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SLMC welcomes two new PhD students

Two new PhD students join the team in Edinburgh

A big welcome to our latest PhD students! We asked our new students to tell us a little but more about themselves.....

 

Marina Aoyama

Marina Aoyama
Marina Aoyama

"I am a new PhD student in robotics in Prof. Sethu Vijayakumar's lab. I have been passionate about robots since I was a child and made my first wooden robot when I was five years old. In high school, together with my friend, I built a bipedal microrobot that could dance to music and perform plays, and we won first place in the performance category of the international micro robot competition. For my high school final year project, I conducted an experiment to compare the effectiveness of therapy dogs and the therapeutic robot seal in reducing stress levels of high school students.

Since I believe that designing robots requires the integration of various technologies such as vision systems, motor control, learning ability, hardware design and usability, I did my undergraduate in Computer Science with Robotics at King’s College London where I could learn robotics from both hardware and software perspectives. Through my undergraduate studies, robotics projects and internships, I realised that with more mobility and flexibility of robots, we can benefit more from robots in industry, at home and in nursing care. Furthermore, if we can develop robots that can be easily taught by the users and can communicate with humans to understand each other, robots will become more accessible to those who need them. In my PhD, I want to study the efficient and effortless transfer of dynamic motor control skills from humans to robots. My ultimate goal is to develop robots that can be tailored to individual needs without the need for special skills, and to make them affordable and accessible to everyone so that they become part of our work, home and life.

Outside of my studies, I was on the cheerleading team at high school and university, and recently I enjoy playing badminton with my friends. I love dogs and my happiest moments are when I am playing with them. During my time at university, I enjoyed volunteering at the Saturday school for Japanese children in London to help them learn Japanese and Japanese culture."

 

Ruaridh Mon-Williams

Ruaridh Mon-Williams
Ruaridh Mon-Williams

"I am doing a PhD in human-robot collaboration at Edinburgh where I am fortunate to be advice by Professor Sethu Vijayakumar and Professor Subramanian Ramamoorthy. My interests lie at the intersection of game theory, control theory, machine learning and robotics. In my research I am exploring reducing policy uncertainty in interactions with humans.

I previously studied mechanical engineering at Edinburgh University with a year at UC Berkeley. I’ve been involved in several projects from autonomously steering a toy vehicle around a track, to several machine learning projects at Procter & Gamble, to a data science project for the NHS.

Outside academia I have many interests from salsa dancing to yoga. I am also an avid runner and cyclist and love spending time in the Scottish Highlands running up Munros."