Research
Major achievements


LARSyS's main achievements in the period 2008-2012 are described in the following paragraphs in terms of our ten Laboratories/groups.

Main achievements in the area of Intelligent Robots and Systems include: search & rescue robot RAPOSA, used by Civil Protection in training operations (2008); decentralized estimation of the 6 DoF full-order state vector of a N-vehicle formation (2008); Implementation of motion planning methodologies installed in ITER, France (2008-2011); Design and development of the patented RIOL robot, moving on suspended cables (2009), as well as of the ISR-Cobot platform for research on symbiotic interaction with humans (2011); Novel results on robot task modeling and performance analysis based on Stochastic Petri nets (2012).

In the area of Signal and Image Processing a new result on spectrally optimal estimation of matrices with incomplete entries was proposed to solve 3D object reconstruction from images. It received the “DoCoMo USA Labs Innovative Paper Award” (best paper award IEEE-ICIP-2008). In addition, a new method to localize moving targets in a sensor networks received IBM (Portugal) Science Prize 2012. In Norway we successfully deployed an underwater computer network with 5 nodes connected by acoustic devices. Also through image processing techniques, we constructed new tools for Alzheimer’s early detection, skin cancer and carotid atherosclerotic plaque measuring.

Main practical achievements in the area of Dynamic Systems and Ocean Robotics include the development and testing of: an autonomous quadrotor for the inspection of critical infrastructures; an integrated Ultra Short Baseline (USBL) and Inertial Navigation System (INS); a fleet of three autonomous marine vehicles, MEDUSA, for cooperative missions at sea; an integrated system for assisted diving operations. In addition, theoretical achievements include: novel multiple-model adaptive control and estimation architectures; cooperative control of unmanned air and marine vehicles; advanced image-based rotorcraft controllers; nonlinear attitude estimation systems; optimal acoustic sensor placement algorithms.

Achievements in the area of Evolutionary Systems and Biomedical Engineering include: simulation of biological systems; Bio-inspired Optimization; Neuro-Feedback; Advanced Diagnosis of Sleep Disorders; Functional Neuroimaging, in collaboration with the Centre d’Imagerie Biomédicale of EPFL.

Main achievements in Computer and Robot Vision (i.e., at VisLab) are the participation in the development of the iCub, the most sophisticated humanoid robot worldwide. Theoretical contributions concerning multidisciplinary research in computational neuroscience and robotics include models for the mirror neurons, object affordances in grasping and manipulation, cognitive systems and learning. This research has been partially conducted in the context of joint doctoral programs with EPFL. Among other European collaborations (about 2.5M€ in competitive funding), the ROBOSOM project was ranked first amongst all projects submitted to the IST-Call 4 on Cognitive Systems (~120 projects).

In the area of Interactive Technologies, M-ITI´s main achievements include evaluating long-term user experiences, measuring the dynamics of remembered experiences, forms of haptic broadcasting, eyes-free approaches to motion, interactive-software developments and virtual reality for extremity rehabilitation. M-ITI won the FP7 call for the ERAChairs pilot Horizon 2020 program which involves funding of 2,35M€ to attract faculty and setup labs and other support resources to develop the level of excellence required to successfully compete internationally. The proposal was ranked in the top 5 of European convergence regions.

In the area of Industrial Ecology and Sustainability a network of Asian cities metabolism was quantified by modeling their material flows consumption and correlating it with the economic sectors that were responsible for their consumption. It has involved a major contract by the Asian Development Bank in a partnership with the Interamerican Development Bank. A strategic plan for the development of the major cities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was also developed, including waste, energy and water dimensions of their metabolism. In addition, at a national level, the group was responsible to coordinate the Portuguese strategy for urban waste management, PERSU 2020.

In the area of Thermofluids, Combustion and Energy Systems experimental techniques were developed to allow characterizing the processes occurring in the region immediately adjacent to the interface between phases (2012). The experiments performed included the measurement of multiphase flow quantities, using Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF), high-speed thermography. In addition, new burners design have been established making use of mathematical models and experimental setups used to evaluate the burning of liquid, gaseous and burning gun-powder under unsteady flowfields. It has involved the design of new burners for water-heater units with Bosch ThermoTecnologia- Portugal.

In the area of Technology Policy and Management a new set of data was explored for the period 1970-2010 in Portugal. It provides a dynamic approach to the cumulative process of building knowledge-based societies. The results show the need to consider the co-evolution of brain gain, brain drain and brain circulation over time and space. In addition, changing patterns of industrial production at a world level have need analyzed in terms of shaping factors for technical change and related impacts on skilled employment and advanced training of human resources. Our analysis focus on patterns of knowledge production and diffusion, looking specifically at the role of new technology based firms, towards revisited industrial policies.

In the area of Marine and Environment Technologies, operational modeling became a major activity of MARETEC, supported by the projects EASY/EASYCO (www.project-easy.info) and by the project MyOcean (www.myocean.eu) and web services were implemented based on OPeNDAP and THREDDS. These services are the basis of a bidirectional tool http://v2.easyco.maretec.org/wbt/ for the whole EU Northwestern Atlantic. This is used in forecast (www.Arcopol.eu www.lenvis.eu http://mywater-fp7.eu/ www.asimuth.eu) and is supporting services to industry and government (e.g. www.envitejo.hidromod.pt http://www.agro-evapo.eu/). The modelling Platform www.mohid.com is a modular system that integrates all the environmental modelling software.
with the support of: