View this email in your browser

What's Inside

Directors Message

Centre News 

Member Achievements

Feature Story

Events - Past and Coming Up

New Faces

Behind the Scenes

Member Publications
Directors Message

It’s been a particularly hectic month for many of us, with lots of amazing milestones and achievements by centre members, and some not-so-welcome disruption from mother nature. Our thoughts are with anyone personally affected by the floods, and hats off to everyone for (again) rapidly re-adjusting their professional lives around the flooding disruption. If nothing else, COVID has rather forcefully made most of us more agile in changing how we can get work done, whether it’s teaching or research. 

A bunch of great outcomes in the below update, including but not limited to 2 PhD graduations for Artur and John, a second bushfire-related grant success for CI Felipe Gonzalez and colleagues, a major space grant submission led by CI Thierry Peynot, and as always more high quality research published in top robotics and other venues. The centre also ran its first major industry event with an agtech theme, organised by Chris Lehnert, Peter and Ilana, with several guest speakers, and well attended, despite rapidly pivoting to online-only when the floods hit. We will continue to run a number of industry or themed events throughout the rest of the year, as well as events with clubs like the QUT Robotics Club. 

In more general news, the centre, and QUT more broadly, celebrated a number of events for International Women’s Day (IWD). I attended an amazing keynote from Professor Hala Zreiqat (University of Sydney) who shared her inspirational story of moving literally across the world to pioneer new methods in regenerative medicine. 

I also recently attended the QUT Strategic Planning Forum with over 100 of the university’s exec, which was full of thought provocations, planning for the future, and cute kangaroos. Queensland’s relatively rapid population growth and the upcoming Olympics make for some exciting possibilities for what could be done here in the medium and long term, including universities, major R&D hubs and infrastructure projects. At the same time, Australian universities face a challenging couple of years ahead, although QUT is in a relatively good position to get through it, and should continue to invest in major initiatives like the Centres. The QUT Centre for Robotics specifically is also in a good position, because we have a heavy focus in applied research with industry and government partners across many sectors, which aligns with many of the strategic directions that research funding in Australia is heading in. There is however, considerable concern in the wider academic community that fundamental research is at a crisis point

Finally, for those in the centre eagerly looking forward to the possibility of travel, the situation is slowly getting better. Travel is going to be more restricted and expensive than before COVID, so grant and centre funds will not be able to fund as much travel, exacerbated by insurance not covering many costs. Most of the information on travel will continue to come centrally from QUT, but the centre has a wiki page that keeps the key details here, as well as a travel funding policy page here.  



Concept maps, tower building, post it note planning and kangaroos at the recent QUT Strategic Planning Forum. 

Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Share Share
Centre News


Prof Mahen Mahendran, Felipe Gonzalez CI, Dr Anthony Ariyanayagam and Dr Ian Weir have been awarded a Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants $290K 

Title: Assessment and Resilient Design of Buildings against Bushfires 

This project will undertake pre-bushfire assessments of buildings in the Scenic Rim Regional Council. It will first study the buildings damaged in the 2019/20 bushfires, understand why they were damaged, investigate their resilience in future bushfires and propose evidence-based retrofitting solutions. It will conduct detailed surveys of buildings and analyses of building materials in bushfires using advanced drone-based technology and computational heat transfer models together with lab testing and field studies. The project will then be extended to other buildings in the bushfire prone areas. Findings will be disseminated to the community to enable adaptation of solutions that minimise building damage and enhance community resilience. 

VRES Student Success

This year we had fifteen EER undergraduate students participating in this program. The students who successfully completed their projects had their project presentations on Friday 18th February. All the presentations were of very high quality. 

EER student Andrew Stopa with a project titled “Investigating and improving Incremental Sheet Forming processes with low cost and sustainable materials” was among the winners for the best VRES project award. Andrew’s project was supervised by Jonathan Roberts.

Australian Space Agency Program

Moon to Mars Trailblazer Program - Stage 1 Submission.  Well done to the team for putting together a (massive*) proposal to Stage 1 of the Trailblazer Program… to develop an Australian Rover to go the Moon! 

*Main document: 275 pages 

Core QUT Team: Ali Buchberger, Garima Samvedi, Guenes Minareci, Dorian Tsai, Niko Suenderhauf & Thierry Peynot + input from Michael, Peter and numerous partners 

Queensland Women in STEM Prize 

Queensland women working in STEM fields are invited to submit entries for the 2022 Queensland Women in STEM Prize.  The prize recognises the vast contribution that Queensland women in STEM are making to their communities and aims to inspire and mobilise future generations of young women to take up careers in STEM fields.  A prize pool of $15,000 is on offer for outstanding female role models. The award categories are: 

●  Judges' Award - presented to the most meritorious applicant 

●  Breaking Barriers Award - presented to the most meritorious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicant, applicant with a disability, or applicant who is a carer 

●  Highly Commended Award(s) considered to be meritorious, as determined by the judges 

Anyone working or studying in a STEM field for less than 12 years is eligible to apply. To enter, applicants are required to provide a written application and a two-minute video. Applications close on the 1 April 2021, at 4:00 PM (AEST).   Please contact Ilana Bolingford for support in applying for this prize.

 For eligibility guidelines see here  


Win $2500 USD Prize Money!


We're excited to release the latest Robotic Vision Scene Understanding (RVSU) challenge in the Embodied AI workshop at #CVPR2022. 

We have $2,500 USD in cash prizes on offer, & there's also 11 other great challenges to try! 

Click here for further information



2 days per week project 

●manager for the Masters of Robotics & AI.   

●Wrangling deadlines, keeping things on track, creating PDs to help academics in creating the online units, and helping to finesse unit outlines. 

○Email to Peter, subject line: Masters of Robotics & AI 


An inspirational video on Women in STEM, which will be useful for outreach activities: see link to video here 

Recommended Guidelines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Terminology can be found here 



International Women's Day

Tuesday 8 March was International Women’s Day – it was a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  The day also marked a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.  Further information here 

International Women's Day webinar with keynote Professor Marcia Devlin. Some great advice for women and men about improving gender equality in lots of different ways that are achievable and important.  Click here for the webinar link

International Maritime RobotX Challenge 2022 

-2018: 2nd place! 

-Where: Sydney! 

-When: November 11-17th 2022  

-Help build & code an autonomous boat and drone! 

-Website & graphic design 

-Increase technical proficiency 

-Network and exposure 

-Compete and collaborate at a world-class level 

-Get involved: contact :Matt Dunbabin, Duane Johnston or Dorian Tsai 



QCR Funding Policy Update 

Updates are now available on the QCR Wiki page for QCR Funding 2022 and will be updated regularly so please check the Wiki page when you require funding support.  All applications must be sent to Ilana via email or Vicki (whilst Ilana is on leave) outlining the amount requested and the purpose for the funds.  Click here for further information

Travel Updates 

Travel updates are now on the Wiki – please click here for further information. Information will be updated regularly so please check this page if you are considering business travel. 

Travelling soon? You may need to check your CTM profile before booking. 

Now that travel has opened up for QUT staff again, Corporate Card holders may have their transactions declined if their details are outdated in their CTM profile. 

Cardholders should please review their details to ensure that they have a balance available on the card, and that the expiry date of the card is correct. 

International Travel 

From 21 March 2022, you will be able to book international travel for QUT work-related purposes to destinations with a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advice level of 1, 2 or 3. 



Microsoft Teams 



Member Achievements

Completed PhD

Congrats to Dr Artur Banach on a completed PhD 

Thesis title: “Visual Navigation in Minimally Invasive Surgery” 

Principal supervisor: Aaron McFadyen 

Associate supervisors: Ross Crawford, Cameron Brown 

Completed PhD

Congratulations to Dr John Skinner for passing his PhD! 

Thesis Title: “Simulation for Robot Vision”. 

Principal Supervisor:  Peter Corke 

Associate Supervisor:  Michael Milford 


Paper Published


Congrats to the BenchBot team for having their IJRR data paper published! 

Title: BenchBot Environments for Active Robotics (BEAR): simulated data for active scene understanding research 

Authors: David Hall, Ben Talbot, Suman Raj Bista, Haoyang Zhang,  Rohan Smith, Feras Dayoub and Niko Sünderhauf. 

Journal: International Journal of Robotics Research   Link 

Final Version PhD submitted

Congrats to Vibhavari (Vibha) Dasagi for submitting the final version of her PhD Manuscript (after minor revisions from Examiners) and congrats to her principal supervisor Juxi (and team)  

PhD Title: Efficient and Stable Reinforcement Learning for Robotics 

Supervisors: Juxi Leitner, Thierry Peynot and Jon Roberts  

Vibha is now a Research Scientist at DeepMind in London! 

Confirmation Seminar

Congrats to Somayeh for a great presentation and passing her confirmation seminar! 

Title: Bio-inspired Neural Networks for Visual Place Recognition 

Accepted Papers

Congratulations to PhD candidate Narmilan Amarasingam on his two papers in a row in Q1 journals including ‘Remote Sensing’ (MDPI Publisher) and ‘Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment’ (Elsevier Publisher). 

Title: Predicting Canopy Chlorophyll Content in Sugarcane Crops Using Machine Learning Algorithms and Spectral Vegetation Indices Derived from UAV Multispectral Imagery.  Link here

Title: A review of UAV platforms, sensors, and applications for monitoring of sugarcane crops.   Link here


PhD Thesis Submitted

Congrats to Faris Azhari who submitted his PhD Thesis for examination! 

Title: Automated Crack Detection and Characterisation from 3D Point Clouds of Unstructured Surfaces” 

Sponsor: Mining3 

Supervisors: Thierry Peynot, Michael Milford  & Charlotte Sennersten (CSIRO) Faris is now Research Engineer at CSIRO 


Past Events

Robotics Club and QCR Event 

On Wednesday 23 February QCR and the Robotics Club ran and event to attract students to thesis projects for EGH-400-1. 

Was a very successful event with lots of networking and pizza. 

We are excited to work with the QUT Robotics Club for future events. 

Past Events

Agtech Event - 8 March  

The AgTech event which was held online on 8 March was a big success. Guest speakers from @ConnectedFarms, @agtechlogistics and Stacked Farm were part of the online Webinar event.  The event was a platform to learn more about how #robotics and #agriculture can work together to put #Farmers first.  

Robotics Seminar Series Catch Up

Missed a seminar?  Catch up here.

Seminars from 1 March 2022 to 

Avoiding resource bottlenecks – Concurrency, threading and multiprocessing 
Date: 8 March 2022
Speaker: Gavin Suddrey 


Interpetable Fusion of Deep Features for Out-of-Distribution Detection 
Date: 22 March 2022
Speaker: Samuel Wilson


Deep Learning, Data Mining and Robotics 
Date: 22 March 2022
Speaker: Fangyi Zhang 

New Faces

Welcome to Therese Joseph

Welcome to Therese Joseph who started her PhD with Michael and Tobi, on bio-inspired neural networks for robot navigation. 


Welcome to Nic Chapman

Nic is a new HDR student and is working with Chris, Will and Feras (remotely) on active computer vision under uncertainty. 


Behind the Scenes

… with Sophie Taylor

What do you do in the Centre and what are you currently working on? 

I am doing a PhD in mathematics, on the philosophical foundations and limits of the mechanics of computation. I'm currently working on the algorithmic thermodynamics of artificial and digital life. On the face of it, that makes no sense, and so an example is in order. Consider the classic 1984 programming game Core War, where the goal is to essentially write a virus which overwrites all the memory of a virtual computer. What is the minimum length of code you need to write such that you can have a self-replicating organism? What is the minimum runtime? How much memory does it use up? What are the trade-offs between these three properties? More interestingly, what happens to these properties when a rival virus is introduced? If the code is allowed to purposely mutate itself, what happens to these properties over time, as the virions compete for domination? What's interesting is that, thanks to Algorithmic Information Theory, these questions can be asked for any scenario where you have computational agents in an environment --- including any AI agent, or indeed, biological life in the physical world. 

What’s on your desk? 

Not much, at the moment anyway. Apart from my desktop monitors, I have my laptop on a laptop stand, my portable mechanical keyboard (although I take it home every night), my tablet, a couple of books, my water bottle, and my backpack.  

How would you describe your work to a child?  

Poorly, as I have enough trouble explaining it to myself! I suppose it would be something like the following: "What is the smallest amount of complexity you need for something to be called life? I am trying to figure that out!" 

Three words to describe your work? 

Generalised Abstract Nonsense! 

What’s your dream travel destination? 

Mars! More realistically, Antarctica. 

I’m currently reading 

"Proofs from THE BOOK", a collection of incredibly short, elegant and insightful mathematical proofs. 

And currently wishing 

For clear skies, so I can do some astrophotography. 

My last meal would be 

Salmon yakisoba 

Final question!  Tea, coffee or no caffeine? 

Pepsi Max! Failing that, iced tea. 

Who do you nominate for next month? 

Ilana Bolingford  

Member Publications

BenchBot environments for active robotics (BEAR): Simulated data for active scene understanding research 
Hall D, Talbot B, Bista SR, Zhang H, Smith R, Dayoub F, Sunderhauf N 
BenchBot environments for active robotics (BEAR): Simulated data for active scene understanding research - David Hall, Ben Talbot, Suman Raj Bista, Haoyang Zhang, Rohan Smith, Feras Dayoub, Niko Sünderhauf, 2022 ( 

Point Label Aware Superpixels for Multi-species Segmentation of Underwater Imagery  
Scarlett Raine, Ross Marchant, Brano Kusy,  Frederic Maire,  Tobias Fischer 
2202.13487.pdf ( 

Visibility Maximisation Controller for Robotic Manipulation 
K He, R Newbury, T Tran, J Haviland 
Visibility Maximization Controller for Robotic Manipulation 

Predicting Canopy Chlorophyll Content in Sugarcane Crops Using Machine Learning Algorithms and Spectral Vegetation Indices Derived from UAV Multispectral 
A Narmilan, F Gonzalez, ASA Salgadoe 
Predicting Canopy Chlorophyll Content in Sugarcane Crops Using Machine Learning Algorithms and Spectral Vegetation Indices Derived from UAV Multispectral … 

A review of UAV platforms, sensors and applications for monitoring of sugarcane crops 
N Amarasingam, S Salgadoe, K Powell, LF Gonzalez 
A review of UAV platforms, sensors, and applications for monitoring of sugarcane crops 

OpenSceneVLAD: Appearance Invariant, Open Set Scene Classification 
WHB Smith, M Milford, KD McDonald-Maier, S Ehsan  IEEE International 2022 
OpenSceneVLAD: Appearance Invariant, Open Set Scene Classification 

Highly-Efficient Binary Neural Networks for Visual Place Recognition 
B Ferrarini, M Milford, KD McDonald-Maier, S Ehsan   arXiv preprint arXiv 2022 
Highly-Efficient Binary Neural Networks for Visual Place Recognition 

SwitchHit: A Probabilistic,Complementarity-Based Switching System for Improved Visual Place Recognition in Changing Environments 
M Waheed, M Milford, K McDonald-Maier, S Ehsan  arXiv preprint arXiv:2203.00591, 2022 
SwitchHit: A Probabilistic, Complementarity-Based Switching System for Improved Visual Place Recognition in Changing Environments 

Point Label Aware Superpixels for Multi-species Segmentation of Underwater imagery 
S Raine, R Marchant, B Kusy, F Maire, T Fischer  arXiv Preprint arXiv:2202. 13487, 2022 
Point Label Aware Superpixels for Multi-species Segmentation of Underwater Imagery 


We want to hear from you!

Send us your news and achievements via email-

Subscribe to our external newsletter here


Copyright © 2022 QUT Centre for Robotics, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp