Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

My day job

My book was published in 2011, visit its website.

PhD student topics

Right now I'm looking for PhD students to work on any of the following questions (or related):

  • Visual simulators. If we create robots that see, how can we test their operation under all viewing conditions? What do we couple high fidelity virtual worlds to robot controllers, and how do we evaluate robot performance?
  • New camera technologies, how can we create better cameras? Can we do awesome things with existing cheap cameras (like this), can we combine large numbers of cheap cameras to synthesise one really good camera, can we use light-field cameras (eg. Lytro) since current projective cameras miss most of the light fied, can we use night-vision technology, how do we improve the colour accuracy of cameras to allow for better classification of objects and shadows in the world.
  • How do we reduce the energy consumption of a robot vision system? Do we need to pay attention to all the pixels all the time, or can we somehow pay attention to the important stuff? Could we create the equivalent of an operating system, a vision operating system, that allocates "attention" according to the task at hand?
  • Why do cameras have to be connected by cables to robots? Why not wireless cameras? How do we manage the bandwidth, how do we split computation between the camera, the robot and the cloud? Can a robot look around corners by finding cameras around the corner that it could use?
  • Imagine a world with lots of cameras, on a robot doing a job, on other robots, builtin in to the walls and ceilings. Given a job that needs hand-eye coordination what are the best cameras to help with the task? How does we discover the best camera(s) needed to do the job? How is that visual information used to control motion and where is it processed? How do we know when the task is done?
  • Very-close quarters flying, can we fly multi rotor aircraft through ventilation ducts, chimneys and shafts using just a sense of vision?

If you are thinking about applying you can find details about admission to QUT here. For:

  • Australian students there is no tuition fee, but you need a living allowing. You are eligible to apply for a scholarship, the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). These are quite competitive, based on your GPA, but with extra points for research (eg. a Masters degree by research, and/or publication of a research paper).
  • Overseas students you need to pay a tuition fee (~AUD25k/year) and show you have a living allowance (~AUD25k/year). You can apply for a scholarship that would cover tuition as well a living allowance. These are limited in number and very competitive, based on your grades, but with extra points for research (eg. a Masters degree by research, and/or publication of a research paper).

My students

  • Obadiah Lam is working on smart/robust text reading for mobile robots
  • Will Chamberlain is working on middle for robotic vision systems
  • John Skinner is working on using photorealistic computer graphics to help create better vision systems
  • Fangyi Zhang is working on deep reinforcement learning for visual robot control
  • Dan Richards is working on ultra low light imaging for robotic navigation
  • Dorian Tsai is working on light field imaging for low-light imaging and specularity removal
  • Peter Kujala is working on ultra high speed hand-eye coordination
  • Steve Martin is working on planning and control for very high speed driving.


Past students and theses:

Erdos number

My Erdos number is no more than 3. The paths that I know about are:
  • Erdos -> Mark Goldberg -> Seyit Camtepe -> me (QUT path)
  • Erdos -> Subbarao -> Vidyasagar -> (Spong|Hutchinson) -> me (Illinois path)
  • Erdos -> Noga Alon -> Erik Demain -> Daniela Rus -> me (MIT path)


Some things I worked on in 2013

Some things I worked on in 2012

Some things I worked on 2011

Getting my book out the door, the writing is over, now its the code and the web site (stay tuned)

Some things I worked on 2010



I've been working on two MOOCs: Introduction to Robotics, and Robotic Vision. They kick off 16 Feb 2015. More details and registration are here.

What do I do?

I am interested in how robots can use the sense of vision to accomplish a broad range of tasks. These might range from recognizing places or text in the world to dynamic tasks. An example of a visual dynamic task is something like hand-eye coordination, and for a robot it might be visual control of flying or driving or manipulation of objects.

Why vision? Nature has invented the eye ten different times so it must be an effective sensor for doing a diverse range of tasks. Vision sensors and computing power are getting cheaper and cheaper. Now is the time to be doing vision for robotics!

We have just started a new research centre in this area, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision, more details at




I teach "Introduction to Robotics" (ENB339) and have also taught "Advanced Robotics" (ENB439) and "Advanced Control" (ENB458).

Brief bio

I joined Queensland University of Technology at the start of 2010 as a Professor of Robotic Vision. I'm now also director of the ARC funded Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision. I'm known for my research in vision-based robot control, field robotics and wireless sensor networks. I received a B.Eng and M.Eng.Sc. degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, and a PhD in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, all from the University of Melbourne.

Prior to QUT I was a senior principal research scientist at CSIRO where I founded the Autonomous Systems laboratory, a 50-person team undertaking research in mining, ground, aerial and underwater robotics, as well as sensor networks. I subsequently led a major cross-organizational "capability platform" in wireless sensor networks.

More bio on my QUT profile page, Wikipedia  or my full Vitae (PDF).

See also my YouTube channel, or follow me on Google+ or LinkedIn (sorry, I won't accept invitations unless we've actually met).


School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Queensland University of Technology
Gardens Point, S Block 1127
Street: 2 George Street, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA 4000
Postal: PO Box 2434, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA 4001
phone: + 61 7 3138 1794
fax: + 61 7 3138 1469

Professional and Group Associations

Scientific Community Service

Things I'm working on this year


I post a bit on Google+.

Very occasional blog

New ARC Centre of Excellence
QUT is leading a new ARC Centre of Excellence in Robotic Vision, with partners U. Adelaide, ANU and Monash.  Overseas partners are Oxford, Imperial, ETH, INRIA and Georgia Tech.  Some details on the round can be found on the ARC website
FSR2013 is over
IMG_1284.JPGWe've just finished hosting a very successful Field and Service Robotics Conference here at QUT, jointly organised with CSIRO.  We held the meeting in the forum, in the round, with the presenter in the middle surrounded by the audience.  It worked really well.   The next meeting in this series will be June 2015 in Toronto.
Summer school in Santiago
P1030869.JPG Last week I was fortunate to be invited to present some lectures at the IEEE RAS summer school on Robot Vision and Applications  Left to right: Radu Rusu, myself, Andy Davison and Omar Daud (postdoc) at Omar's favourite restaurant.
_dsc1417.jpg I gave a talk last week in the Innovation series and tried to bring together some ideas about robots and big picture problems such as population, dependency ratio and climate change.  Here is the video and a PDF of the presentation
IMG_0833.JPG I'm at the annual panel of editors meeting (my third).  It's a gathering of the editors-in-chief of all IEEE transaction and magazine as well as the IEEE editorial, production and other staff. Interesting things happening in the area of open access, new style journals, improved versions of Xplore and plenty more.