Chris' Research Page

Last updated: June 4, 2006.

Current work | Publications | Videos | Presentations | Past Projects
Back to home page

Current Work

I am enrolled in a PhD at the Australian National University, under the supervision of:

My interest is in computer vision and robotics. I am most interested in the use of visual motion (optical flow) for biologically inspired mobile robot navigation. I am interested in implementing more robust navigational behaviours through biologically inspired techniques, but also in better understanding biological vision systems through the building and testing of artificial models (i.e. robots).

My PhD work is extending the links between the study of biological vision systems (specifically the honeybee), and the building of robust algorithms for the visual control of an autonomous vehicle. Bees possess an incredible ability to achieve high precision movements, and solve complex navigational tasks. Such abilities include navigating cluttered environments, performing graze landings with pin point precision, flight stabilisation, and an ability to accurately estimate distance travelled. Perhaps what is most remarkable about all this is that they achieve it all using a brain possessing no more than a million neurons. To put this in perspective, humans have something closer to a million million neurons! This suggests a close coupling between motor responses and a highly specialised vision system, and much has been learnt about this vision system over the last half century. From a robotics persective, there is obviously much to learn from the honeybee as well. My project looks specifically at how the honeybees panoramic view of the world may be exploited to design better algorithms for robot navigation, given a similar digital spherical projection from two cameras. To do this, we are building a ground-based mobile robot, equiped with two 180 degree FOV cameras, simulating the eye configuration of the honeybee. By modelling the honeybee in this way, we also hope to pose new questions for the biological vision community, and contribute to the understanding of biological vision systems (including our own).


The following is a list of my academic publications to date.

Journal Papers

  1. [in press"A robust docking strategy for a mobile robot using flow field divergence", by C. McCarthy, N. Barnes and R. Mahony. To appear in IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2008

Conference Papers

  1. "Real time biologically-inspired depth maps from spherical flow", by C. McCarthy, N. Barnes and M.V. Srinivasan. Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2007), Rome, Italy, 2007.
  2. "Insect Inspired Robots", by J. Lim, C. McCarthy, D. Shaw, N. Barnes and L. Cole. Proceedings of the 2006 Australiasian Conference on Robotics and Automation (ACRA2006), Auckland, New Zealand, 2006.
  3.  "A robust docking strategy for a mobile robot using flow field divergence", by C. McCarthy and N. Barnes. Proceedings of IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2006), Beijing, China, 2006.

  4. "Comparison of temporal filters for optical flow estimation in continuous mobile robot navigation", by C. McCarthy and N. Barnes. Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics: Experimental Robotics IX: The 9th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (Singapore 2004), Volume 21, pp 481-90, 2006.
    Paper was awarded
    "International Foundation of Robotics Research Student Fellowship Award".

  5. "Performance of optical flow techniques for indoor navigation with a mobile robot", by C. McCarthy and N. Barnes. Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2004), pp 5093-5098, New Orleans, USA, 2004.

  6. "Performance of temporal filters for optical flow estimation in mobile robot corridor centring and visual odometry", by C. McCarthy and N. Barnes. Proceedings of the 2003 Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation. Brisbane, Australia, 2003.

Workshop Papers

  1. [in press]"Towards a Hazard Perception Assistance System using Visual Motion", by C. McCarthy, N. Barnes, K. Anstey and M. Horswill. ECCV Workshop on Computer Vision Applications for the Visually Impaired (CVAVI 08). Marseille, France, Oct. 18, 2008.

Sample Video Demonstrations

Conference Presentations/Seminars

These are presentations (conferences:[CNF], seminars:[SEM], workshops:[WKS]) I have given or am scheduled to give:

Past Projects

Professional Society Memberships

Stress management in the robotics labs

Click here for my four step plan to stress management (with a coke can). This was during honours last century.

Interesting/Related Links

Chris McCarthy
Last Updated: June 4, 2006