Congratulations (Dr.) João Moura for his successful PhD Defence

Title: Controlling and Learning Constrained Motions for Manipulation in Contact

Congratulations to João Moura for successfully passing his PhD viva on the 8th February 2021. His thesis is entitled “Controlling and Learning Constrained Motions for Manipulation in Contact”.


Short abstract: 

In contrast with many robotic applications where the environment poses an obstacle to the robot, in some scenarios we require the robot to be in contact with it while executing a desired motion. That interaction imposes a constraint to the robot motion and, therefore, the robot needs to be able to explicitly handle that contact interaction when controlling its motion or when learning it from demonstration. My thesis focuses on studying constrained manipulation motions. The three main topics covered are: modelling the dynamics of a rigid-body robot subject to task-based constraints; controlling a train cab front cleaning robot for wiping an uneven surface with unknown geometry; and finally learning underlying motion policies, given a set of demonstrations performed under different constraints. 


João’s examiners were:

Dr. Matthew Howard, King’s College London (external)

Dr. Matthew Dunnigan, Heriot-Watt University (internal)