Keynote Speakers

Juyang (John) Weng, Professor, IEEE Life Fellow
Brain-Mind Institute, USA

Biography: Juyang Weng received the BS degree from Fudan University, in 1982, M. Sc. and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 1985 and 1989, respectively, all in computer science.  He is a professor emeritus of Computer Science and Engineering, faculty member of the Cognitive Science Program, and faculty member of the Neuroscience Program at Michigan State University, East Lansing.  He was a visiting professor at the Computer Science School of Fudan University, Nov. 2003 - March 2014.  Since the work of Cresceptron (ICCV 1993), he expanded his research interests in biologically inspired systems to developmental learning, including perception, cognition, behaviors, motivation, and machine thinking models.  He has published over 300 research articles on related subjects, including task muddiness, intelligence metrics, brain-mind architectures, emergent Turing machines, autonomous programing for general purposes (APFGP), post-selection flaws, vision, audition, touch, attention, detection, recognition, autonomous navigation, and natural language understanding.  He published with T. S. Huang and N. Ahuja the first deep learning system for 3D world, called Cresceptron and a research monograph titled Motion and Structure from Image Sequences.  He authored a book titled Natural and Artificial Intelligence: Computational Introduction to Computational Brain-Mind.  Dr. Weng is an Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics, the Editor-in-Chief of the Brain-Mind Magazine, and an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development (now Cognitive and Developmental Systems).  With others’ support, he initiated the series of International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL), the IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development, and the startup GENISAMA LLC.  He was an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Recognition and Machine Intelligence and the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing. He is a life fellow of IEEE.

Speech Title: The First Conscious Learning Algorithm
Abstract: From a fruit fly to a human, with many animal species in between, do they share a set of biological mechanisms to regulate the lifelong development of the brains?  We have seen very impressive advances in understanding the principles of neuroscience.  However, what is still missing is a holistic algorithm that is both broad and deep.  By broad, we mean it approximates such mechanisms across a range of species. By deep, we mean that it specifies sufficient details so that the algorithm can be biologically and computationally verified and corrected across a deep hierarchy of scales, from neurotransmitters, to cells, to brain patterns, to behaviors, to intelligence, to consciousness across the time span of a life.   This talk outlines such a conscious learning algorithm, the first in the categorically as far as the presenter is aware of, called Developmental Network 3 (DN-3), the generation after Cresceptron, IHDR, DN-1 and DN-2 all of which were not capable of conscious learning till DN-3.  A major extension from the predecessor DN-2 to DN-3 is that the model starts from a single cell inside the skull so that brain patterning is fully automatic in a coarse to fine way. This biological model has been supported by computational experiments with real sensory data for vision, audition, natural languages, and planning, to be presented during the talk.

GIULIO SANDINI, Professor, Founding Director
Robotics Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

Biography: Giulio Sandini is a Founding Director of the Italian Institute of Technology where in 2006 he established the department of Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences. As a research fellow and Assistant Professor at the Scuola Normale in Pisa and Visiting Researcher at the Neurology Department of the Harvard Medical School he investigated visual perception and sensorimotor coordination in humans and technologies for Brain Activity Mapping in children with learning disabilities. As a professor of bioengineering at the University of Genova in 1990 he founded the LIRA-Lab (Laboratory for Integrated Advanced Robotics, which was to become the birthplace of the iCub humanoid robot. In 1996 he was Visiting Scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of MIT.
Giulio Sandini research activity is characterized by an engineering approach to the study of natural intelligent systems with a focus on the design and implementation of artificial systems to investigate the development of human perceptual, motor and cognitive abilities (and viceversa).

Speech Title: Anthropomorphic Behaviours in Artificial Systems
Abstract: The use mathematical models to describe human perceptual and motor functions has a very long and successful history while the design and implementation of embodied artificial systems to investigate human sensorimotor and cognitive abilities is a relatively recent endeavour struggling, to some extent, to go beyond a superficial, technology-driven, biomimetic approach. Besides its intrinsic scientific and engineering value, the view emerging is that of a fragmented collection of individual functions missing the opportunity to exploit the origin and timeframe of human adaptive abilities including the role and complementary contribution of evolutionary, epigenetic, developmental and learning processes. Stemming from these considerations and on the need of a more convergent approach based on a reference cognitive architecture I will focus my presentation on how to exploit the use of robots to advance our knowledge of the mechanisms at the basis of human-human interaction and in particular in our ability to anticipate our own actions and those of others.

Wei-Hsin Liao, Professor, Chairman
Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Biography: Wei-Hsin Liao received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA. Since August 1997, Dr. Liao has been with The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he is currently Department Chairman and Choh-Ming Li Professor of Mechanical and Automation Engineering. His research has led to publications of over 300 technical papers in international journals and conference proceedings, 21 patents in US, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. Besides five Best Paper Awards in IEEE conferences, seven of his journal papers received awards from American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), and Institute of Physics (IOP). As the Chair of Joint Chapter of Robotics, Automation and Control Systems Society (RACS), IEEE Hong Kong Section, Dr. Liao received 2012 Chapter of the Year Award from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. He is the recipient of the 2020 ASME Adaptive Structures and Material Systems Award and the 2018 SPIE SSM Lifetime Achievement Award, to recognize his outstanding contributions to the advancement of smart structures and materials. Dr. Liao currently serves as an Associate Editor for Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, and on the Executive Editorial Board of Smart Materials and Structures. Dr. Liao is a Fellow of ASME, HKIE, and IOP.

Speech Title: Robotic Exoskeleton for Load Transportation
Abstract: Exoskeletons are considered as promising devices for motion assistance of mobility impaired patients and motor ability augmentation of healthy people. Considering the interactive action between exoskeletons and human body, a safe and comfortable human-exoskeleton interaction is essential to achieve effective exoskeleton operations for human motion assistance. In this research, a proxy-based torque controller (PTC) is designed for safe and performant interactive torque control of motor-driven exoskeletons under different scenarios. A generalized model is built and analyzed for commonly applied motor-based conventional stiff actuator (CSA) and series elastic actuator (SEA) for exoskeletons. Then, the PTC with specified compensation is designed based on proxy-based sliding mode control (PSMC) strategy and the stability is theoretically proved for the closed-loop system of the two types of actuators. Meanwhile, an adaptive law is designed for online adjustment of the PTC parameter to produce an overdamped system response for the two actuators under unexpected interruptions. Following the adaptive law, the PTC robustly realizes a compliant torque control while keeping accurate torque tracking under normal operation. Experiments are conducted for two back-support exoskeletons with CSA and SEA, verifying the effectiveness of the proposed controller for safe human-exoskeleton interaction guarantee under different scenarios. In this talk, the developed devices/systems and key results will be presented.

Plenary Speakers

Marcelo H Ang Jr, Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department
Ag Director, Advanced Robotics Centre
National University of Singapore

Biography: Marcelo H. Ang, Jr. received his BSc and MSc degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the De La Salle University in the Philippines and University of Hawaii, USA in 1981 and 1985, respectively, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester, New York in 1988 where he was an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering. In 1989, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the National University of Singapore where he is currently Professor and Acting Director of the Advanced Robotics Center. His research interests span the areas of robotics, mechatronics, autonomous systems, and applications of intelligent systems. He teaches robotics; creativity and innovation; applied electronics and instrumentation; computing; design and related topics. In addition to academic and research activities. He is also actively involved in the Singapore Robotic Games as its founding chairman, and the World Robot Olympiad as member of its Advisory Council. Some videos of his research can be found in:

Speech Title: AI_Driven Robotics for Everyday Life
Abstract: Robotics science and technology have evolved from the seminal applications in industrial robotics in manufacturing to today’s varied applications with great impact in service, health care, education, entertainment, and our daily lives. The current COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for robotics to achieve a safer environment for all. One common theme in these emerging applications is the human-centered nature in unstructured environments, where robotic systems surround humans, aiding and working with us to enrich and enhance the quality of our lives. This talk presents our latest developments in fundamental capabilities in terms of intelligence, specifically our request to achieve “Artificial Generalized Intelligence.” An example of self-driving cars is presented. We will review the different components of an intelligent system. This talk will then conclude with the challenges in science and technology to further accelerate the robotics revolution.

Professor and Associate Chair of Graduate Affairs
University of South Florida, USA

Biography: Yu Sun is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of South Florida (Assistant Professor 2009-2015, Associate Professor 2015-2020, Associate Chair of Graduate Affairs 2018-2020). He was a Visiting Associate Professor at Stanford University from 2016 to 2017. He received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Utah in 2007.  Then he had his Postdoctoral training at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL), Cambridge, MA (2007-2008) and the University of Utah (2008-2009).  His main research area is robotic grasping and manipulation. He initiated the IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Robotic Hands, Grasping, and Manipulation and served as its first co-Chair. He has published numerous papers in robotics, intelligent systems, virtual reality, and medical applications and received 15 U.S. patents and a 2018 USF Excellence in Innovation Award. He has also served on several editorial boards as an Associate Editor and Editor, including IEEE Transactions on Robotics, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), ICRA, and IROS.

Speech Title: Gourmet Chef at Home for Everyone – A Robot
Abstract: Good food is vital to our mental and physical health. A gourmet chef can prepare food healthily, boosting its flavor to encourage consuming more vegetables, reduce sodium and fat intake, and cut calories; however, not everyone can master the art of cooking or afford a gourmet chef. Can robots obtain a gourmet chef's cooking knowledge and capabilities to serve us quality food at home every day?
In this talk, I will first introduce how to use the functional object-oriented network (FOON) to guide robots to perform various long-horizon cooking tasks. Then, I will present our new motion generator that can learn common cooking-manipulation skills such as accurately pouring liquid and solids and mixing different ingredients. In the end, I will show our latest work on developing novel multi-object-grasping approaches for robots to reach human-level efficiency.

Ki-Uk Kyung,
Associate Professor
KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, Korea

Biography: Ki-Uk Kyung received the bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), in 1999, and the PhD degree from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He is an associate professor in the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea. He joined the POST-PC Research Group at the Electronics and TelecommunicationsResearch Institute, in 2006 and was a director of the Smart UI/UX Device Research Section. The main objectives of his lab at KAIST are to discover soft and transparent materials for flexible sensors/actuators and to apply themto future devices such as flexible display, wearable device, and soft robots.

Speech Title: Soft Robotics - Challenging Issues for Transition from Stiffness to Softness
Recently, with the emergence of flexible devices including stretchable/bendable wearable devices, consumer electronic devices, and soft electromechanical machines such as soft robots allowing them to be mechanically robust against deformation, user interfaces are also required to be soft to be embedded into the systems. Particularly, in the case of designing an interactive user experience interface responding to user intention, sensing components for detecting user intention and responding components providing user experience need to be considered together with interaction schemes. In the area of sensor development, thin film sensors detecting amounts of strain, bending, and contact pressure have been investigated for a long time. However, the stability of sensing response under dynamically deformed conditions still remains a critical issue to be solved, although many flexible tactile sensors have been suggested. In the area of soft actuators, electroactive polymers have been proposed as the most powerful materials for implementing flexible actuation mechanisms. Owing to the attractive benefits of light-weight, flexibility, non-geometric constraints, cost-effectiveness, and easy miniaturization, the soft EAP actuators configured to a thin film are capable of enlarging their potential to tactile feedback interfaces for flexible touchscreen, Braille devices, and wearable tactile devices. Recently, with advances in output capability, soft actuators have contributed to opening up many opportunities in artificial muscles, biomimetic robots, and small mechanical devices as well as tactile interfaces. In addition, soft components have a major advantage in reconfigurability. For example, a soft actuating film can change its form from flat to locally protrusive in order to simulate a physical deformation. Robotic grippers with deformable fingers have advantages in handling arbitrarily shaped objects. This talk also includes challenges in soft actuators for practical application to innovative soft human-machine interfaces.


Invited Speakers

Sharmila. B, Professor
Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College, India

Biography: Dr. B. Sharmila received her Ph.D. Degree in Electrical Engineering under Anna University, Chennai in the year of 2013. She completed her Post Graduate in Applied Electronics in 2004 and her Under Graduate in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering in the year 2000. She has secured Bharathiar University Second Rank during her Under Graduate Programme. She began her career as a Software Engineer at Vigil Software Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore in 2000. Then started her teaching profession in the year 2001. She is now working as Professor in the Department of Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering at Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College, Coimbatore.She has a total experience of 16 years in teaching.She is a recognized Research Supervisor under Anna University, Chennai. Currently she guides One Full Time Research Scholar, 3 Part Time Research Scholars and two Post Graduate Scholars. Her area of interest includes Control Systems, Sensor Technology, Networked Control System and Automation. She published 16 Technical Research Papers in referred International Journals. Also presented and published papers in International Conferences held at Singapore, Dubai and Indonesia. She has published one Book and three Book Chapters (Two Springer Series). She has 4 IPR Copyrights for Laboratory Manuals. She has applied and published 8 Patents since 2016 and also submitted the FER for 5 Patents. She has generated revenue around Rs. 25, 00,000/- by completed Consultancy Project at Bimetal Bearings Ltd., T-Stanes& SolutionCompany, and PRICOL Pvt. Ltd., Coimbatore for the project titled Machine Inspection System. Her team has received project funding of $ 2210 from IEEE headquarters New York under the scheme IEEE – EPICS. She has been Organizing Secretary for various events liked Conferences, Workshops, Seminars, Faculty Development Programme, Short Term Training Programming sponsored by funding agencies as AICTE, CSIR, ICMR, ISRO, TNSCST, National Instruments, IEEE, ISTE, etc. She has acted as Resource persons in various events and also attended FDPs / Workshops. She has received Best Women Faculty Award, Best Paper Awards and NI Impact Award in various forums.She is having interactions with other Departments, Institutions and Organizations by acting as a Member of Board of Studies, Department Advisory Committee, and Referred Journal Reviewer, Technical Committee member of International Conferences, Academic Expert Committee member and Jury member for innovative projects. She holds membership in Professional bodies as IEEE, IEI, ISTE and ISOI. 

Speech Title: Real Time Hardware-In-Loop testing for E-Vehicle BLDC Motor using Model Based System Design
Abstract: Model-based system design (MBSD) is a mathematical and visual method of addressing problems associated with designing complex control, signal processing and communication systems. Model-Based Design enables system-level and component-level design and simulation, automatic code generation, and continuous test and verification. MBSE technical approaches are commonly applied to a wide range of industries with complex systems, such as aerospace, defence, rail, automotive, manufacturing, etc. For illustration using MBD, the Brushless DC Motor in E-Vehicle is modelled, hardware in loop test is applied and speed analyses for various input voltages are carried out. The HIL bench contains all of the relevant motor inputs/output components. A simulator presents inputs to motor and load systems, which in turn send signals to the system under test to see how it responds correctly to the inputs with respective load changes. This process is comprised of three stages as mathematical modelling of BLDC, developing the model and verification using test sequences of different input voltage sets and load sets in Simulink and the developed model is run on the target board (Raspberry pi). Based on the result, the motor's optimum speed for the different load conditions are obtained which can be tested and modified depending upon requirements before mass production. Using the Model-Based Design, a model of the entire system in automotive like Engine, Control Unit, Sensor Module, Input and Output (Relay, Switches, Lights etc..) can be modelled, tested and implemented.

Jamaludin Jalani, Associate Professor
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Malaysia

Biography: JAMALUDIN JALANI is an Associate Professor at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia. He obtained his B.Eng. Degree from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, in 1998 and M.Sc. in Mechatronics Engineering from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. In 2013, he received a PhD from the University of Bristol, England in Robotic Engineering. His major research interests are Robotic, Automation, Mechatronics and Control System. Before joining academia, he experienced as an engineer at Sharp Manufacturing Malaysia. In 2015, he was appointed as the head of department of student affair under the Faculty of Engineering Technology, University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia. In 2017 he became the head of the Electrical Engineering Technology Department under the same Faculty. Currently, he is the Head of the Automation and Control Technology Focus Group.

Speech Title: Development of the Prosthetic Hand Based On Compliance Control for Amputees and Upper Limb Stroke Patients
Abstract: The statistics of stroke patients in Malaysia are staggering and require great attention. Therefore, providing more support devices for stroke patients in Malaysia is crucial. This research is proposed to develop a wearable hand exoskeleton for paralyzed fingers used by stroke patients to perform activities of daily living (ADL). In the early stages, the design focuses on movement exercises in which the paralyzed finger is allowed to grasp and ungrasp without any grasped object. This can be achieved with the help of the Electroencephalography (EEG) sensor. Then, with the help of the touch sensors, the prosthetic hand with compliance control can be introduced. This method allows patients to explore different levels of grasped objects. In order to allow compliance control, a robust and active compliance control is proposed via an Integral Sliding-Mode Controller (ISMC). In the presence of external force, the mass-spring-damper characteristic can be introduced. This technique allows the object to be grasped safely. The proposed hand exoskeleton can differentiate objects according to size, shape, and weight.