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What's Inside

Directors Message

Our Research Impact 

Our Engagement

Centre News & Achievements

Feature Story

External Events & Seminars 



Feature Story

Women in Robotics 
Sarah Baldwin

Directors Message

It’s been another big quarter for the Centre on many fronts: research, industrial projects and teaching.  In this issue I want to talk a bit about the teaching side of the business. 

Teaching is the bread and butter of being a university, and our role is to create the future workforce. Of relevance to the robotics and related industries, most academics in the Centre are involved in teaching across a broad range of courses such as robotics, artificial intelligence, control, design and autonomous systems.  We contribute to delivering graduates with a specialization (we call it a major) in electrical, electrical & aerospace, and mechatronic engineering. We innovate and experiment with approaches to teaching, to improve the effectiveness of teaching but also to accommodate the distinct needs of students today, many of whom are in part- or full-time employment.  Online teaching is one solution to this, and the pandemic has definitely forced our hand on this.  However, it does raise real issues around effective engagement with students, and it can lead to feelings of isolation without the social learning structure of traditional university life.   

To me, an important part of training to become an engineer is the practical component of learning – the lab sessions.  These have been seriously curtailed over the last two years, and we have experimented with various simulation technologies.  Maybe I am old fashioned, but I think we have lost something here and we need to find a better way to deliver the lab experience in an online teaching world.  This could be anything from low-cost kit robots that students own (lab at home) or uploading code to real robots in a robot farm at the university.  If you have ideas or thoughts in this area please write to me. There are also formal ways that industry can get involved in shaping our courses, and the students that we graduate. 

QUT is launching a Masters of Robotics and AI next year, 18 months of coursework. Industry short courses will follow. We will also launch a vertical double degree which offers a bachelors and masters degree after five years of study.  


Enjoy the issue. 


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Our Research Impact


QUT Centre for Robotics CI Aaron McFadyen (PhD) has been awarded an international prize for Australian Drone Facility Maps with industry partner Airservices Australia. 
McFadyen said the Airwards award was a great recognition of the partnership between QUT and Airservices. 


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


Joint Director Michael Milford featured in Careers with Stem this month. The article discusses how students with an interest in STEM can design their dream jobs! 



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.    


The Robot Academy turned 5 on 12 May 2022, with almost 2.5M page views and over 560,000 users at this date. This works out to about 10,000 views per week or about 1 view per minute. Usage is global, and ranked by users per country it is: 

  1. United States (if California were a country, it’d be 6th) 
    11. France
  1. India 
  1. Netherlands 
  1. Australia 
  1. Egypt 
  1. Germany 
  1. Brazil (shout out to the students here who are working on Portuguese subtitles) 
  1. United Kingdom 
  1. Mexico 
  1. Canada 
  1. Japan
  1. China 
  1. Pakistan
  1. South Korea 
  1. Spain
  1. Turkey 
  1. Malaysia
  1. Italy 
  1. Taiwan
City wise, ranked by users, we have: Brisbane, Sydney, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Melbourne, Pune, London and Seoul. 
The Robot Academy contains over 200 short lessons covering robotics (kinematics and dynamics) and classical computer vision (no deep learning). Created originally for two university undergraduate level MOOCs the approach is, I hope, accessible and engaging and a good entre to robotics in general. I’d still like to add new content (mobile robots, 3D vision) added, and update some of the existing content, but just don’t have the time and resources to do that. 
Check out the videos here and be sure to spread the word! 
Our Engagement

Recent Talks and Workshops


QUT Aerospace Society held an Industry Night on 12 May. 
CI Aaron Mcfadyen attended the event to present to students and industry partners.
The event was very successful with students able to discuss their ideas and interests with industry partners in attendance. 


QCR sponsored a film viewing event on Picture a Scientist, held at Gardens Point Campus on 16 May (followed by a live-streamed panel discussion from the University of Sydney.) 
‘Picture a Scientist’ is a feature-length documentary film chronicling the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. A biologist, a chemist, and a geologist, lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences – overcoming brutal harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights – to revolutionise the culture of science.  
The panel explored new perspectives on how to make science more diverse, equitable, and open to all.



CI Chris Lehnert presented at the John Deere Workshop last week on agriculture robotics. It was a well-attended event with industry and other academics in attendance. 



The QCR team hosted a tour and discussion with Anglo American on topics around robotics, perception systems, autonomy, and sustainability in mining and minerals 

*Image courtesy of LinkedIn



The QUT School of Electrical Engineering & Robotics held a HDR student and industry networking night recently inviting alumni guest speakers to talk about their endeavours.

Joint Director Michael Milford met with Emesent
co-founder Dr Farid Kendoul and former Masters student Ian Greyvensteyn (now working for Emesent). 


QUT teamed with the Canadian-based space technology company MDA to design a logistics robot prototype that could assist in the relocation of cargo onboard the International Space Station (ISS) or the Lunar Gateway. The project was funded by the Australian Space Agency’s through the Moon to Mars Demonstrator Feasibility Grants program. 
Our prototype comprised a Franka Emika robot manipulator and a custom gripper that can grab analogs of NASA cargo bags, complete with floppy handles, and stow them in particular storage compartments. The system has a high degree of autonomy and an interactive web-based front end.  During the final project demonstration to the Space Agency, the robot at QUT was commanded from Toronto during a live Zoom session. It was a great demonstration of QCR capability and kudos to the project team. 
Centre News & Achievements



2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 

ICRA used to be the biggest conference in our annual calendar, and we hosted it here in Brisbane in 2018.  The last one in Montreal in 2019 had 4000 attendees.  A group of seven of us attended this year’s conference in Philadelphia with some curiosity/nervousness about what it would be like, or how many people would attend.  It was big!  4500 people attended in person with another 3000 people attending virtually.  Lots of friends and colleagues were there, many from the US and Europe.   
We had collectively 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.  
Students and CIs from our Centre presented a number of papers, were involved in organising several workshops, as well as presenting papers at workshops spanning climate change to construction, and reinforcement learning to localization. 

PhD student Jesse Haviland says of his experience,

" ICRA 2022 was my first non-virtual conference, and it happened just in time with only a few weeks before I finish my PhD. After attending ICRA and IROS virtually for the last few years, I have to say that the in-person experience is well worth the effort. In contrast to the 2 am Zoom slot for virtual ICRA, there was a huge amount of engagement from the presentation and poster sessions, had lots of hallway chats and met lots of people and robots on the exhibition floor. Being able to travel again was also great, with Philadelphia proving to be a very intriguing and interesting city, although the lack of a kettle in my hotel room was quite concerning."

Figure 1- QCR CIs and students with alum Vibha Dasagi. 




AI vision for commercial laundry 

A Queensland family-run laundry enterprise, working with ARM Hub, has developed a bi-manual robot prototype to automate one of the most labour-intensive tasks in commercial laundries – feeding clean towels into a folding machine before they are returned to the customer. 




The Australian Cobotics Centre is offering a limited opportunity for new industry partners to join the Australian Cobotics Centre, with Expressions of Interest closing soon. This is an exciting opportunity for your organisation to be part of our collaborative research projects that are matched to your organisation’s strategic goals. There a variety of levels of partnership and all interest is encouraged. Get in touch to discuss via email ( or find out more. 
The Centre has also recently had its first paper published! Researchers from the Australian Cobotics contributed a paper at the 2022 International DESIGN Conference, held from 23-26th May.  The paper, entitled, “A Life-Cycle Framework to Manage Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange in Open Organisation” was authored by the Centre's Open Innovation Team - Matthias Guertler, Nico Adams, Glenda Caldwell and  AI Jared Donovan.  




The office of industry engagement (OIE) at QUT supports the establishment of mutually beneficial longer-term relationships between QUT Researchers and Industry. It also supports the commercialisation of University owned IP.

Industry Opportunity – ITTC in Digital Twins for Manufacturing 

by Deon de Saldanha, Director, Industry Engagement (Science and Engineering) 

Manufacturing is a key component of the government’s plan to deliver a strong, modern, and resilient economy for all Australians. Greater implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital twins will help Australian manufacturing stay globally competitive by becoming more flexible, intelligent, and resilient. 
But the adoption of these technologies by individual companies is easier said than done!  Collaboration with other parties can be hugely beneficial for effective learning, testing and upskilling.   
QUT and the Australian Robotics in Manufacturing Hub are developing a proposal for a new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC). Together with its industry and research partners, this Centre will help accelerate the adoption of Digital Twins (DT) and Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) into our manufacturing industry to deliver a more flexible, intelligent and resilient position.  
This centre aims to deliver: 
  • 1st-mover advantage in DT & XAI applied research for manufacturing. 
  • An innovation network researching flexible, safe and effective DT & XAI applications. 
  • Critical research training for the next generation of DT and XAI application experts. 
  • Dissemination of professionally curated and new knowledge, with fresh insights into workforce integration, toolsets, skills, training and business challenges. 
  • Effective leverage of industry partner funds with Australian Government Funds through the ITTC scheme.  
This opportunity would suit manufacturers and service providers who are both ready and able to commit to the introduction of Digital Twins into manufacturing operations.  It could also suit non-manufacturers who operate complex manufacturing-like facilities (e.g. water treatment plants).  
To find out more about this opportunity, please email our industry engagement lead at  
* Our definition of digital twins (DT’s) – DT’s are useful computer-based models of complex manufacturing systems and operations. They establish knowledge, interrelations and dependencies, which were previously hidden. AI and machine learning is used to optimise assets and gain meaningful insights based on the real data from multiple sources captured in the DT. DTs learn, predict and help humans understand the behaviour of manufacturing parts and processes over time, including as key variables change. Typical outcomes are cost savings, quality improvements, downtime reduction, more effective change planning, and more. 

Member Achievements

Completed PhDs

Congratulations to Dr Troy Cordie whose thesis was titled “Modular Reconfigurable Field Robotics” 


Congratulations to Dr Jack Collins who has been awarded his PhD on the topic “Simulation to Reality and Back: A Robot's Guide to Crossing the Reality Gap.” 


Congratulations to Dr Vibhavari Dasagi whose thesis was titled  “Efficient and Stable Reinforcement Learning for Robotics”.   



Doctoral Thesis Awards for 2021 

Doug Morrison has been awarded, by the QUT Research Degrees Committee, a QUT Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award for his thesis titled "Robotic grasping in unstructured and dynamic environments". 


Dimity Miller has been awarded a Faculty of Engineering Executive Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award. 

Feature Story


Women in Robotics with Sarah Baldwin

This month (June) we celebrate the work of QCR Research Assistant Sarah Baldwin.  
1. How do you use robotics in your current work / research? 
As a research assistant, I use robotics principles to guide my design approach as I help with the execution of larger projects. Currently this involves computer vision processing and data collection to assist with bio-inspired navigation projects. 
2. What are you currently working on (in the robotic space)? 
I am currently working with Michael Milford and his ARC Laureate research project to develop an initial prototype of the data collection system involving GoPros and wide FOV lenses. 
3. What is your favourite thing about doing work in robotics? 
I love working with robotics because I can use a wide range of my skills to solve complex problems in a creative way. 
4. Your best achievement (in robotics) to date is? 
It is a tie between achieving my Mechatronics First Class Honours and when my high school robotics team represented Australia at the FIRST Tech Challenge championships in St Louis, USA. Both milestones confirmed that hard work pays off and that my passion for robotics was valuable because I was actually good at it too. 
5. What is your advice to other women looking to study/work in robotics? 
My advice is to never stop trying things, get out there and talk to people in different areas, find out how you want to apply your skills and just go for it. 


Want to learn more about Sarah? > READ MORE 

External Events & Seminars

Upcoming events 

Please join us at our Manufacturing Industry event where we will showcase the latest robotics research – hosted by QUT Centre for Robotics, Australian Cobotics Centre and ARM Hub. 

Shaping the Manufacturing Industry with Technology

Robotics and associated technologies can help manufacturers boost productivity and profits, and increase employee satisfaction by providing new skills, creating less hazardous and more inclusive jobs and workplaces for workers. The QUT Centre for Robotics, ARM Hub and the Australian Cobotics Centre are at the forefront of this research and in supporting manufacturers and associated businesses, in embracing advanced manufacturing. 

We invite you to join us on 15th July at our Manufacturing Industry event where we will showcase the latest robotics research with examples of how it can be applied to manufacturing and also provide insight into the organisational change considerations that should be considered when implementing technology. The day will finish with refreshments and the opportunity to network with other organisations and researchers. 

The day will be split into three sessions with lunch included and attendees are welcome to attend all or part of the day. 

Date: Friday, 15th July 

Time: 9am registration for 9:30am start – 4pm 

Venue: ARM Hub, 53 Holland St, Northgate, 4013 

The event is suitable for Manufacturing Managers, Engineers, Continuous Improvement Managers, HR and People managers and other Senior Managers. 

Spaces are strictly limited so please register now to secure your place. 

We have several more Industry focussed events coming up this year. To learn more please connect with us via LinkedIn. 

inSTEM Conference 

The inSTEM Conference is taking place on 20–21 July 2022, both in-person at the UQ Women’s College and online; and is a networking and career development conference for people from marginalised or under- represented groups in STEM, and their allies.  

Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from leading experts on topics and strategies that support career development and progression. We will also discuss how to create change that improves access, supports retention, and champions success in STEM for individuals from marginalised or underrepresented groups.  

Registrations for this event are now open and can be accessed along with information about the event at 

Past Events


Robotic Seminar Series

Date: 10 May 2022  

Title: Robotic Imaging: From Photons to Actions  

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

> Watch here 


April - June 2022


Kerry He, Rhys Newbury, Tin Tran, Jesse Haviland, Ben Burgess-Limerick, Dana Kulic, Peter Corke and Akansel Cosgun, (2022)
Visibility Maximisation Controller for Robotic Manipulation, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, June 2022.
S Türkay, K Letheren, R Crawford, J Roberts, AT Jaiprakash, (2022)  The effects of gender, age, and videogame experience on performance and experiences with a surgical robotic arm: an exploratory study with general public, Journal of Robotic Surgery 16 (3), 621-629. 
Khaliq, Ahmad, Milford, Michael, & Garg, Sourav (2022) MultiRes-NetVLAD: Augmenting Place Recognition Training with Low-Resolution Imagery. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 7(2), pp. 3882-3889. 
IA Yeo, IM McIntosh, SE Bryan, K Tani, M Dunbabin, The 2019–2020 volcanic eruption of Late’iki (Metis Shoal), Tonga -Scientific Reports, 2022.  
Yang, Lixina; Xu, Yonga; Huang, Zenghonga; Rao, Hongxiaa; E.Quevedo, Daniel, (2022)  Learning optimal stochastic sensor scheduling for remote estimation with channel capacity constraint - IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, pp 1. 
A Razjigaev, AK Pandey, D Howard, J Roberts, L Wu, End-to-End Design of Bespoke, Dexterous Snake-Like Surgical Robots: A Case Study With the RAVEN II  – IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2022.  
Malone, Connor, Garg, Sourav, Xu, Ming, Peynot, Thierry, & Milford, Michael (2022) Improving Road Segmentation in Challenging Domains Using Similar Place Priors. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 7(2), pp. 3555-3562. 
A Steinlietner, R Ballam, A Mcfadyen, (2022), Practical consensus-based formation control for quadrotor systems  International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc (In Press). 
Hall, David, Talbot, Ben, Bista, Suman Raj, Zhang, Haoyang, Smith, Rohan, Dayoub, Feras, et al. (2022) BenchBot environments for active robotics (BEAR): Simulated data for active scene understanding research. International Journal of Robotics Research, 41(3), pp. 259-269. 
Corke, Peter, Dayoub, Feras, Hall, David, Skinner, John, & Sünderhauf, Niko (2022) What Can Robotics Research Learn from Computer Vision Research? In Asfour, Tamim, Yoshida, Eiichi, Park, Jaeheung, Christensen, Henrik, & Khatib, Oussama (Eds.) Robotics Research: The 19th International Symposium ISRR. Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 987-1003. 
LF Gonzalez, I Vidal, F Valera, DR Lopez , Link Layer Connectivity as a Service for Ad-Hoc Microservice Platforms, IEEE Network, 2022. 
M Zaffar, S Garg, M Milford, J Kooij, D Flynn , (2022),  An Open-Source Visual Place Recognition Evaluation Framework with Quantifiable Viewpoint and Appearance Change  International Journal of Computer Vision (In press). 
Ben Burgess-Limerick, Chris Lehnert, Jurgen Leitner, Peter Corke, Eyes on the Prize: Improved Perception for Robust Dynamic Grasping, arXiv preprint arXiv:2204.13879, 2022 2204.13879.pdf ( 
S Mou, D Tsai, M Dunbabin, Reconfigurable Robots for Scaling Reef Restoration, arXiv preprint arXiv:2205.04612, 2022,  
A Peri, K Mehta, A Mishra, M Milford, S Garg, KM Krishna, ReF--Rotation Equivariant Features for Local Feature Matching (2022), arXiv preprint arXiv:2203.05206 
G Suddrey - 2022 "Instructing and Training Robots through a Natural Language Dialogue". 
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