FS-FSF22-Helge-Wurdemann-7Helge A Wurdemann, Dipl.-Ing., PhD
Professor and Chair of Robotics
Turing Fellow
Co-General Chair of ICRA 2023
UCL Mechanical Engineering
University College London (UCL)

I am a roboticist and Associate Professor of Robotics. My research interests include the creation of medical and haptic devices as well as robotic art. Meet the Team!

Short bio: I am a roboticist and Professor of Robotics leading research on soft haptics and robotics at UCL Mechanical Engineering. I am also Co-Director of the Intelligent Mobility at UCL (IM@UCL) lab, a full-size driving simulator. My Soft Haptics group focuses on the hardware design and application of soft material robotic systems that have the ability to change their shape and stiffness on demand bridging the gap between traditional rigid and entirely soft robots. I create and embed innovative stiffness-controllable mechanisms as well as combine advanced Artificial Intelligence with control strategies in robotic prototypes emerging from my lab.

I have authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers (see Google scholar). The majority of my papers are published in top journals of the field, including top transactions and journals of the IEEE and ASME, and in proceedings of leading international conferences. As Associate Editor for prestigious robotics conferences (ICRA and IROS) and Associate VP within the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Conference Activities Board, I have been contributing to and leading activities for the major robotics community in the world. So far, I have been invited to deliver over 50 invited (keynote) talks, notably, at the launch of the soft robotics programme by the German Research Foundation, Digital Catapult, Fifteen Seconds Festival and at many highly-ranked university (e.g., ETH, Switzerland, Imperial College London, UK). I have been (co-)organiser of 20 conferences, workshops and symposia (e.g., workshops at ICRA, IROS, and the Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics) in the field of robotics. Currently, I am Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, member of the IET Robotics and Mechatronics TPN Executive Board, and Co-General Chair of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2023, the premium robotics conference, which will be hosted for the first time in the UK.

Logo-05in the latest UCL Engineering Disruptive Thinkers video series

Research summary: My research interest focuses on the hardware design and application of soft material robotic systems that have the ability to change their shape and stiffness on demand bridging the gap between traditional rigid and entirely soft robots. I create and embed innovative stiffness-controllable mechanisms as well as combine advanced Artificial Intelligence with control strategies in robotic prototypes emerging from my lab. This field of robotics is a truly multidisciplinary engineering subject as it requires knowledge in, e.g., material science, design and manufacturing, electrical and electronic engineering as well as computer science. My research is application-driven and informed by close collaboration with experts from, e.g., transport engineering, medicine and industrial sectors: In the area of minimally invasive interventions, I explore novel flexible tools for colo-rectal and abdominal surgery, haptic feedback actuators to support margin control in robotic surgery and data from valvuloplasty balloons to overcome current shortcomings in transcatheter aortic valve implantation. For industrial application, I develop a new generation of collaborative robots that have variable stiffness links and are inherently safe to work closely together with the human. In the field of autonomous vehicles, I build a soft, stiffness-controllable and shape-changing driving seat to guide the driver in a safe way when changing between different levels of autonomy.