People at the IAS Laboratory

Senior Members. Research Associates. Research Students. Visiting Research Fellows. Technical Engineers. Alumni.

IAS Senior Members


Professor Andrew Adamatzky.

My research interests concentrate around cellular automata, computing in natural media, parallel algorithms and collective intelligence. My recent contributions to robotics include excitable controllers for robots, self-organized robotic structures, mathematics of collective robotics.

Dr. Mike Ackerman.

With a broad background in mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering, my interests include the design and test of miniature engines, and novel power systems for autonomous systems.


Dr. Brian Carse.

My research interests are in machine learning, evolutionary algorithms, fuzzy control and neural networks.

Dr. Dylan Evans, Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Autonomous Systems.

My research goal is to build robots with various kinds of emotional capacities. This includes giving robots the ability to recognise emotional expressions in humans, and the ability to display behaviours that will be interpreted as emotional expressions by humans. A much more ambitious goal is to incorporate artificial emotions in robot control architectures.

Professor John Greenman.

As a microbiologist I am interested in how bacteria can be employed in microbial fuel cells.

Professor Chris Melhuish, Director and Founding Member.

I am interested in making robot systems which can behave autonomously in an intelligent manner. I am currently working on collective as well as single robot systems, energy autonomy, and bio-inspired systems. (See Our Mission)

Mokhtar Nibouche, My research interests include digital signal processing (speech perception, speech recognition and imaging), reconfigurable computing, bio-inspired systems implementation using FPGAs or/and DSP processors. Other area of interest include cryptography and computer arithmetic.

Dr. Tony Pipe, Deputy Director: Bio-Electronics Group.

The Bio-electronics group has a scope that ranges from applications of electronics to medical systems through to biologically-inspired machine intelligence. Current topics that the group are involved with include; hormone level tracking using microscopic magnets, electroacupuncture, Immunotronics (self-healing VLSI circuits), embedding mammalian brain function in VLSI circuits, implementing evolutionary computation, neural networks and fuzzy systems directly on VLSI circuits, & developing the silicon retina into a visual object recognition system.

Dr. Ana Sendova-Franks, Senior Lecturer in Statistics.

My research interests are in the areas of Social Insects, Mathematical Biology, Biometry, Collective Intelligence and Collective Robotics.

Professor Alan Winfield, Associate Dean (Research) CEMS and Founding Member.

My work is centred on Control and Communications architectures for mobile robots (i.e. the LinuxBot).  Current research has three strands: ad-hoc wireless connected robot swarms; autonomy in space robotics, and provably-stable intelligent control.

Professor Quan Min Zhu, Control Systems.

My research interests are in the field of nonlinear dynamic system modelling, identification and control.



IAS Research Associates



Ioannis Ieropoulos, Energy Autonomy.

My PhD research focuses on the energetic autonomy aspect of artificial agents. The work, which is code-named EcoBot, involves extensive investigation of the Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology as the sole self- sustained power source for the artificial agent.

Sergey Skachek, Smart Table: Massively Parallel Actuator Array Controlled by Non-Linear Medium.

My interests are focused in the areas of non-linear media dynamics, computational physics and mathematical modelling.

Alexander Lenz, Biological Inspired Gaze Stabilisation Algorithms.


In a EPSRC funded project with the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield we are aiming to apply and evaluate novel, biologically inspired algorithms for adaptive control. Our problem of choice is the gaze stabilisation, as achieved by the vestibulo-ocular reflex in animals and humans. The project seeks to characterise and artificially implement (using FPGAs) the distributed plasticity utilised in the biological control systems in order to show fast, precise and complex movements even under the changing dynamics of the oculomotor plant.

Martin Pearson, Biologically Inspired Sensory Control Algorithms.

I am a PhD student employed as a Research Associate on an EPSRC funded project known as Whiskerbot. It is a joint project with the ABRG, based in the University of Sheffield, to develop a neurophysiologically inspired artificial interpretation of the mammalian whisker sensory system. We also intend to explore the possibility of implementing the bio-inspired algorithms directly into hardware using programmable logic devices.


IAS Research Students


James Goodwin, Robotic Architectures and Autonomous Landing Systems.

I am currently a TCS associate working with the IAS lab and SEA (Systems Engineering and Assessment Ltd). My research is in the area of Robotics Architectures, primarily targeting their application to landing on small bodies, such as asteroids and comets. The hypothesis of my research is that a generic architecture may be applied to a wide variety of vehicles from ground rovers to aerial vehicles. Part of the research will also provide guidelines to developing bespoke architecture designs.

Antony Waldock, Self Organising Interpretable Controllers.

Given a task and platform, a human can quickly identify the behaviours required. However, the implementation of individual behaviours and the arbitration between them is a time-consuming and error prone process. This work is investigating how Fuzzy Learning Classifiers can be used to enable a non-programmer to construct individual behaviours and the arbitration between them.

Richard Hollis, Robotic Architectures and Autonomous Landing Systems.

I am currently working on a TCS program with James Goodwin. My research is based around the hardware implementation of both a dynamic systems simulation and the autonomous control systems, of a robotic asteroid lander using the Linuxbots.

Xin Yang, Hardware Biologically Plausible Modelliing of the Periphery Auditory System for Mobile Robotics.

Dr. Julien Nebrini, Collective Robotics.

I study the possibilities of using localised communication alone to let a group of autonomous robots self-organise. The goal is to be able to guarantee the integrity of the swarm, then to make it follow a beacon and finally to control its global shape using local interactions.

Jan Dyre Bjerknes.
Peter Jaeckel.

The ultimate goal is to create the illusion of ‘active listening’ and empathy by means of an emotionally expressive, embodied, humanoid robot head that has the ability of mirroring back the emotions conveyed by a narrator. Inspiration is drawn from established theories in psychotherapy and social psychology as well as recent advances in social robotics and machine vision.

Wenguo Liu.


IAS Visiting Research Fellows


France Cadet.




Dr. Dave Bisset.

My main interests are in the exploitation of robotic and autonomous systems, particularly in the area of domestic and leisure robotics. Previously head of Robotics Research at Dyson Ltd, responsible for the technical design of DC06, now running a successful autonomous systems consultancy (iTechnic Ltd). Research interests lie mainly in the factors influencing the engineering design of robotic systems, and in strategies for achieving total autonomy. I see the development of autonomous robots as a significant challenge, not only in terms of the technology but also in terms of the legal and liability issues, that has the potential to revolutionise how we live our lives.

Dr. Chris Harper, Behaviour Based Safety Systems.

My interest is in the design of dependable and safety critical systems. My PhD (IAS Lab) was concerned with the development of design methodology allowing the use of Behaviour Based Systems in safety related applications. In particular, I am interested in the use of Colony-style Subsumption Architecture as a technology that allows a sound safety argument to be developed for a system, and I believe that ultimately, behaviour-based approaches will prove to be more advantageous to SCS design than current technologies and architectures.

Dr. Andy Levy.

I am Reader in medicine and Hon Consultant in Endocrinology and Medicine at Bristol University and Bristol Royal Infirmary.  In addition to a full clinical commitment my main research field is in Neuroendocrine systems, principally pituitary and hypothalamic function. As part of teaching, I have made a series of training manikins that allow students to practice several important clinical skills without hurting patients. This fits well with the IAS Lab's exploitation of biological systems to inform robotic structures and behaviours, and furthers my interest in building robotic systems to help medical students learn and patients recover.

Dr. Tony Prescott.

I am interested in building embodied (robotic) models of animal nervous systems in order to get an improved understanding of the relationship between brain and behaviour. My research currently focuses on models of action selection (the vertebrate basal ganglia and reticular formation), tactile sensing (the rat whisker system), and visual orienting (the rat superior colliculus). (My Sheffield home-page)

Professor Hiroshi Yokoi.

My interests are; Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, A-Life, Adaptive Systems, Medical Engineering and Self-Organisation.

Dr. Danny Froud.

Simply speaking, I aim to build the Terminator, only more intelligent. Consequently I am currently researching mobile embodied multimodal sensory systems and bio-inspired techniques for integration, interpretation and interaction.


IAS Technical Support Engineers


Chris Bytheway.

Senior technical support engineer for the IAS lab. Specialised in digital - analogue electronic design/simulation, mechanical design and manufacture, PCB design and manufacture, AutoCAD, Web design. Major lab projects include SolarBots, MicroLinuxBot, LinuxBots, U-Bots.

Ian Gilhespy.

Technical engineer for IAS lab. Specialised in digital - analogue electronics and computing. Currently interested in multi-processor, object orientated embedded systems. Major lab projects include DiveBot, LinuxBots and WhiskerBot. WhiskerBot.

Ian Horsfield.

Senior technical expert  for the IAS lab. I have nearly 20 years experience in industrial electronics,  automation and design. My major lab projects include U-Bots, Grey Walter replica Turtles, Millennium Dome robots, I have also contributed to the design of the LinuxBots.

Thanushan Balakrishnan.

Technical support engineer for the Cerebellum project.


IAS Alumni


Dr. Masao Kubo, Multi-Agent Energy Delivery System.

I was a visiting fellow from Japan (National Defence Academy). I was engaged in Multi Agent System and Social Behaviour. The focus of my current work is an attempt at answering the question "How do we design energy system for huge number of robots?"

Dr. Feng Qiao, Artificial Intelligent Controller Design for Nonlinear Systems.

My PhD research direction is intelligent modelling and control, and the research focuses on the applications of artificial intelligent in control systems. The overall aim of this research is to derive an artificial intelligence enhanced adaptive tracking control algorithm for nonlinear dynamic systems with modelling uncertainties, parameter fluctuations and external disturbances. Research interests: fuzzy logic systems, neural networks, nonlinear systems, stochastic systems, Kalman filter, sliding mode control, robust control, adaptive control, system identification, mathematical programming and optimisation, software development.

Matt Studley, Learning Classifier Systems.

I was investigating the use of the machine learning technique 'Learning Classifier Systems' to solve multi-objective problems. Some of these experiments used the Linux Bots. A typical multi-objective problem would be for a robot to learn how to do the most useful work while also keeping its battery levels topped up; it needs to learn that when its battery levels are low, the best thing to do is to recharge them, whereas when it has plenty of power, it should get on with other things!

Samuel Scholes, Brood Sorting in Leptothorax Ants.

I studied Leptothorax albipennis ants with the aim of understanding, recording and quantifying sorting behaviour. We intended to show that the principle of taking an algorithm directly from a real insect source is more effective in creating sorted structures than algorithms that have been non-empirically inspired by insect societies. The behavioural algorithm generated was tested in simulation using our fleet of U-Bot robots.

Dr. Lingzhong Guo.

My research interests were in modelling, analysis and control of nonlinear dynamical systems.

Dr. Ehsan Honary, Underwater Collective Sensing.

My PhD research was about investigating the possibility of sampling underwater currents and trajectory mapping using collective robotics. My research introduces a novel method of estimating the position of a flock of buoys with high-resolution accuracy and hence the ability to profile underwater currents using Flock Distortion Algorithms developed as part of my research.

Dr. Jacob Hurst, Evolutionary Computing.

Both my PhD and postdoctoral research was carried out within a learning classifier system (LCS) framework based on mobile robotic platforms. This framework utilises reinforcement and evolutionary learning technologies. I have been particularly interested in extending the LCS framework to continuous state action spaces and also integrating neural computation methodologies.

Dr. Yichuang Jin, Stable Adaptive Controllers.

Ian Mudie, 3D Formation Control.

It was my contention that it is possible to develop a set of algorithms, that allow an unknown quantity of autonomous agents to manoeuvre into a defined formation, and attempt to remain in position despite external perturbation.

Dr. Mark Randall, Adaptive Neuro-Control of Walking Robots.

Dr. Charlie Sullivan, Evolutionary Learning.

Simon Tansey, Autonomous Guided Vehicles.

Jason Welsby, Collective Robotics.

My main research interests were autonomous aerial robots (aerobots). I have built our second generation of aerobots which have a significant increase in functionality over our first generation. The aerobots will be used to study collective movement of a group in three dimensions.

Dr. Jan Wessnitzer, Self-Organisation.

My research focused on structural self-organisation in wireless networks of mobile robots. In particular, distributed strategies for coherent global motion (formation and swarming), sensing and decision-making through strictly local exchange of state information are investigated.

Dr. Matt Wilson, Autonomous Collection and Sorting.

This study was based on experiments conducted in a robot system. The physical experimental system is inspired by studies conducted on Leptothorax ant colonies. The rules and robots employed aim to be as simple as conceivably possible to accomplish the desired object clustering and segregation tasks.

Will Wray, Adaptive Neuro-Control


IAS Former Research Staff


Owen Holland, University of Essex Behaviour Based Robotics.

Dr. Ian Kelly, Energetic Autonomy.

At the IAS lab I was involved with the Slugbot project which was the initial step towards self-sustainability in artificial agents. 

Professor David McFarland, Animal Robotics.

As a zoologist I was actively involved with the Slugbot and Ecobot projects as part of the energy autonomy research. My primary interest was with the Divebot project which I supervised.



IAS Lab Team 2005