Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics - CCNR

be.AI - Projects

Learn more about our Leverhulme Scholars and their research projects.

Cohort 1

Ben Evans (School of Media, Arts, and Humanities)  Photo of Ben Evans

Project title: Predictive theories of mind and human-technology interaction

Supervisors: Prof Andy Clark, Dr Beatrice Fazi

Project description:
I use new theories of cognition and brain function like Active Inference, along with other frameworks from philosophy of cognitive science, to try and better understand how human agents interact with, and are impacted by, technology and their material environments. The project is concerned with questions about mental health and wellbeing, the ethics of design and implementation, and with how best to conceptualize new developments in how technology is used, such as in the case of ambient smart environments or virtual reality. Overall, the aim of the project is to show how approaches utilizing new theoretical frameworks can provide new and useful answers to pressing questions about human-technology interaction.

Amany Azevedo Amin (School of Engineering and Informatics) Portrait photograph of Amany Amin

Project title: Multi-Robot Visual Navigation through Insect-Inspired Strategies

Supervisors: Prof Andy Philippides, Prof Paul Graham

Project description:
I am fascinated by how solutions present in biology can inspire and enhance robotics. The main topic of my research is visual navigation. For this, I draw from how animals with small brains (e.g. the desert ant) excel in this field despite limited neural resources. I am currently developing robust insect-inspired navigational strategies for single robots. I am interested in the form of navigational movements, particularly learning routes and search patterns and how these are influenced by bodies and environments.  Drawing further inspiration from the animal kingdom, where many members exhibit communication and collaboration, I aim to extend application to navigational tasks which require, or are enhanced by, multiple agents.

Steve Symons (School of Media, Arts and Humanities) Portrait photograph of Steve Symons

Project title: Creating entangled instruments: exploring enaction in participatory digital music making environments

Supervisors: Prof Thor Magnusson, Prof Alice Eldridge, Dr Chris Kiefer

Project description:
Collective music making is possibly one of humanity’s oldest socially binding acts. My research explores how technologically mediated social entanglement can create similarly heightened mutual experiences. Imagine someone walking with a dog on a lead. You could perceive this as a hybrid agent emerging from the lead’s entangling of two quite autonomous individuals. I am interested in the affect on participants when such entanglements are used to create human-human, or human-technology, musical experiences where authorship is intrinsically co-dependent. Ultimately the project seeks to explore what creative role and subsequent designs technological agents might have within such intimately collaborative environments.

Anindya Ghosh (School of Engineering and Informatics) Portrait photograph of Anindya Ghosh

Project title: Building bio-mimetic algorithms by injecting function into brain models

Supervisors: Dr James Knight, Prof Thomas Nowotny

Project description:
Drawing inspiration from biology, my work pertains to building neuromorphic models that can then be used to enhance robotics. My current muses are insects that can perform seemingly elaborate processes with limited compute. As such, I am using computational neuroscience methods to build robust insect-inspired (e.g., locusts and hoverflies) robotic solutions in the areas of obstacle avoidance and target tracking. I aim to extend my research by investigating mammalian hippocampal processes to create bio-mimetic algorithms that can augment navigational strategies used in robotics.

Eira Watts Moore (School of Life Sciences) Portrait photograph of Eira Watts Moore

Project title: Individual differences in spectral processing: nature or nurture

Supervisors: Prof Tom Baden and Prof Jenny Bosten

Project description:
We know that how humans perceive colour can differ from person to person, but we don’t yet know how, why or if the same is true for other species. Unpublished work from the Baden lab suggests that there is a considerable degree of individual variation in the representation of colour in the zebrafish brain. But is this variation the result of true differences between individuals (interindividual variation) or the result of variation within each individual over time (intraindividual variation)? The aims of this project are to understand what leads to these observed differences in the representation of colour in zebrafish, if there are genetic and environmental influences, and to determine where in the visual system these differences are processed.