Ali Shafti

Ali Shafti
Imperial College London | Imperial · Department of Computing & Department of Bioengineering

PhD, MSc, BSc

About

48
Publications
19,228
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314
Citations
Introduction
Ali Shafti is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Brain and Behaviour Laboratory and the Data Science Institute, Imperial College London, where he performs research on human-robot intuitive and explainable collaborative control through human behaviour analytics and human/robot in-the-loop machine learning techniques.

Publications

Publications (48)
Preprint
Full-text available
Intuitive and efficient physical human-robot collaboration relies on the mutual observability of the human and the robot, i.e. the two entities being able to interpret each other's intentions and actions. This is remedied by a myriad of methods involving human sensing or intention decoding, as well as human-robot turn-taking and sequential task pla...
Preprint
Explainability, interpretability and how much they affect human trust in AI systems are ultimately problems of human cognition as much as machine learning, yet the effectiveness of AI recommendations and the trust afforded by end-users are typically not evaluated quantitatively. We developed and validated a general purpose Human-AI interaction para...
Preprint
Eye movements have long been studied as a window into the attentional mechanisms of the human brain and made accessible as novelty style human-machine interfaces. However, not everything that we gaze upon, is something we want to interact with; this is known as the Midas Touch problem for gaze interfaces. To overcome the Midas Touch problem, presen...
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary robotics gives us mechatronic capabilities for augmenting human bodies with extra limbs. However, how our motor control capabilities pose limits on such augmentation is an open question. We developed a Supernumerary Robotic 3rd Thumbs (SR3T) with two degrees-of-freedom controlled by the user’s body to endow them with an extra contralat...
Article
Full-text available
Human behaviors from toolmaking to language are thought to rely on a uniquely evolved capacity for hierarchical action sequencing. Testing this idea will require objective, generalizable methods for measuring the structural complexity of real-world behavior. Here we present a data-driven approach for extracting action grammars from basic ethograms,...
Preprint
Human movement disorders or paralysis lead to the loss of control of muscle activation and thus motor control. Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is an established and safe technique for contracting muscles by stimulating the skin above a muscle to induce its contraction. However, an open challenge remains on how to restore motor abilities to...
Preprint
We have pioneered the Where-You-Look-Is Where-You-Go approach to controlling mobility platforms by decoding how the user looks at the environment to understand where they want to navigate their mobility device. However, many natural eye-movements are not relevant for action intention decoding, only some are, which places a challenge on decoding, th...
Preprint
Assistive and Wearable Robotics have the potential to support humans with different types of motor impairments to become independent and fulfil their activities of daily living successfully. The success of these robot systems, however, relies on the ability to meaningfully decode human action intentions and carry them out appropriately. Neural inte...
Preprint
Full-text available
We wanted to study the ability of our brains and bodies to be augmented by supernumerary robot limbs, here extra fingers. We developed a mechanically highly functional supernumerary robotic 3rd thumb actuator, the SR3T, and interfaced it with human users enabling them to play the piano with 11 fingers. We devised a set of measurement protocols and...
Preprint
Full-text available
The intuitive collaboration of humans and intelligent robots (embodied AI) in the real-world is an essential objective for many desirable applications of robotics. Whilst there is much research regarding explicit communication, we focus on how humans and robots interact implicitly, on motor adaptation level. We present a real-world setup of a human...
Preprint
We present a robotic setup for real-world testing and evaluation of human-robot and human-human collaborative learning. Leveraging the sample-efficiency of the Soft Actor-Critic algorithm, we have implemented a robotic platform able to learn a non-trivial collaborative task with a human partner, without pre-training in simulation, and using only 30...
Preprint
From a young age humans learn to use grammatical principles to hierarchically combine words into sentences. Action grammars is the parallel idea, that there is an underlying set of rules (a "grammar") that govern how we hierarchically combine actions to form new, more complex actions. We introduce the Action Grammar Reinforcement Learning (AG-RL) f...
Preprint
Full-text available
Autonomous driving is a multi-task problem requiring a deep understanding of the visual environment. End-to-end autonomous systems have attracted increasing interest as a method of learning to drive without exhaustively programming behaviours for different driving scenarios. When humans drive, they rely on a finely tuned sensory system which enable...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper describes a novel approach in human-robot interaction driven by ergonomics. With a clear focus on optimising ergonomics, the approach proposed here continuously observes a human user's posture and by invoking appropriate cooperative robot movements, the user's posture is, whenever required, brought back to an ergonomic optimum. Effective...
Preprint
Full-text available
Robotic systems are ever more capable of automation and fulfilment of complex tasks, particularly with reliance on recent advances in intelligent systems, deep learning and artificial intelligence in general. However, as robots and humans come closer together in their interactions, the matter of interpretability, or explainability of robot decision...
Preprint
Full-text available
Assistive robotic systems endeavour to support those with movement disabilities, enabling them to move again and regain functionality. Main issue with these systems is the complexity of their low-level control, and how to translate this to simpler, higher level commands that are easy and intuitive for a human user to interact with. We have created...
Preprint
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) systems are successful in restoring motor function and supporting paralyzed users. Commercially available FES products are open loop, meaning that the system is unable to adapt to changing conditions with the user and their muscles which results in muscle fatigue and poor stimulation protocols. This is becaus...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wearable and Assistive robotics for human grasp support are broadly either tele-operated robotic arms or act through orthotic control of a paralyzed user's hand. Such devices require correct orientation for successful and efficient grasping. In many human-robot assistive settings, the end-user is required to explicitly control the many degrees of f...
Preprint
Wearable robotics bring the opportunity to augment human capability and performance, be it through prosthetics, exoskeletons, or supernumerary robotic limbs. The latter concept allows enhancing human performance and assisting them in daily tasks. An important research question is, however, whether the use of such devices can lead to their eventual...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Visual context plays a crucial role in understanding human visual attention in natural, unconstrained tasks - the objects we look at during everyday tasks provide an indicator of our ongoing attention. Collection, interpretation, and study of visual behaviour in unconstrained environments therefore is necessary, however presents many challenges, re...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Humans process high volumes of visual information to perform everyday tasks. In a reaching task, the brain estimates the distance and position of the object of interest, to reach for it. Having a grasp intention in mind, human eye-movements produce specific relevant patterns. Our Gaze-Contingent Intention Decoding Engine uses eye-movement data and...
Book
Soft and Stiffness-controllable Robotics Solutions for Minimally Invasive Surgery presents the results of a research project funded by the European Commission, STIFF-FLOP: STIFFness controllable Flexible and Learn-able manipulator for surgical Operations. In Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), tools go through narrow openings and manipulate soft or...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper describes a novel approach in human robot interaction driven by ergonomics. The new protocol optimises human-robot relative position and orientation based on human ergonomics. An RGB-D camera is used to calculate and monitor real-time human joint angles and to compute the current ergonomics state. The algorithmic framework identifies cau...
Article
Full-text available
Muscle activity monitoring or Electromyography (EMG) is a useful tool. However, EMG is typically invasive, expensive and difficult to use for untrained users. A possible solution is textile-based surface EMG (sEMG) integrated into clothing as a wearable device. This is, however, challenging due to (i) uncertainties in the electrical properties of c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we present a novel pose estimation and obstacle avoidance approach for tendon-driven multi-segment continuum manipulators moving in dynamic environments. A novel multi-stage implementation of an Extended Kalman Filter is used to estimate the pose of every point along the manipulator's body using only the position information of each...
Chapter
Full-text available
CLAWAR 2016: 19th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and the Support Technologies for Mobile Machines London, UK, 12 –14 September 2016 Edited by: Mohammad O Tokhi ( University of Sheffield, UK), Gurvinder S Virk ( University of Gävle, Sweden) Nowadays, rigid-link manipulators have been extensively used in various industrial a...
Conference Paper
Nowadays, rigid-link manipulators have been extensively used in various industrial applications, such as automotive industry and manufacturing operations. Nonetheless, despite of their precise and well-established position control, rigidlink manipulators sufier from their lack of exibility, especially when operated in cluttered, unknown, dynamic en...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Within the last decade, running has become one of the most popular physical activities in the world. Although the benefits of running are numerous, there is a risk of Running Related Injuries (RRIs) of the lower extremities. Electromyography (EMG) techniques have previously been used to study causes of RRIs, but the complexity of this technology li...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) are a serious risk to workers' health in any work environment, and especially in clinical work places. These disorders are typically the result of prolonged exposure to non-ergonomic postures and the resulting discomfort in the workplace. Thus a continuous assessment of comfort and ergonomics is necessa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The flexibility and dexterity of continuum manipulators in comparison with rigid-link counterparts have become main features behind their recent popularity. Despite of that, the problem of navigation and motion planning for continuum manipulators turns out to be demanding tasks due to the complexity of their flexible structure modelling which in tu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The rigid-link manipulators have been extensively employed in industrial setting nowadays. However, problem arises when such manipulators are assigned to work alongside human or employed in cluttered, complex, and tight environment. Hence, continuum manipulator, with its inherent compliant and flexibility, is preferable in this aspect. In this pape...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Flexible soft and stiffness-controllable surgical manipulators enhance the manoeuvrability of surgical tools during Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), as opposed to conventional rigid laparoscopic instruments. These flexible and soft robotic systems allow bending around organs, navigating through complex anatomical pathways inside the human body and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Laparoscopic surgeons perform precise and time consuming procedures while holding awkward poses in their upper body and arms. There is an ongoing effort to produce robotic tools for laparoscopic surgery that will simplify these tasks and reduce risk of errors to help both the surgeon and the patient. STIFF-FLO P is an ongoing EU FP7 project focusin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Soft, flexible robotic manipulators offer many advantages to Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) compared to using conventional rigid laparoscopic instruments: Soft robots are inherently safe due to the material used for the body structure and their compliant actuation system allowing safe interaction with its soft environment; the flexibility allows...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, a new charging technique for low power zero-crossing based circuit pipeline analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) is presented. The charging current sources are implemented as voltage-controlled current sources in order to charge the sampling capacitors based on the error signal. Using this method, the ADC power consumption is reduced...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
FourByThree is a European project aimed to design, build and test pioneering robotic solutions able to collaborate safely and efficiently with human operators in industrial manufacturing companies. FourByThree is a joint effort of 15 European partners including research centres, industrial and technological companies, and a university. They are located in Spain, Germany, Italy, Finland, Holland and the United Kingdom. The project coordinator is Spain-based research alliance IK4-TEKNIKER. The project started on December 1st, 2014, and will last for 36 months. It has a total budget of 6.9 million euros and is partly funded by the EU within the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 (grant agreement nº 637095).