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IEEE UK and Ireland CAS Chapter Seminar | Shared Control: From Smart Wheelchairs to Brain-Machine Interfaces by Prof Tom Carlson, University College London

Circuits and Systems Society

The principles of shared control integrate the best of both worlds: the fast, reliable and precise task execution capabilities of automation with the complementary inventive, adaptive and interactive task execution skills of humans. In this seminar we explore the progress made in shared control systems applied to assistive robots, such as smart wheelchairs. In this case, the system itself is able to perceive its surrounding environment and understand the context in which users are operating, so that it can help them achieve their goals safely and effectively. The control strategy is also inherently dependent upon the type of user interface employed, so we characterise the implications of various interfaces, ranging from the popular joystick and head array to the more obscure sip-and-puff switch and even brain-computer interfaces.

Throughout the seminar we present a number of ongoing challenges that we have been tackling through projects such as the H2020 CrowdBot project and the EU Interreg FCE ADAPT project: operating in highly dynamic and crowded environments; adapting the system to reflect the ever-evolving needs and capabilities of the user; dealing with conflict between the user’s input and the automation’s control signals.

This is a hybrid event.

About the Speaker

Tom Carlson is Professor of Assistive Robotics at UCL, Vice-Dean Education for the Faculty of Medical Sciences, and Head of Education for the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science.  He holds a joint appointment between the Faculty of Medical Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering and his research lab is based in Aspire CREATe, the Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology.

Tom is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and co-Director of the MSc in Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technologies. He obtained his MEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering (2006) and PhD in Intelligent Robotics (2010), both from Imperial College London. He then pursued his postdoctoral research in shared control for brain-machine interfaces at EPFL, Switzerland, before joining UCL as a lecturer in 2013.

From 2016-2018, he was a visiting professor at LAMIH UMR CNRS 8201, Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut–Cambrésis, France. Prof Carlson also co-directed the INRIA (France) associated team ISI4NAVE (2016-2021) and co-founded the IEEE SMC Technical Committee on Shared Control.

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