I am a lecturer in robotics at the University of Aberdeen, specialising in soft and bioinspired robotics.
I am currently looking to establish multidisciplinary collaborations.
Email me for more details.
My expertise is in the fields of mechatronics, variable compliance mechanisms and hardware design and build. My research vision for the future is to develop and exploit bioinspired soft robotics in fields such as innovative
healthcare solutions and ground-breaking technological applications. These topics will naturally lend themselves to developing strong collaborations involving both universities and industry.
Lecturer in robotics
Honorary research associate
Brigstow Institute Ideas Exchange award for national research cooperation, University of Bristol in 2020
Binks Trust funding for international research cooperation, University of Aberdeen in 2019
Queens School of Engineering Research Pump Priming Funds, University of Bristol in 2016
Co-Investigator on EPSRC Impact Acceleration for Neuromorphic Tactile Sensing in 2016
Co-winner of the 2016 Harvard Soft Robotics Toolkit Design Competition – Research section with the TacTip device project. http://softroboticstoolkit.com
Co-winner of the third place in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Soft Material Robot Challenge 2017
Winner of Best Presentationat the 2014 Doctoral Exchanges Research Student Conference, University of the West of England, Bristol
In this project I co-designed a ground-breaking artificial, implantable larynx. This medical implant is currently being considered for a patent. This work was carried out for the University of Bristol at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Bristol, UK.
The goal of the implant is to restore breathing, swallowing and vocalisation in patients who had their larynx removed, for example due to laryngeal cancer. This work includes analysis of the biomechanical structure of the larynx and its fundamental operations. This informs the design, development and evaluation of an implantable device and assisting with pre-clinical tests of the device.
In this study we propose a novel bioinspired robotic simulator that physically replicates both healthy vocal fold function and two main pathological conditions in vocal fold paralysis: bilateral and unilateral paralysis. By analysing the audio data produced by our robotic simulator a correlation can be drawn between each type of paralysis and the effects on amplitude and frequency.
This project centred on the characterisation and modelling of the force sensing capabilities of the TacTip sensor and on the development of a more robust and modular version of the sensor. TacTip is a biomimetic, soft tactile sensor shown to be effective in localisation, shape perception, contour following and texture identification tasks. The work also focused on optimising the integration of the TacTip in robotic hands and grippers in order to replace the sensorisation provided by fingertips and achieve successful in-hand manipulation tasks. The use of Bayesian active perception allows the fingertip to achieve positional hyperacuity, in that the object positions are perceived more accurately than the taxel spacing.
This feasibility study investigated the development of a soft, continuum, pneumatic muscle based robotic manipulator that could work in close cooperation with humans but also achieve a higher level of accuracy through the ability to adjust its stiffness. The novel physical design of the robot arm allowed stiffness and end-effector position to be varied independently of one another. A thorough characterisation of the stiffness configurations of the arm and a model of its curvature behaviour were performed.
This project was the subject of the 9th most read paper in the Soft Robotics Journal in 2018. This project was conducted at the University of Salford, Manchester, UK.
The project aimed at designing and building a prototype device to be worn by a patient undergoing radiotherapy. The aim of the device was twofold: a) to immobilise the patient’s head and neck and b) to sense the possible motion of the patient’s head. The project was carried out at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.
In this work we designed a low-cost, soft cable-driven gripper, featuring no stiff sections, which is able to adapt to a wide range of objects due to its entirely soft structure. Its design is inspired by hydrostatic skeletons and its versatility is demonstrated in several experiments. In addition, we also show how its compliance can be passively varied to ensure a compliant but also stable and safe grasp. This design was created to address the important issue of creating a grasping device that can accommodate varying object shapes in order to form a stable, multi-point grasp.
The aim of this study was to exploit the concept of variable compliance to design and produce a robot arm with inherently safe features and apt to be used in an unstructured environment in the field of service robotics.
These considerations shaped the aims of our robot arm design, which tackles the aforementioned issues: a) safe physical human-robot interaction and b) the ability of the robot to interact with a vast set of objects varying in shape and size, typical of an unstructured environment. In order to address issue a), an inherent-safety approach dictates the use of flexible, shock-absorbing joints that can sustain sudden collisions. In order to address issue b), a soft, cable-driven end-effector inspired by the hydrostatic skeletons of worms and snails has been designed, built and characterised.
Ward-Cherrier, B., Pestell, N., Cramphorn, L., Winstone, B., Giannaccini, M.E., Rossiter, J. and Lepora, N.F., (2018). The tactip family: Soft optical tactile sensors with 3d-printed biomimetic morphologies. Soft robotics, 5(2), pp.216-227.
Giannaccini, M.E., Xiang, C., Atyabi, A., Theodoridis, T., Nefti-Meziani, S. and Davis, S., (2018). Novel design of a soft lightweight pneumatic continuum robot arm with decoupled variable stiffness and positioning. Soft robotics, 5(1), pp.54-70.
Hao, L., Xiang, C., Giannaccini, M.E., Cheng, H., Zhang, Y., Nefti-Meziani, S. and Davis, S., (2018). Design and control of a novel variable stiffness soft arm. Advanced Robotics, 32(11), pp.605-622.
Xiang, C., Giannaccini, M.E., Theodoridis, T., Hao, L., Nefti-Meziani, S. and Davis, S., (2016). Variable stiffness Mckibben muscles with hydraulic and pneumatic operating modes. Advanced Robotics, 30(13), pp.889- 899.
Giannaccini, M. E., Georgilas, I., Horsfield, I., Peiris, B. H. P. M., Lenz, A., Pipe, A. G., & Dogramadzi, S. (2014). A variable compliance, soft gripper. Autonomous Robots, 36(1-2), 93-107.