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Author Topic: Looking for a thesis in Robotics (M.Sc)  (Read 3301 times)

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Offline roi_tauTopic starter

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Looking for a thesis in Robotics (M.Sc)
« on: August 02, 2011, 06:08:25 AM »
Hi Guys.

I started my way in Robotics in this great forum and I think here it will be the best place to pose my question.
I'm doing my M.Sc right now in Robotics.

As you probably know, a thesis is very different from a project (The latter is much more fun).
In a thesis, the work is more theoretically and you have to come up with a new idea or an algorithm.

Can you offer subject for a thesis in Robotics? Theoretical (with implementation) subject that are also FUN!!! (This is the main reason to post this thread here - you know what fun is)
I thought about neural network with robotics but I still have no clear vision.
My real interest is animatronic and animatronic heads especially. the goal is to build a Mind-Reader robot head.
I can't find a theoretical interesting subject there to do a research.

What do you think?

Have fun

Offline mstacho

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Re: Looking for a thesis in Robotics (M.Sc)
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2011, 08:51:07 AM »
well...a thesis not only has to be theoretical, it also has to be reasonably relevant to the research that your advisor is taking on.  So a REALLY good first step is to talk to your advisor about his/her research interests and ask if there are any research ideas floating around their head to take on.  I've seen way, way too many students try to strike out on their own without talking to their advisors first only to either come into conflict later on or choose a project that isn't acceptable.

Now, assuming your advisor is on board for animatronic heads, you might want to focus more on the artificial muscle part of the head, since it would have the most far-reaching relevance to fields outside of animatronic heads :-P I'm in grasping research at the moment, and I've been looking for a useful artificial muscle that is electrically powered (that is, not pneumatic).  I'm thinking it's probably possible to construct such a muscle using a motor along with a transmission system of some kind into a compliant medium...but that's just me :-P (and yeah, I do consider it to be fun haha)

Other ideas would be a facial expression learning/mimicking robot, but you'd need the head to work with first.  That might be fun, and would have a lot of consequences external to heads again -- specifically, your research would focus on learning social cues from body language, and also learning complex control of the facial muscles. (keep in mind that facial expression recognition is a pretty big field, so your advancements would necessarily be smaller)

Read the literature!  You seem to be saying: "I want to work with animatronic heads".  In research, what you'll want to do is start with a platform (the head) and see what you can DO with it.  So you mentioned you like learning and neural nets (I have my own opinions on that :-P ) meaning you'll likely need to get the head pre-fabricated, learn to use it FAST for a masters thesis, and then set up HOW exactly you're going to use learning algorithms to do...whatever.  The other option would be to build the head yourself, at which point your research would focus on making the head design better in some way, or addressing an open problem in design or control.  The literature will point to where the open problems lie.

Does that help?


ps: oh, and TALK TO YOUR ADVISOR first
Current project: tactile sensing systems for multifingered robot hands

Offline Admin

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Re: Looking for a thesis in Robotics (M.Sc)
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2011, 08:37:02 PM »
Some good advice can be found here:

About your adviser . . . make sure your adviser cares. I've heard story after story of people who have advisers that clearly just don't care about their students work/research. There is no point in paying good money to be a student when your adviser doesn't advise/mentor you, no? But yea, mstacho's advice is good in that respect. Speak to multiple professors to confirm the advice - don't let the [potentially bad] advice of just one waste the next year or two of your life. :P

As for reading the literature, any good research paper will have a discussion section that describes the shortcomings of their work. They might say something like "our research proves such and such, but there was this one exception which we did not address," and that exception is where your research can continue from.

Oh and good advice . . . your research will be much better if you can make money off of either the newly learned skills or knowledge after you get your thesis. Don't do something you don't want to do after you graduate, that's just silly :-X


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