, 15M people suffer a stroke every year, causing 6M deaths and leaving another 5M permanently disabled, which makes stroke the second leading cause of disability worldwide . In the UK, strokes affect over 152,000 Britons each year. Currently, there are over 1.2 million people living with the effects of stroke in the UK, and the estimated direct and indirect costs of stroke care for the NHS are >£9 billion a year. According to UK Guidelines for stroke rehabilitation, patients should receive at least 45 minutes of therapy per day for a minimum of 5 days per week; however, this standard has never been met due to the deceasing availability of rehabilitation services and increasing pressure on the NHS. In the UK, there are > 600,000 stroke patients that live further than 20km from a stroke support group, and the majority of them have severe mobility issues, it would be very challenging and costly, or even impossible for them to travel and receive regular rehabilitation treatment in hospitals or rehabilitation centers. The NHS' Five Year Forward View made recommendations in 2017 to bring rehabilitation to people in their own homes and care homes.
       This talk will discuss the key societal challenges and robotic technologies for delivering effective care and opportunities for the healthcare industry. It will cover the recent development of robotics for stroke rehabilitation, the research gaps and the need for new technologies in neuroscience, robotics, control and artificial intelligence. The talk will also introduce a EPSRC-funded project on intelligent reconfigurable exoskeletons tailored to meet patients’ needs, deliver effective diagnosis and personalised treatment, and monitored remotely by rehabilitation therapists. The key projects conducted at the Leeds Centre for Assistive/Rehabilitation Robotics will be introduced including peanumatic Peano muscle, DEA, soft exoskeleton, bilaterial robot, neuromuscular and brain computer interfaces. The focus is placed on the enabling technologies for those whose strength and coordination have been affected by amputation, stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and ageing.

Biography: Professor Shane (Sheng Quan) Xie has over 30 years of research experience in the field of robotics and exoskeletons. He is currently a Chair Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Director of the Mechatronics and Robotics programme and Director of the Rehabilitation Robotics Lab at the University of Leeds, and was previously the Director of the Rehabilitation and Medical Robotics Centre at the University of Auckland. He has published > 450 refereed papers and 8 books in rehabilitation exoskeleton design and control, neuromuscular modelling, and advanced human-robot interaction. He established the world-first Masters programme in Medical Devices and Technologies in 2010 involving 10 medical devices companies and researchers from both engineering and medical fields. He was a Technical Editor for the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics and is the editor-in-chief for the International journal of Biomechatronics and Biomedical Robotics. He led many government funded research projects as principle investigator and has completed over 50 funded research projects totalling over £30M of research contracts from government granting agencies and industries. He has had over 15 post docs, 60 PhDs and 80 postgraduate students and his team has invented three award-winning rehabilitation exoskeletons and developed iterative learning algorithms for exoskeletons to interact with patients. He has conducted extensive clinical studies of robot-assisted rehabilitation on stroke patients, and has strong links with clinical, industry and research affiliates in the medical space and world leading hospitals throughout NZ, Asia, US and Europe. He is an elected Fellow of Engineering New Zealand, Fellow of IEEE, ASME and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers UK.


Prof. Barry Lennox 
(Keynote Speaker)

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

The University of Manchester, UK


Keynote Lecture: Development of Robotic Systems for use in Demanding and Long-lasting Environments

Abstract: There is a growing demand from industry for robotic systems that can be deployed into extreme environments for very long periods of time, with little or no maintenance. Such robots have the potential to deliver considerable benefits across multiple sectors, including space, nuclear and infrastructure. The focus of this presentation will be on some of the robotic challenges that are faced in challenging and hostile environments, with a particular focus on the nuclear sector. An overview will also be provided of some of the robots that have been developed by the research group at the University of Manchester, in partnership with national and international collaborators, to address some of these challenges.
      The robotic challenges we are concerned with can be divided into inspection and handling tasks. For inspection tasks we have developed mobile robots that can deploy sensors to explore an environment or determine the condition of equipment or a facility. For handling tasks, we have utilised commercial-off-the-shelf manipulators to support the maintenance of equipment and manipulation of objects within environments. This presentation will discuss some of the platforms that have been developed and the low-level systems that have been integrated onto our robots, such as autonomous exploration and automated routines that enable our robots to avoid areas of high hazard. Case studies describing how some of our robots have been deployed into radioactive facilities in the UK and overseas will be provided and some of the benefits that these deployments have provided will be discussed.
       Much of the remote handling work that will be discussed is focused on the development of remotely operated gloveboxes, which have been designed for two very different applications. The first is the design of future gloveboxes that utilise robotic arms, located inside the glovebox, to handle and manipulate materials, rather than requiring humans to manually perform such operations. The second is the design of a remote system that is able to characterise and dismantle a legacy glovebox that is located in a hazardous area, with very limited access. Details of some of the low-level control systems, such as automated grasping routines and obstacle avoidance techniques will be discussed.
      Finally, a summary of some of the future challenges we are trying to address will be provided.

Biography: Barry Lennox is Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Professor of Applied Control and Nuclear Engineering Decommissioning at The University of Manchester. He holds a Royal Academy Chair in Emerging Technologies and was the Director of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN) Research Hub that was funded through the ISCF Robotics for a Safer World programme. RAIN led to many first-of-a-kind deployments of robots into hazardous environments, including CARMA, which became the first fully autonomous robot to be deployed into an active facility on the Sellafield site. Professor Lennox is the academic lead for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Collaboration (RAICo), a joint robotics programme involving The University of Manchester, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. RAICo aims to deliver robotic technology to support the decommissioning of fission and fusion facilities across the UK. Prof Lennox is the Academic Director of the CRADLE Prosperity Partnership between Jacobs and The University of Manchester, which is focused on the development of robotic solutions for demanding and long-lasting environments and is the current Chair of the EPSRC funded UK-RAS Network, which provides academic leadership in Robotics and Autonomous Systems.



RobCE Past Speakers


Prof. Ning Xi

IEEE Fellow

The University of Hong Kong, HKSAR, China


Prof. Michael Y. Wang


Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HKSAR, China


Prof. Makoto Iwasaki


Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan


Prof. Fuchun Sun
IEEE Fellow

Tsinghua University, China


Prof.Jianwei Zhang

Universität Hamburg, Germany


Prof. Zhengtao Ding

University of Manchester, UK


Prof. Zhidong Wang

Chiba Institute of Technology, Japan


Prof. Sean B. Andersson

Boston University, USA



Prof. Fumin Zhang

Georgia Institute of Technology, USA


Prof. Valentina Emilia Balas

Aurel Vlaicu University of Arad, Romania

Prof. Qingshan Liu

Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, China

Prof. Guoqiang Hu

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


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