Imperial College London

Professor Yiannis Demiris

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Professor of Human-Centred Robotics, Head of ISN



+44 (0)20 7594 6300y.demiris Website




1014Electrical EngineeringSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

191 results found

Zolotas M, Demiris Y, 2019, Towards Explainable Shared Control using Augmented Reality, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

Conference paper

Wang R, Ciliberto C, Amadori P, Demiris Yet al., 2019, Random Expert Distillation: Imitation Learning via Expert Policy Support Estimation, Thirty-sixth International Conference on Machine Learning, Publisher: Proceedings of International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML-2019)

We consider the problem of imitation learning from a finite set of experttrajectories, without access to reinforcement signals. The classical approachof extracting the expert's reward function via inverse reinforcement learning,followed by reinforcement learning is indirect and may be computationallyexpensive. Recent generative adversarial methods based on matching the policydistribution between the expert and the agent could be unstable duringtraining. We propose a new framework for imitation learning by estimating thesupport of the expert policy to compute a fixed reward function, which allowsus to re-frame imitation learning within the standard reinforcement learningsetting. We demonstrate the efficacy of our reward function on both discreteand continuous domains, achieving comparable or better performance than thestate of the art under different reinforcement learning algorithms.

Conference paper

Cully A, Demiris Y, 2019, Online knowledge level tracking with data-driven student models and collaborative filtering, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, ISSN: 1041-4347

Intelligent Tutoring Systems are promising tools for delivering optimal and personalised learning experiences to students. A key component for their personalisation is the student model, which infers the knowledge level of the students to balance the difficulty of the exercises. While important advances have been achieved, several challenges remain. In particular, the models should be able to track in real-time the evolution of the students' knowledge levels. These evolutions are likely to follow different profiles for each student, while measuring the exact knowledge level remains difficult given the limited and noisy information provided by the interactions. This paper introduces a novel model that addresses these challenges with three contributions: 1) the model relies on Gaussian Processes to track online the evolution of the student's knowledge level over time, 2) it uses collaborative filtering to rapidly provide long-term predictions by leveraging the information from previous users, and 3) it automatically generates abstract representations of knowledge components via automatic relevance determination of covariance matrices. The model is evaluated on three datasets, including real users. The results demonstrate that the model converges to accurate predictions in average 4 times faster than the compared methods.

Journal article

Zhang F, Cully A, Demiris Y, 2019, Probabilistic real-time user posture tracking for personalized robot-assisted dressing, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, ISSN: 1552-3098

Robotic solutions to dressing assistance have the potential to provide tremendous support for elderly and disabled people. However, unexpected user movements may lead to dressing failures or even pose a risk to the user. Tracking such user movements with vision sensors is challenging due to severe visual occlusions created by the robot and clothes. In this paper, we propose a probabilistic tracking method using Bayesian networks in latent spaces, which fuses robot end-effector positions and force information to enable cameraless and real-time estimation of the user postures during dressing. The latent spaces are created before dressing by modeling the user movements with a Gaussian process latent variable model, taking the user’s movement limitations into account. We introduce a robot-assisted dressing system that combines our tracking method with hierarchical multitask control to minimize the force between the user and the robot. The experimental results demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of our tracking method. The proposed method enables the Baxter robot to provide personalized dressing assistance in putting on a sleeveless jacket for users with (simulated) upper-body impairments.

Journal article

Zolotas M, Elsdon J, Demiris Y, 2019, Head-mounted augmented reality for explainable robotic wheelchair assistance, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2153-0866

Robotic wheelchairs with built-in assistive fea-tures, such as shared control, are an emerging means ofproviding independent mobility to severely disabled individuals.However, patients often struggle to build a mental model oftheir wheelchair’s behaviour under different environmentalconditions. Motivated by the desire to help users bridge thisgap in perception, we propose a novel augmented realitysystem using a Microsoft Hololens as a head-mounted aid forwheelchair navigation. The system displays visual feedback tothe wearer as a way of explaining the underlying dynamicsof the wheelchair’s shared controller and its predicted futurestates. To investigate the influence of different interface designoptions, a pilot study was also conducted. We evaluated theacceptance rate and learning curve of an immersive wheelchairtraining regime, revealing preliminary insights into the potentialbeneficial and adverse nature of different augmented realitycues for assistive navigation. In particular, we demonstrate thatcare should be taken in the presentation of information, witheffort-reducing cues for augmented information acquisition (forexample, a rear-view display) being the most appreciated.

Conference paper

Bagga S, Maurer B, Miller T, Quinlan L, Silvestri L, Wells D, Winqvist R, Zolotas M, Demiris Yet al., 2019, instruMentor: An Interactive Robot for Musical Instrument Tutoring, Pages: 303-315, ISSN: 0302-9743

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019. Musical instrument education has typically faced challenges in providing students with a cost-efficient and long-term solution for personalised tutoring. To address these challenges, we propose a musical instrument tutor robot for students learning the recorder, called instruMentor. Equipped with robotic hands and a multimodal interface, the robot interacts with users by playing the recorder and demonstrating in real-time the proper handling of the instrument. A pilot study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of a robot tutor for instrument learning. Experimental results suggest that instruMentor is successful at teaching the recorder and is positively appreciated by users, showing promise for the future coupling of music tutoring and social robots.

Conference paper

Di Veroli C, Le CA, Lemaire T, Makabu E, Nur A, Ooi V, Park JY, Sanna F, Chacon R, Demiris Yet al., 2019, LibRob: An Autonomous Assistive Librarian, Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems, Publisher: Springer International Publishing, Pages: 15-26, ISBN: 9783030253318

Book chapter

Choi J, Chang HJ, Fischer T, Yun S, Lee K, Jeong J, Demiris Y, Choi JYet al., 2018, Context-aware deep feature compression for high-speed visual tracking, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Pages: 479-488, ISSN: 1063-6919

We propose a new context-aware correlation filter based tracking framework to achieve both high computational speed and state-of-the-art performance among real-time trackers. The major contribution to the high computational speed lies in the proposed deep feature compression that is achieved by a context-aware scheme utilizing multiple expert auto-encoders; a context in our framework refers to the coarse category of the tracking target according to appearance patterns. In the pre-training phase, one expert auto-encoder is trained per category. In the tracking phase, the best expert auto-encoder is selected for a given target, and only this auto-encoder is used. To achieve high tracking performance with the compressed feature map, we introduce extrinsic denoising processes and a new orthogonality loss term for pre-training and fine-tuning of the expert auto-encoders. We validate the proposed context-aware framework through a number of experiments, where our method achieves a comparable performance to state-of-the-art trackers which cannot run in real-time, while running at a significantly fast speed of over 100 fps.

Conference paper

Moulin-Frier C, Fischer T, Petit M, Pointeau G, Puigbo JY, Pattacini U, Low SC, Camilleri D, Nguyen P, Hoffmann M, Chang HJ, Zambelli M, Mealier AL, Damianou A, Metta G, Prescott TJ, Demiris Y, Dominey PF, Verschure PFMJet al., 2018, DAC-h3: A Proactive Robot Cognitive Architecture to Acquire and Express Knowledge About the World and the Self, IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, Vol: 10, Pages: 1005-1022, ISSN: 2379-8920

This paper introduces a cognitive architecture for a humanoid robot to engage in a proactive, mixed-initiative exploration and manipulation of its environment, where the initiative can originate from both the human and the robot. The framework, based on a biologically-grounded theory of the brain and mind, integrates a reactive interaction engine, a number of state-of-the art perceptual and motor learning algorithms, as well as planning abilities and an autobiographical memory. The architecture as a whole drives the robot behavior to solve the symbol grounding problem, acquire language capabilities, execute goal-oriented behavior, and express a verbal narrative of its own experience in the world. We validate our approach in human-robot interaction experiments with the iCub humanoid robot, showing that the proposed cognitive architecture can be applied in real time within a realistic scenario and that it can be used with naive users.

Journal article

Chang HJ, Fischer T, Petit M, Zambelli M, Demiris Yet al., 2018, Learning kinematic structure correspondences using multi-order similarities, IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Vol: 40, Pages: 2920-2934, ISSN: 0162-8828

We present a novel framework for finding the kinematic structure correspondences between two articulated objects in videos via hypergraph matching. In contrast to appearance and graph alignment based matching methods, which have been applied among two similar static images, the proposed method finds correspondences between two dynamic kinematic structures of heterogeneous objects in videos. Thus our method allows matching the structure of objects which have similar topologies or motions, or a combination of the two. Our main contributions are summarised as follows: (i)casting the kinematic structure correspondence problem into a hypergraph matching problem by incorporating multi-order similarities with normalising weights, (ii)introducing a structural topology similarity measure by aggregating topology constrained subgraph isomorphisms, (iii)measuring kinematic correlations between pairwise nodes, and (iv)proposing a combinatorial local motion similarity measure using geodesic distance on the Riemannian manifold. We demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of our method through a number of experiments on synthetic and real data, showing that various other recent and state of the art methods are outperformed. Our method is not limited to a specific application nor sensor, and can be used as building block in applications such as action recognition, human motion retargeting to robots, and articulated object manipulation.

Journal article

Sarabia M, Young N, Canavan K, Edginton T, Demiris Y, Vizcaychipi MPet al., 2018, Assistive robotic technology to combat social isolation in acute hospital settings, International Journal of Social Robotics, Vol: 10, Pages: 607-620, ISSN: 1875-4791

Social isolation in hospitals is a well established risk factor for complications such as cognitive decline and depression. Assistive robotic technology has the potential to combat this problem, but first it is critical to investigate how hospital patients react to this technology. In order to address this question, we introduced a remotely operated NAO humanoid robot which conversed, made jokes, played music, danced and exercised with patients in a London hospital. In total, 49 patients aged between 18–100 took part in the study, 7 of whom had dementia. Our results show that a majority of patients enjoyed their interaction with NAO. We also found that age and dementia significantly affect the interaction, whereas gender does not. These results indicate that hospital patients enjoy socialising with robots, opening new avenues for future research into the potential health benefits of a social robotic companion.

Journal article

Fischer T, Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2018, RT-GENE: Real-time eye gaze estimation in natural environments, European Conference on Computer Vision, Publisher: Springer Verlag, Pages: 339-357, ISSN: 0302-9743

In this work, we consider the problem of robust gaze estimation in natural environments. Large camera-to-subject distances and high variations in head pose and eye gaze angles are common in such environments. This leads to two main shortfalls in state-of-the-art methods for gaze estimation: hindered ground truth gaze annotation and diminished gaze estimation accuracy as image resolution decreases with distance. We first record a novel dataset of varied gaze and head pose images in a natural environment, addressing the issue of ground truth annotation by measuring head pose using a motion capture system and eye gaze using mobile eyetracking glasses. We apply semantic image inpainting to the area covered by the glasses to bridge the gap between training and testing images by removing the obtrusiveness of the glasses. We also present a new real-time algorithm involving appearance-based deep convolutional neural networks with increased capacity to cope with the diverse images in the new dataset. Experiments with this network architecture are conducted on a number of diverse eye-gaze datasets including our own, and in cross dataset evaluations. We demonstrate state-of-the-art performance in terms of estimation accuracy in all experiments, and the architecture performs well even on lower resolution images.

Conference paper

Nguyen P, Fischer T, Chang HJ, Pattacini U, Metta G, Demiris Yet al., 2018, Transferring visuomotor learning from simulation to the real world for robotics manipulation tasks, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 6667-6674, ISSN: 2153-0866

Hand-eye coordination is a requirement for many manipulation tasks including grasping and reaching. However, accurate hand-eye coordination has shown to be especially difficult to achieve in complex robots like the iCub humanoid. In this work, we solve the hand-eye coordination task using a visuomotor deep neural network predictor that estimates the arm's joint configuration given a stereo image pair of the arm and the underlying head configuration. As there are various unavoidable sources of sensing error on the physical robot, we train the predictor on images obtained from simulation. The images from simulation were modified to look realistic using an image-to-image translation approach. In various experiments, we first show that the visuomotor predictor provides accurate joint estimates of the iCub's hand in simulation. We then show that the predictor can be used to obtain the systematic error of the robot's joint measurements on the physical iCub robot. We demonstrate that a calibrator can be designed to automatically compensate this error. Finally, we validate that this enables accurate reaching of objects while circumventing manual fine-calibration of the robot.

Conference paper

Chacon Quesada R, Demiris Y, 2018, Augmented reality control of smart wheelchair using eye-gaze–enabled selection of affordances,, IROS 2018 Workshop on Robots for Assisted Living

In this paper we present a novel augmented reality head mounted display user interface for controlling a robotic wheelchair for people with limited mobility. To lower the cognitive requirements needed to control the wheelchair, we propose integration of a smart wheelchair with an eye-tracking enabled head-mounted display. We propose a novel platform that integrates multiple user interface interaction methods for aiming at and selecting affordances derived by on-board perception capabilities such as laser-scanner readings and cameras. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach by evaluating our platform in two realistic scenarios: 1) Door detection, where the affordance corresponds to a Door object and the Go-Through action and 2) People detection, where the affordance corresponds to a Person and the Approach action. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a augmented reality head-mounted display user interface for controlling a smart wheelchair.

Conference paper

Goncalves Nunes U, Demiris Y, 2018, 3D motion segmentation of articulated rigid bodies based on RGB-D data, British Machine Vision Conference (BMVC 2018), Publisher: British Machine Vision Association (BMVA)

This paper addresses the problem of motion segmentation of articulated rigid bodiesfrom a single-view RGB-D data sequence. Current methods either perform dense motionsegmentation, and consequently are very computational demanding, or rely on sparse 2Dfeature points, which may not be sufficient to represent the entire scene. In this paper,we advocate the use of 3D semi-dense motion segmentation which also bridges somelimitations of standard 2D methods (e.g. background removal). We cast the 3D motionsegmentation problem into a subspace clustering problem, adding an adaptive spectralclustering that estimates the number of object rigid parts. The resultant method has fewparameters to adjust, takes less time than the temporal length of the scene and requiresno post-processing.

Conference paper

Wang R, Amadori P, Demiris Y, Real-time workload classification during driving using hyperNetworks, International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2018), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2153-0866

Classifying human cognitive states from behavioral and physiological signals is a challenging problem with important applications in robotics. The problem is challenging due to the data variability among individual users, and sensor artifacts. In this work, we propose an end-to-end framework for real-time cognitive workload classification with mixture Hyper Long Short Term Memory Networks (m-HyperLSTM), a novelvariant of HyperNetworks. Evaluating the proposed approach on an eye-gaze pattern dataset collected from simulated driving scenarios of different cognitive demands, we show that the proposed framework outperforms previous baseline methods and achieves 83.9% precision and 87.8% recall during test. We also demonstrate the merit of our proposed architecture by showing improved performance over other LSTM-basedmethods

Conference paper

Kucukyilmaz A, Demiris Y, 2018, Learning shared control by demonstration for personalized wheelchair assistance, IEEE Transactions on Haptics, Vol: 11, Pages: 431-442, ISSN: 1939-1412

An emerging research problem in assistive robotics is the design of methodologies that allow robots to provide personalized assistance to users. For this purpose, we present a method to learn shared control policies from demonstrations offered by a human assistant. We train a Gaussian process (GP) regression model to continuously regulate the level of assistance between the user and the robot, given the user's previous and current actions and the state of the environment. The assistance policy is learned after only a single human demonstration, i.e., in one-shot. Our technique is evaluated in a one-of-a-kind experimental study, where the machine-learned shared control policy is compared to human assistance. Our analyses show that our technique is successful in emulating human shared control, by matching the location and amount of offered assistance on different trajectories. We observed that the effort requirement of the users were comparable between human-robot and human-human settings. Under the learned policy, the jerkiness of the user's joystick movements dropped significantly, despite a significant increase in the jerkiness of the robot assistant's commands. In terms of performance, even though the robotic assistance increased task completion time, the average distance to obstacles stayed in similar ranges to human assistance.

Journal article

Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2018, A computational model for embodied visual perspective taking: from physical movements to mental simulation, Vision Meets Cognition Workshop at CVPR 2018

To understand people and their intentions, humans have developed the ability to imagine their surroundings from another visual point of view. This cognitive ability is called perspective taking and has been shown to be essential in child development and social interactions. However, the precise cognitive mechanisms underlying perspective taking remain to be fully understood. Here we present a computa- tional model that implements perspective taking as a mental simulation of the physical movements required to step into the other point of view. The visual percept after each mental simulation step is estimated using a set of forward models. Based on our experimental results, we propose that a visual attention mechanism explains the response times reported in human visual perspective taking experiments. The model is also able to generate several testable predictions to be explored in further neurophysiological studies.

Conference paper

Elsdon J, Demiris Y, 2018, Augmented reality for feedback in a shared control spraying task, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Pages: 1939-1946, ISSN: 1050-4729

Using industrial robots to spray structures has been investigated extensively, however interesting challenges emerge when using handheld spraying robots. In previous work we have demonstrated the use of shared control of a handheld spraying robot to assist a user in a 3D spraying task. In this paper we demonstrate the use of Augmented Reality Interfaces to increase the user's progress and task awareness. We describe our solutions to challenging calibration issues between the Microsoft Hololens system and a motion capture system without the need for well defined markers or careful alignment on the part of the user. Error relative to the motion capture system was shown to be 10mm after only a 4 second calibration routine. Secondly we outline a logical approach for visualising liquid density for an augmented reality spraying task, this system allows the user to see target regions to complete, areas that are complete and areas that have been overdosed clearly. Finally we produced a user study to investigate the level of assistance that a handheld robot utilising shared control methods should provide during a spraying task. Using a handheld spraying robot with a moving spray head did not aid the user much over simply actuating spray nozzle for them. Compared to manual control the automatic modes significantly reduced the task load experienced by the user and significantly increased the quality of the result of the spraying task, reducing the error by 33-45%.

Conference paper

Cully AHR, Demiris Y, Hierarchical Behavioral Repertoires with Unsupervised Descriptors, Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference 2018, Publisher: ACM

Enabling artificial agents to automatically learn complex, versatile and high-performing behaviors is a long-lasting challenge. This paper presents a step in this direction with hierarchical behavioral repertoires that stack several behavioral repertoires to generate sophisticated behaviors. Each repertoire of this architecture uses the lower repertoires to create complex behaviors as sequences of simpler ones, while only the lowest repertoire directly controls the agent's movements. This paper also introduces a novel approach to automatically define behavioral descriptors thanks to an unsupervised neural network that organizes the produced high-level behaviors. The experiments show that the proposed architecture enables a robot to learn how to draw digits in an unsupervised manner after having learned to draw lines and arcs. Compared to traditional behavioral repertoires, the proposed architecture reduces the dimensionality of the optimization problems by orders of magnitude and provides behaviors with a twice better fitness. More importantly, it enables the transfer of knowledge between robots: a hierarchical repertoire evolved for a robotic arm to draw digits can be transferred to a humanoid robot by simply changing the lowest layer of the hierarchy. This enables the humanoid to draw digits although it has never been trained for this task.

Conference paper

Fischer T, Puigbo J-Y, Camilleri D, Nguyen PDH, Moulin-Frier C, Lallee S, Metta G, Prescott TJ, Demiris Y, Verschure Pet al., 2018, iCub-HRI: A software framework for complex human-robot interaction scenarios on the iCub humanoid robot, Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Vol: 5, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2296-9144

Generating complex, human-like behaviour in a humanoid robot like the iCub requires the integration of a wide range of open source components and a scalable cognitive architecture. Hence, we present the iCub-HRI library which provides convenience wrappers for components related to perception (object recognition, agent tracking, speech recognition, touch detection), object manipulation (basic and complex motor actions) and social interaction (speech synthesis, joint attention) exposed as a C++ library with bindings for Java (allowing to use iCub-HRI within Matlab) and Python. In addition to previously integrated components, the library allows for simple extension to new components and rapid prototyping by adapting to changes in interfaces between components. We also provide a set of modules which make use of the library, such as a high-level knowledge acquisition module and an action recognition module. The proposed architecture has been successfully employed for a complex human-robot interaction scenario involving the acquisition of language capabilities, execution of goal-oriented behaviour and expression of a verbal narrative of the robot's experience in the world. Accompanying this paper is a tutorial which allows a subset of this interaction to be reproduced. The architecture is aimed at researchers familiarising themselves with the iCub ecosystem, as well as expert users, and we expect the library to be widely used in the iCub community.

Journal article

Zhang F, Cully A, Demiris YIANNIS, 2017, Personalized Robot-assisted Dressing using User Modeling in Latent Spaces, 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2153-0866

Robots have the potential to provide tremendous support to disabled and elderly people in their everyday tasks, such as dressing. Many recent studies on robotic dressing assistance usually view dressing as a trajectory planning problem. However, the user movements during the dressing process are rarely taken into account, which often leads to the failures of the planned trajectory and may put the user at risk. The main difficulty of taking user movements into account is caused by severe occlusions created by the robot, the user, and the clothes during the dressing process, which prevent vision sensors from accurately detecting the postures of the user in real time. In this paper, we address this problem by introducing an approach that allows the robot to automatically adapt its motion according to the force applied on the robot's gripper caused by user movements. There are two main contributions introduced in this paper: 1) the use of a hierarchical multi-task control strategy to automatically adapt the robot motion and minimize the force applied between the user and the robot caused by user movements; 2) the online update of the dressing trajectory based on the user movement limitations modeled with the Gaussian Process Latent Variable Model in a latent space, and the density information extracted from such latent space. The combination of these two contributions leads to a personalized dressing assistance that can cope with unpredicted user movements during the dressing while constantly minimizing the force that the robot may apply on the user. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method allows the Baxter humanoid robot to provide personalized dressing assistance for human users with simulated upper-body impairments.

Conference paper

Choi J, Chang HJ, Yun S, Fischer T, Demiris Y, Choi JYet al., 2017, Attentional correlation filter network for adaptive visual tracking, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 1063-6919

We propose a new tracking framework with an attentional mechanism that chooses a subset of the associated correlation filters for increased robustness and computational efficiency. The subset of filters is adaptively selected by a deep attentional network according to the dynamic properties of the tracking target. Our contributions are manifold, and are summarised as follows: (i) Introducing the Attentional Correlation Filter Network which allows adaptive tracking of dynamic targets. (ii) Utilising an attentional network which shifts the attention to the best candidate modules, as well as predicting the estimated accuracy of currently inactive modules. (iii) Enlarging the variety of correlation filters which cover target drift, blurriness, occlusion, scale changes, and flexible aspect ratio. (iv) Validating the robustness and efficiency of the attentional mechanism for visual tracking through a number of experiments. Our method achieves similar performance to non real-time trackers, and state-of-the-art performance amongst real-time trackers.

Conference paper

Yoo YJ, Chang H, Yun S, Demiris Y, Choi JYet al., 2017, Variational autoencoded regression: high dimensional regression of visual data on complex manifold, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 2943-2952

This paper proposes a new high dimensional regression method by merging Gaussian process regression into a variational autoencoder framework. In contrast to other regression methods, the proposed method focuses on the case where output responses are on a complex high dimensional manifold, such as images. Our contributions are summarized as follows: (i) A new regression method estimating high dimensional image responses, which is not handled by existing regression algorithms, is proposed. (ii) The proposed regression method introduces a strategy to learn the latent space as well as the encoder and decoder so that the result of the regressed response in the latent space coincide with the corresponding response in the data space. (iii) The proposed regression is embedded into a generative model, and the whole procedure is developed by the variational autoencoder framework. We demonstrate the robustness and effectiveness of our method through a number of experiments on various visual data regression problems.

Conference paper

Chang HJ, Demiris, 2017, Highly articulated kinematic structure estimation combining motion and skeleton information, IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Vol: 40, Pages: 2165-2179, ISSN: 0162-8828

In this paper, we present a novel framework for unsupervised kinematic structure learning of complex articulated objects from a single-view 2D image sequence. In contrast to prior motion-based methods, which estimate relatively simple articulations, our method can generate arbitrarily complex kinematic structures with skeletal topology via a successive iterative merging strategy. The iterative merge process is guided by a density weighted skeleton map which is generated from a novel object boundary generation method from sparse 2D feature points. Our main contributions can be summarised as follows: (i) An unsupervised complex articulated kinematic structure estimation method that combines motion segments with skeleton information. (ii) An iterative fine-to-coarse merging strategy for adaptive motion segmentation and structural topology embedding. (iii) A skeleton estimation method based on a novel silhouette boundary generation from sparse feature points using an adaptive model selection method. (iv) A new highly articulated object dataset with ground truth annotation. We have verified the effectiveness of our proposed method in terms of computational time and estimation accuracy through rigorous experiments. Our experiments show that the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art methods both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Journal article

Elsdon J, Demiris Y, 2017, Assisted painting of 3D structures using shared control with a hand-held robot, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 4891-4897

Abstract— We present a shared control method of painting3D geometries, using a handheld robot which has a singleautonomously controlled degree of freedom. The user scansthe robot near to the desired painting location, the singlemovement axis moves the spray head to achieve the requiredpaint distribution. A simultaneous simulation of the sprayingprocedure is performed, giving an open loop approximationof the current state of the painting. An online prediction ofthe best path for the spray nozzle actuation is calculated ina receding horizon fashion. This is calculated by producing amap of the paint required in the 2D space defined by nozzleposition on the gantry and the time into the future. A directedgraph then extracts its edge weights from this paint density mapand Dijkstra’s algorithm is then used to find the candidate forthe most effective path. Due to the heavy parallelisation of thisapproach and the majority of the calculations taking place on aGPU we can run the prediction loop in 32.6ms for a predictionhorizon of 1 second, this approach is computationally efficient,outperforming a greedy algorithm. The path chosen by theproposed method on average chooses a path in the top 15%of all paths as calculated by exhaustive testing. This approachenables development of real time path planning for assistedspray painting onto complicated 3D geometries. This methodcould be applied to applications such as assistive painting forpeople with disabilities, or accurate placement of liquid whenlarge scale positioning of the head is too expensive.

Conference paper

Cully AHR, Demiris Y, 2017, Quality and diversity optimization: a unifying modular framework, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Vol: 22, Pages: 245-259, ISSN: 1941-0026

The optimization of functions to find the best solution according to one or several objectives has a central role in many engineering and research fields. Recently, a new family of optimization algorithms, named Quality-Diversity optimization, has been introduced, and contrasts with classic algorithms. Instead of searching for a single solution, Quality-Diversity algorithms are searching for a large collection of both diverse and high-performing solutions. The role of this collection is to cover the range of possible solution types as much as possible, and to contain the best solution for each type. The contribution of this paper is threefold. Firstly, we present a unifying framework of Quality-Diversity optimization algorithms that covers the two main algorithms of this family (Multi-dimensional Archive of Phenotypic Elites and the Novelty Search with Local Competition), and that highlights the large variety of variants that can be investigated within this family. Secondly, we propose algorithms with a new selection mechanism for Quality-Diversity algorithms that outperforms all the algorithms tested in this paper. Lastly, we present a new collection management that overcomes the erosion issues observed when using unstructured collections. These three contributions are supported by extensive experimental comparisons of Quality-Diversity algorithms on three different experimental scenarios.

Journal article

Georgiou T, Demiris Y, 2017, Adaptive user modelling in car racing games using behavioural and physiological data, User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, Vol: 27, Pages: 267-311, ISSN: 1573-1391

Personalised content adaptation has great potential to increase user engagement in video games. Procedural generation of user-tailored content increases the self-motivation of players as they immerse themselves in the virtual world. An adaptive user model is needed to capture the skills of the player and enable automatic game content altering algorithms to fit the individual user. We propose an adaptive user modelling approach using a combination of unobtrusive physiological data to identify strengths and weaknesses in user performance in car racing games. Our system creates user-tailored tracks to improve driving habits and user experience, and to keep engagement at high levels. The user modelling approach adopts concepts from the Trace Theory framework; it uses machine learning to extract features from the user’s physiological data and game-related actions, and cluster them into low level primitives. These primitives are transformed and evaluated into higher level abstractions such as experience, exploration and attention. These abstractions are subsequently used to provide track alteration decisions for the player. Collection of data and feedback from 52 users allowed us to associate key model variables and outcomes to user responses, and to verify that the model provides statistically significant decisions personalised to the individual player. Tailored game content variations between users in our experiments, as well as the correlations with user satisfaction demonstrate that our algorithm is able to automatically incorporate user feedback in subsequent procedural content generation.

Journal article

Georgiou T, Demiris Y, 2017, Personalised Track Design in Car Racing Games, Computational Intelligence and Games, Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2325-4289

Real-time adaptation of computer games’ content tothe users’ skills and abilities can enhance the player’s engagementand immersion. Understanding of the user’s potential whileplaying is of high importance in order to allow the successfulprocedural generation of user-tailored content. We investigatehow player models can be created in car racing games. Our usermodel uses a combination of data from unobtrusive sensors, whilethe user is playing a car racing simulator. It extracts featuresthrough machine learning techniques, which are then used tocomprehend the user’s gameplay, by utilising the educationaltheoretical frameworks of the Concept of Flow and Zone ofProximal Development. The end result is to provide at a nextstage a new track that fits to the user needs, which aids boththe training of the driver and their engagement in the game.In order to validate that the system is designing personalisedtracks, we associated the average performance from 41 usersthat played the game, with the difficulty factor of the generatedtrack. In addition, the variation in paths of the implementedtracks between users provides a good indicator for the suitabilityof the system.

Conference paper

Korkinof D, Demiris Y, 2016, Multi-task and multi-kernel gaussian process dynamical systems, Pattern Recognition, Vol: 66, Pages: 190-201, ISSN: 1873-5142

In this work, we propose a novel method for rectifying damaged motion sequences in an unsupervised manner. In order to achieve maximal accuracy, the proposed model takes advantage of three key properties of the data: their sequential nature, the redundancy that manifests itself among repetitions of the same task, and the potential of knowledge transfer across different tasks. In order to do so, we formulate a factor model consisting of Gaussian Process Dynamical Systems (GPDS), where each factor corresponds to a single basic pattern in time and is able to represent their sequential nature. Factors collectively form a dictionary of fundamental trajectories shared among all sequences, thus able to capture recurrent patterns within the same or across different tasks. We employ variational inference to learn directly from incomplete sequences and perform maximum a-posteriori (MAP) estimates of the missing values. We have evaluated our model with a number of motion datasets, including robotic and human motion capture data. We have compared our approach to well-established methods in the literature in terms of their reconstruction error and our results indicate significant accuracy improvement across different datasets and missing data ratios. Concluding, we investigate the performance benefits of the multi-task learning scenario and how this improvement relates to the extent of component sharing that takes place.

Journal article

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