Ali Shafti | Research


Research Associate in Robotics and AI @ Imperial College London

Current research at Imperial College London

Research associate in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence | PI: Dr. A. Aldo Faisal

I research human-robot interaction, particularly the implications and opportunities arising from human motor control facing intelligent robot control. I investigate human and robot in-the-loop methods within machine learning, particularly reinforcement learning, to achieve more intuitive, natural and efficient human robot interaction and collaboration. As part of this, I continue the work done on the eNHANCE project (see below), as well as other projects involving human-robot interaction to investigate:

  • Explainability in physical human-(intelligent)robot interaction.
  • Human+Robot-in-the-loop Reinforcement Learning
  • Human-Robot Augmentation and its neurocognitive implications

Previously (2017-2019): Lead Research Associate and Project Manager, EU Horizon2020 eNHANCE| PI: Dr. A. Aldo Faisal

  • Research and development on multiple robotics and sensing systems.
  • Development of full system integration through ROS.
  • Development of personalisation through (Deep) Reinforcement Learning.
  • System validation through tests and experiments with end-users.
  • Project manager for all research and administrative activities at ICL.

The keywords below list some of the tools I use for my current research.

Keywords: [Robot Operating System (ROS)], [Python], [C++], [MATLAB], [PyTorch], [TensorFlow], [(deep) Reinforcement Learning], [OpenAI Gym], [Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM)], [Solidworks], [Formlabs Form2 3D Printer], [Universal Robots UR10], [BioServo SEMGlove], [BioServo CarbonHand], [Myo Armband], [Arduino], [SMI Eye-trackers], [Agile Project Management].

Gallery of research at Imperial College London

Learning to play the piano with the SR3T

Video coming soon!

Real-World Human-Robot Collaborative RL

A setup for real-world human-robot reinforcement learning of a fully collaborative motor task, in the form of a marble-maze game.

Human Visual Attention Prediction for Better Autonomous Driving Agents, 2019.

Explainable Robot Manipulation with Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning, 2019.

Gaze-based, context-aware HRI based on human action grammars, 2019.

Gaze-based, context-aware HRI based on human action grammars, 2018.

Gaze-based, context-aware HRI through multi-modal sensing, 2017.

Supernumerary Robotic 3rd Thumb, a setup for embodiment studies, 2017.

Previous research at King's College London

Research assistant and Project Manager, EU Horizon2020 FourByThree | PI: Prof. Kaspar Althoefer

  • Research and development on robot learning and actively ergonomic human-robot interaction.
  • System validation through tests and experiments with users.
  • Project manager for all research and administrative activities at KCL.

Aside from this specific application project, my general research involved human behaviour analysis, particularly in the area of human physiological comfort. As part of this I developed methods and devices for the objective real-time assessment of human comfort, which was then used to place the human, and their physical comfort, within the robotic system's action/perception loop. This allowed for active robot-assisted ergonomic interactions within the factory environment as well as objective studies of surgeons' comfort within the clinical environment. The keywords below list some of the tools I used for my previous research.

Keywords: [Robot Operating System (ROS)], [MATLAB], [Solidworks], [Dimension/Formlabs/Utilmaker 3D printers], [Baxter Research Robot], [Arduino], [Microsoft Kinect], [Supervised Learning], [Agile Project Management].

Gallery of research at King's College London

Ergonomic HRI: collaborative robot continuously optimising human posture, 2017.

Textile-based EMG (muscle activity sensors) for studies in-the-wild, 2016.

The above are the main research projects under which I've been hired as both researcher and project manager. For a full list of the different projects in which I have contributed, as well as a detailed timeline of activities, please see my CV.