FRC Seminar: Michael Milford
RatSLAM: Using Models of Rodent Hippocampus for Robot Navigation
Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology
May 09, 2012, 11:00am, GHC2109
The brain circuitry involved in encoding space in rodents has been extensively tested over the past thirty years, with an ever increasing body of knowledge about the components and wiring involved in navigation tasks. The learning and recall of spatial features is known to take place in and around the hippocampus of the rodent, where there is clear evidence of cells that encode the rodent's position and heading. RatSLAM is a robotic navigation system based on current models of the rodent hippocampus. RatSLAM has achieved several significant outcomes in the robot Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) field, including mapping of the largest environment using only a low cost webcam, and navigation continuously over a period of two weeks in a delivery robot experiment. These results showed for the first time that a biologically inspired mapping system could compete with or surpass the performance of conventional probabilistic robot mapping systems. The work has also led to recent experiments demonstrating that impressive feats of vision-based navigation can be achieved at any time of day or night, during any weather, and in any season using visual images as small as 2 pixels in size. I will discuss the insights from this research, as well as current and future areas of study with the aim of stimulating discussion and collaboration.
I hold a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Queensland, awarded in 2006 and 2002 respectively. I recently joined the Queensland University of Technology as Lecturer, having previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at QUT and before that for three years as a Research Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute and in the Robotics Laboratory at the University of Queensland. My research interests include Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping, vision-based navigation, cognitive modelling of the rodent hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, biologically inspired robot navigation and computer vision. I have just commenced a fellowship on a project on enabling visual navigation for "sunny summer days and stormy winter nights", and am also running a project on Brain-based Sensor Fusion for Navigating Robots.