Bleep! Bleep! Robotics research wins big


There was good news for six graduate students working on robotics and intelligent systems projects at York, as well as their professors. Precarn Incorporated, which funds research in that field, pledged $1 million in scholarships for them and 51 other graduate students involved in such projects at universities across Canada.

Precarn Inc., a national consortium of corporations, research institutes and government partners, supports the development of robotic and IS technologies. It also manages the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS), a federally funded Network of Centres of Excellence. The Precarn scholars at York are all involved in IRIS projects and received up to $8,000 each from the consortium to participate.

The following IRIS projects involve Precarn scholars:

AQUA, short for Autonomous Aquatic Walking Robot, is developing a walking underwater robot and its associated sensors. Precarn scholar and MSc candidate Andrew Hogue is working on visual-inertial sensors. The project is led by York computer science Prof. Michael Jenkin, left. Also participating are faculty researchers from McGill and Dalhousie universities, Aquatic Cellulose International, the Canadian Space Agency and MD Robotics.

GestureCAM is attempting to solve a problem of distance learning. Researchers are developing a language of gestures teachers and students can use – and camera sensors would recognize and respond to – to control cameras that allow them to interact from separate sites in real time. If they can use gestures to manipulate the cameras, they won’t need camera crews at each site. Computer science students Konstantinos Derpanis and Yuliang Zhu were Precarn scholars on the project, led by York vision researcher John Tsotsos, right, and involving faculty researchers from York, the University of Toronto and IBM Canada Ltd.

VISTA, short for Visual Intelligence for Surveillance and Telepresence Applications, aims to better understand human visual attention to improve the design of surveillance and teleconferencing systems. Lily Velisavjlevic, a psychology student, Sandra Polifroni and Yueju Liu, both computer science students, were Precarn scholars involved this past year. The project is led by James Elder, left, and involves faculty researchers from York and McGill Universities, VisionSphere Technologies and CRESTech.