Frontier of
Embodiment Informatics:
ICT and Robotics

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Wataru MASUDA

Portrait Visiting period July 2016 to September 2017
Visiting university Plymouth University
Visiting country and region Plymouth, UK

Content of the study program

I stayed in Plymouth, which is in southwest England, for about two months and studied autonomous robots that can follow human instructions. I collected data using a humanoid robot named Baxter, which Plymouth University possesses, as well as joined weekly meetings.

Study results

The robot executed cleaning tasks by direct teaching. My project involved collecting raw image data and values of arm joint angles as training time series data for machine learning. Not only raw image data, but also centre of gravity and areas of colour objects were collected online utilising a Python module. My research contributed to autonomous motion planning, which will be realised by predictive learning of the relationship between image data and the values of arm joint angles with a recurrent neural network, a type of the machine learning model. In addition, I presented my research plan and received feedback from PhD students in the final week.

My experience abroad

I was worried about everything that was a first for me. However, members of the laboratory and my host family were really kind to me, and I had a wonderful experience. I met people of various nationalities, many of whom English was not their first language. Almost everyone I met could speak English fluently in daily conversation. Hence, I felt self-conscience about my lack of English skills. Regardless, I was comfortable because the weather was very nice, the places were beautiful, and the people were open-minded.

Influence on my future career

Although I am not hesitant to speak English, I think my English skills are insufficient for smooth communications. I would like to pursue other opportunities to go abroad, and this experience will be helpful.