Angus Clark

PhD Student, Robotic Manipulation

Hi! I’m Angus Clark, a PhD Student at Imperial College London specialising in Robotic Manipulation. Welome to my website, where you can find everything about me from my educational background and my publications to my hobbies and what I enjoy doing in my spare time. Looking to get in touch? Exciting opportunities, collaborations, or even just looking for more information, you can find all my contact information at the bottom of this page. Or, if you want to skip to the details, you can find my CV below:

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Latest publications:

Stiffness-Tuneable Limb Segment with Flexible Spine for Malleable Robots

Assessing the Performance of Variable Stiffness Continuum Structures of Large Diameter

Education.

  • 2017-2021

    PhD Design Engineering in Robotic Manipulation,
    Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London, UK

    In 2017 I started to study for a PhD in robotics, specifically focused on designing improved robot graspers and manipulators. My area of research considers variable stiffness methods and how they can benefit robotics.

  • 2013-2017

    MEng Mechanical Engineering
    with Mechatronics,
    University of Southampton, UK

    For my degree, I studied an integrated Masters in Mechanical Engineering specialising in Mechatronics giving myself a strong background for robotics. I partook in a number of projects, including designing a one of a kind 3D printer, a volumetric scanning process, and an Autonomous Turtle-like AUV.

  • 2006-2013

    Highschool and 6th Form College,
    Glyn Technology School, Epsom, UK

    At Glyn Technology School I studied from year 7 to year 13, completing my GCSEs and my A Levels - Maths (A*), Further Maths (A), Chemistry (B), Physics (B) - which allowed me to study Engineering at University. I also took part in Young Enterprise, winning an award for best use of technology, and completed an Extended Project in Hydrogen Fuel Cells.

Research.

Malleable Robotics

Variable stiffness robotics that are capable of adaptable topology, providing increased performance over similar rigid robotics.

Malleable robotics is my personal area of robotics, where variable stiffness allows for an adaptable robot, capable of having both soft and rigid advantages at will. Specific uses cases include medical robotics and grippers, where soft robots can navigate to desired locations, and through variable stiffness can adapt and while rigid perform the required task. Taking this technology to industrial robotics, variable stiffness can be applied to allow robots to adapt in topology, increasing and/or changing the overall workspace of the robot, without increasing the complexity of the control architecture with increased degrees of freedom. Further, the reduction in joints allows for cheaper, simple, and lighter robotics, which is a specific advantage for robotics destined for the space industry.

Robotic Graspers

A robot arm is no use without an end effector, which are very task dependent, providing a unique opportunity for problem solving and optimisation.

In many robotic applications robots interact with environment, specifically in environments designed for humans where robots must deal with day-to-day tasks that while we find easy, can be challenging for robots. The vast variety of tasks that need to be overcome to allow robots to excel in different industries allows for the design of multiple types of grippers, all providing different advantages for different use cases. Where soft or rigid, multi-fingered or singular design, fully-contained or externally powered, microscopic or macro, there is a gripper for every task. The recent expansion of grippers in the world of soft robotics has produced adaptable grippers, capable of handling varying objects with ease. This specific area of robotics is of interest, as the simplicity of design with increased capability is highly desirable.

Disaster Robotics

When disaster strikes, such as earthquakes or floods, robots are a critical element in providing aid and information where it is needed.

In controlled environments, robots excel at performing complicated tasks. However, in the event of a disaster, the environment is anything but controlled, providing a significant challenge for robots to overcome. Not only must the robots be reliable in performance, they must also be efficient in their capability. For example, in the case of rescue robotics, robots must get to victims quickly and safely, and provide the care needed without causing further harm to the person. In such cases, time is critical, further complicating the task of the robot. This substantial challenge has so far produced some incredible and innovative designs, and as such is a very interesting field to work in. Further, the simple but important aim of the robots allows for a very specific goal-driven design focus.

Exoskeletons and Prosthetics

Exoskeletons are a facinating area of research dedicated to providing a better quality of life for those less fortunate through technological innovations.

Exoskeletons and prosthetics, both medical applications of robotics, are challenged with the comparison to existing, or pre-existing capability provided by human limbs, be it arms, hands, or legs. Thus, they have a significant challenge to overcome, however any and all progress made is an improvement upon the loss of a limb or capability. Like bio-inspired robotics, we must look towards the exact properties of the human body, and attempt to replicate those in robotics, at the same time as providing an aesthetically pleasing device similar in form, function, weight, and feel to our own body. Taking this one step further, exoskeletons aim to improve upon our own human limitations, increasing our strength, providing safety in joint limitations, and increasing our stamina.

I am really interested in aid-providing robotics, such as exoskeletons, robotic limbs, and hazardous environment robotics.

Hazardous Environment Research

In the case of radiation or high voltage, humans require robots for performing tasks in dangerous environments where harm could easily occur.

Robots have an important role to play in their use in Hazardous Environments, due to their robustness and ability to endure significantly harsher conditions than humans are capable of. Areas of use range from distaster relief, providing search and rescue in post earthquake or tsunami conditions, or providing rapid mapping capabilities spanning thousands of miles helping locate missing persons, to extreme conditions such as high voltage, radiation, or temperature, where manipulation for performing tasks in such areas is required. Robots can provide an advanced level of interaction with the environment, allowing us to extend our capabilities past our own limitations.

Publications.

Stiffness-Tuneable Limb Segment with Flexible Spine for Malleable Robots

International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2019

This paper presents a new multi-material spine-inspired flexible structure for providing support in stiffness-controllable layer jamming-based robotic links of large diameter. The proposed spine mechanism is highly movable with type and range of motions that match those of a robotic link using solely layer jamming, whilst maintaining a hollow and light structure.

Read the article

Assessing the Performance of Variable Stiffness Continuum Structures of Large Diameter

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 2019

Variable stiffness continuum structures of large diameter are suitable for high-capability robots, such as in industrial practices where high loads and human-robot interaction are expected. This paper presents five individual qualities that can be experimentally quantified to establish the overall performance capability of a design with respect to its use as a variable stiffness continuum manipulator.

Read the article

Teaching.

Contact.

psacet@hotmail.co.uk skype: angus.clark3 +44 07961 610316
  • REDS Lab,
  • Dyson Building,
  • Dyson School of Design Engineering,
  • Imperial College London
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