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Directors Message

Centre News 

Member Achievements

Feature Story

Events - Past and Coming Up

New Faces

Behind the Scenes

Member Publications

Feature Story

Directors Message

I’m currently in transit back from Philadelphia after an exhausting but exhilarating week at the 2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation with several thousand roboticists from around the world. This has long been one of the major conferences for the robotics group – noting that we also have significant presence at control and aerospace conferences and other areas. The last time the lab was able to send a significant delegation to this conference was a whole three years ago, with the 2020-2021 incarnations being entirely online.  

The team did amazingly well – a number of research paper presentations by students spanning manipulation to deep learning to localization to bio-inspired robotics. Everyone’s presentations were top notch and it showed – with the bulk of questions and interest often going to the QUT speaker (not that we’re being competitive, but a nice thing nonetheless). Some were even interviewed. Lots of proud moments and involuntary smiling for us oldies in the audience. I’ve linked to 4 blog posts I did down below. 

The group was involved in organising several workshops, and centre researchers also presented at workshops during the week spanning climate change to construction, and reinforcement learning to localization. There were literally many hundreds of discussions and interactions with colleagues, new and old (including alumni). Overall - a resounding success and a great entry back into in-person conferences. The hybrid paper sessions, which a number of us chaired, mostly worked with a few minor technical glitches – a promising sign for the future. I also enjoyed meeting a few researchers who are incoming to the centre, postdocs and visiting PhD students – something we’ve missed over the last couple of years. 

Closer to home, a lot to celebrate. Troy was awarded his PhD, whilst Doug and Dimity picked up awards for their PhDs. Nicolas joined us as a new PhD student and Sarah as a new research assistant. The centre is running its mid-year retreat off site for the first time since its creation – a way to give those who haven’t or can’t travel at least a bit of a more substantial “travel-like” experience whilst not going too far from Brisbane. The team has been hard at work organising the event, with the help of a lot of detailed and thoughtful feedback and suggestions from throughout the centre – thanks! On a personal note, I’m looking forward to the informal launch event for my ARC Laureate Fellowship program later in June: the main purpose of which is to thank the many hundreds of individuals, collaborators, organisations and funders for everything they have done. 

In the background, the university continues to refine and tweak how it supports its centres – and robotics is in a very strong position. We have more project opportunities (in terms of grants and industry projects) than we can possibly do – a good problem to have, but nonetheless one we have to be cautious about, especially overcommitting. We continue to improve how we initiate, evaluate and pursue opportunities, and a general theme of what we’re trying to do is to move towards having a smaller number of much larger, long term projects and activities – generally speaking, a $5M grant that runs for 5 years is substantially easier to manage, resource and fulfill, than 10 x $500k grants that run for 1 year each. 

With the centre running relatively smoothly (touch wood), we are also continuing to exam more substantial forward-looking initiatives. What activities, support mechanisms or initiatives can we set in place now that will have a significant beneficial impact in the medium term? We welcome your input and ideas! 



Blog posts: note personal research group rather than whole centre focus 

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Centre News

News Article – Save the Oceans with Technology

Matthew Dunbabin has done it again - making waves with his latest research to save the oceans with technology


Artificial Intelligence and Robotics to revolutionise water quality monitoring 

Self-driving, solar-powered robots are improving the safety and efficiency of water quality monitoring across South East Queensland, with further developments underway to make the machines capable of controlling pest weeds as well.   


Robots for Climate Change (ICRA 2022) 

Selected for poster presentation & flash talk at the workshop! 


New QCR Internal Home Page 

●Connects various parts of the QCR ecosystem remains our public facing home page 



AIATSIS holds the world’s largest collection dedicated to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. Search the Collection Search and explore the AIATSIS Collection of more than 1 million items related to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. 


Wayne Quilliam: Photographing the diversity of Aboriginal Australia 

Aboriginal photographer Wayne Quilliam has been travelling across Australia for 30 years, documenting its hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.


QUT LGBTIQA+ Action Plan  

There will be a Listening Session at each campus in early June where staff will be encouraged to provide responses to several open questions on the Action Plan.  There will be no need to register for a session:  

Gardens Point campus: 
Thursday 2 June – 1:30pm to 3pm (GP-P421) 

Kelvin Grove campus:  

Thursday 9 June – 9:15am to 10:45am (KG-E550) 


Member Achievements

Completed PhD

Congratulations to Dr Troy Cordie who has been awarded his PhD! 

“Modular Reconfigurable Field Robotics” 


2021 QUT Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award

To Doug Morrison for his thesis titled "Robotic grasping in unstructured and dynamic environments" 


PhD Award

Congratulations to Dimity Miller for being selected as a recipient of a Faculty of Engineering Executive Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award for 2021 – congratulations on this achievement! 

Feature Story


QCR Retreat


This years QCR Mid Year Retreat will be from 13 June to 14 June.  I'm sure those who attend will enjoy doing Laser Clay shooting and a Coding Challenge on Day 1 of the retreat!!  

Programme will be sent out shortly and if you haven't registered your attendance please contact Ilana asap.


Coming Up


Thank you to those Early Career Researchers (ECRs) who participated in the recent internal QUT ECR survey conducted by the ECR representatives of QUT’s University Research Committee. 

We now invite QUT ECRs to a joint listening/feedback session, co-hosted with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), to discuss the survey outcomes and identify concrete recommendations to further improve ECR career development across QUT. 

Date and time: 10 June 2022 10am to 12pm 

Location: GP campus P419 


Past Events

Journal Club

Stephen Hausler leading our #VisualPlaceRecognition journal club  

Robotics Seminar Series

Missed a seminar?  Catch up here 

Date: 3 May 2022 

Title: Traversability Estimation for challenging forest environments 

Speaker:  Fabio Adrian Ruetz 

Download here  

Date: 10 May 2022 

Title: Robotic Imaging: From Photons to Actions 

Speaker:  Dr Donald Dansereau, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering, University of Sydney 

Download here


Date: 17 May 2022 

Title: An overview of intelligent transportation systems research at the University of Sydney 

Speaker: Dr J Stephany Berrio Perez, Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics 

Download here


Date: 24 May 2022 

Title: Build and (Easily) Maintain an Optimal Researcher Profile 

Speaker: Mr Graham Dawson, Liaison Librarian (Faculty of Engineering) 

Download here 

New Faces

Welcome to Sarah Baldwin

Sarah Baldwin, who has recently graduated from QUT, will be working as a Research Assistant for 3 days/week developing new mobile localization devices as part of the ARC Laureate program.  Sarah also did an awesome upgrade project on automatic 3D printer failure detection with cameras with Mia Woodruff and Michael Milford, plus other exciting projects.   


Welcome to Nicolas Guillermo Marticorena Vidal

Nicolas started his PhD on 3 May with Niko. 

Behind the Scenes

… with Dasun Gunasinghe

What do you do in the Centre and what are you currently working on? 
I am a Research Engineer, so I find myself across a number of different robotic challenges targeting both research and industry applications. I am mainly working on robotic manipulator-based projects, but I have experience in collision avoidance stratgies for Uncrewed Aeral Vehicles (my PhD), and have been involved in some ground-based robotic work as well as vision-based projects here at QUT. My current project uses the large ABB arm at ARMHub to visually detect and remove 'short' rebar from a moving conveyor. I'm also always available for a helping hand (no pun intended) if anyone needs help with robot arms! 

What’s on your desk? 
Too many 3D printed prototypes! I also have a small Kinova Mico arm that I'd like to test things out on soon! 

How would you describe your work to a child? 
Think of something that is difficult to do. We then try to find a way to make it easier and safer with robots!   

Three words to describe your work. 
Manipulators, Automation, Management  

What’s your dream travel destination? 
Egypt! I've always wanted to go there and see the Pyramids   

Please finish these sentences: 
I’m currently reading  Dune; so good!
And currently wishing   for all this rain to stop! Or at least, calm down a little...
My last meal would be a very spicy Sri Lankan dish (any really, they are all very good!) 
Final question!  Tea, coffee or no caffeine?  Definitely coffee! 
Who do you nominate for next month? Gavin Suddrey 
Member Publications


Eyes on the Prize: Improved Perception for Robust Dynamic Grasping 

Ben Burgess-Limerick, Chris Lehnert, Jurgen Leitner, Peter Corke – arXiv preprint arXiv:2204.13879, 2022 

2204.13879.pdf ( 


The 2019-2020 volcanic eruption of Late’iki (Metis Shoal), Tonga 

IA Yeo, IM McIntosh, SE Bryan, K Tani, M Dunbabin – Scientific Reports, 2022 

The 2019–2020 volcanic eruption of Late’iki (Metis Shoal), Tonga | Scientific Reports ( 


Reconfigurable Robots for Scaling Reef Restoration 

S Mou, D Tsai, M Dunbabin – arXiv preprint arXiv:2205.04612, 2022 

Reconfigurable Robots for Scaling Reef Restoration 


End-to-End Design of Bespoke, Dexterous Snake-Like Surgical Robots: A Case Study with the RAVEN II 

A Razjigaev, AK Pandey, D Howard, J Roberts, L Wu – IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2022 

End-to-End Design of Bespoke, Dexterous Snake-Like Surgical Robots: A Case Study With the RAVEN II 


Practical consensus-based formation control for quadrotor systems 

A Steinlietner, R Ballam, A Mcfadyen – International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc (In Press) 


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