Centre for Intelligent Systems Research

CISR Media coverage


CISR's Counter-IED Robot - Technology for the Future

CISR's haptically-enabled robotic system, which gives operators a realistic 'grasp and feel' of remote objects, could become a vital capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to investigate or disarm explosive devices with reduced risk to our soldiers and defence personnel.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and Deakin University signed a licence agreement today to further develop the technology to a standard suitable for future ADF consideration.

Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said the licence agreement allows Deakin University to engage commercial partners to manufacture and distribute the technology and other haptic systems. "This licence agreement is the capstone of a thorough development and evaluation process that has produced technology of potential benefit to the ADF."

CISR's Counter-IED Robot

"Certainly one of the big challenges we've had in Afghanistan has been IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). We are looking at technology that can actually make things safer and clearly that type of haptic technology might be quite useful in handling explosives, and in particular home-made ones," Dr Zelinsky said. "It's technology for the future."

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon said "The haptic arm system allows operators to remotely grasp and feel the weight and texture of objects in real time and improves their awareness of the situation and ability to take appropriate action"

"Remotely operated counter-IED robots fitted with the haptic arm system could also be employed in civilian environments to safely remove or neutralise hazardous materials."

"It takes the human away from the danger zone but at the same time provides the right level of dexterity and immersion to complete their job," said Professor Saeid Nahavandi, Director of CISR. "This is cutting edge technology. Technology that nobody else in the world has and we developed it here at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research at Deakin University with Aussie brains."

Dr Zelinsky said the defence organisation worked with the best. "Certainly Saeid and his team are among the best in Australia at what they do and that's why we work with them," he said.

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel....details

Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)....details

Geelong Advertiser....details(168 KB)




The Hon Warren Snowdon examines CISR's Counter-IED Robot at Committee for Geelong Defence Luncheon

CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi and The Hon Warren Snowdon operating CISR's Counter-IED Robot

On Monday 8th July the Committee for Geelong hosted a Defence-focussed luncheon at Simonds Stadium, sponsored by Winchester Australia and the CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory. The keynote speaker for the event was the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel. Minister Snowdon outlined the opportunities available to organisations within the Geelong region to help service the needs of Australia's armed forces.

Minister Snowdon also operated CISR's haptically-enabled counter-IED robot at the luncheon. The CISR robotic system is equipped with 3D vision and can be driven to remote locations and operated from afar. "(The system can be deployed) wherever you don't want a human to be exposed to a particular environment", said CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi.

The distinguishing factor from other robots in its class is that the CISR counter-IED robot has a lifelike sense of touch. Professor Nahavandi explained that the system's intuitive and safe operation enables many practical applications. The multi-point haptic technology may be used for medical surgery or by law enforcement agencies and Defence to de-activate explosive devices.

Geelong Advertiser....details(37 KB)




CISR's Universal Motion Simulator and OzBot™ on Scope

Both CISR's Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) and OzBot mobile platform recently featured on Channel 10's Scope science TV show. The UMS appeared in the Simulations episode, which first aired on Thursday 14th March.

CISR researcher Kyle Nelson explained, "This state-of-the-art platform is designed to train pilots and the drivers of other vehicles by providing them with super realistic flying and driving experiences." The UMS can simulate an incredible range of real vehicular movements and manoeuvres.

"Our motion simulator has six degrees of freedom, including two axis of continuous rotation, so it can move in just about every way a real helicopter can - in both controlled flight and accident situations. And, by swapping the simulator's controls and adjusting the settings of the software that determines its movements, we can reconfigure it to train aeroplane pilots, or the drivers of tanks, trucks or boats."

Making the flying experience even more life-like for pilots is the UMS's haptic technology. This allows a pilot to feel the forces that can act on a helicopter in real life. "We use electroencephalography, or EEG to monitor activity in the pilot's brain, and electrocardiography, or ECG, to monitor the beating of their heart", said Mr Nelson.

CISR's Dr Mick Fielding demonstrated the OzBot robot on Thursday 27th June during Scope's 'Tech Science' episode. As Dr Fielding described, "Ozbot is a remote controlled platform designed for use in both urban and rugged terrain. Its low centre of gravity makes it resistant to tipping, its caterpillar tracks give it great traction on almost any surface, and its Dr Mick Fielding tows a car with OzBotmotors provide it with impressive strength."

"A pair of cameras mounted at the back of the vehicle can pan, tilt and zoom, and be used together to provide 3D vision with depth perception for the operator...Alternatively, an X-ray source and receiver plate can be mounted on Ozbot, so its operator can see through objects like bags, boxes and cars."

Dr Fielding also described the robotic arm that can be attached to Ozbot. This haptically controlled manipulator can handle objects delicately, and force sensors in its gripper and wrist mean the operator can 'feel' the weight, pressure and texture of objects being inspected.

Watch the UMS episode online....tenplay

Watch the OzBot episode online....tenplay

Scope....details

See more UMS and OzBot....CISR YouTube Channel




CISR OzBot™ appears in May issue of Silicon Chip magazine

The May issue of Silicon Chip magazine

CISR's Ozbot™ mobile platform recently appeared in a 2013 Avalon Air Show feature story in the May issue of the Silicon Chip magazine.

"OzBot is a 'ruggedised mobile platform' for use by the military and law enforcement authorities. Developed by Deakin University's Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR), it can relay video and audio streams to a hand-held controller. In addition, auxiliary devices can be attached to the vehicle such as an X-ray scanner to view the inside of a suspicious package... The device can navigate over rough terrain and can also climb stairs"

- Extract from Silicon Chip Magazine

Click on the above link and press the right arrow key to scroll to pages 74 and 75 featuring OzBot




Universal Motion Simulator on Discovery Channel

“If you’ve ever wanted to slip on a fighter pilot suit, or step right into a video game, or try landing a helicopter with engine failure; then this is your wildest fantasy come true”. This was the introduction for the CISR Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) when it recently featured on the March 22 episode of the Discovery Channel series, Daily Planet.

Presenter Dan Riskin described Deakin's Universal Motion Simulator as the “ultimate virtual experience”, a platform that can simulate just about any vehicle, from motorcycles to tanks. Currently the UMS is used as a flight simulator for fighter pilots; it’s safer and costs much less than taking you up in a real jet.

In the Universal Motion Simulator, the pilot looks through 3D virtual-reality goggles for a realistic view, is bombarded by “killer speakers” and subjected to intense aerial manoeuvres that can pull several g’s of force. But what sets the UMS apart is how it feels. As CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi explains even the control stick is designed to feel like the real thing: “It can reflect the forces external to the aircraft, bringing it to the user’s hand”.

As Discovery Channel viewers learned, at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research we can also read the reaction of a pilot’s brain as he flies using electroencephalograph (EEG) signals. “We want to see through the analysis of EEG signals whether a person has certain behaviour and can learn certain tasks faster, or if the person is not suitable for certain tasks. We want to detect whether a person is suitable to become a pilot” says Prof. Nahavandi. The Discovery Channel feature shows researchers testing pilot’s behaviour in severe weather conditions to find out who adapts more quickly in different scenarios.

“People who see the simulator always have the same reaction: how can I take a ride on that?” If this is you, why not check out the CISR YouTube Channel to see more UMS footage or contact us for details on joining the team!

See more UMS....CISR YouTube Channel

A Universal Motion Simulator pilot wearing EEG equipment
EEG analysis from an experienced pilot



CISR Universal Motion Simulator on Catalyst

The CISR team recently put science communicator Dr Graham Phillips through his paces on the new Universal Motion Simulator (UMS). Dr Phillips' report on his experience aired on the first episode of ABC TV's premier science program, Catalyst on March 15 2012.

As Dr Phillips discovered, the UMS looks very different to more conventional flight simulators because it is designed to overcome some of their limitations, providing a higher range of motion compared to traditional Stewart platform simulators, at a lower cost. CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi explained that the UMS can "provide realistic-type motion, whether it is a land vehicle, air vehicle or sea vehicles".

Dr Phillips revealed that the simulators controls feature "advanced force generators and haptic technology" developed at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research. Prof. Nahavandi explained that these force reflective devices allow the pilot to feel as though they are actually flying a real aircraft, "if you hit some turbulence, you can actually feel the force in your hand".

Dr Phillips found during his test flight that "the UMS's robotic arm doesn't respond to just the pilot's controls. Rather, to provide more realism, it's one of the new breed of simulators that creates a virtual model of aircraft being flown, together with the forces that affect it, such as turbulence. That entire virtual environment is packaged up and sent to the robotic arm, and that determines how it moves."

Impressed by its capability, Dr Phillips called the UMS an amazing machine, "Very realistic, I must say".

The CISR Haptically-Enabled Universal Motion Simulator The Universal Motion Simulator control room

Catalyst....details

Deakin newsroom....details




Senator Kim Carr launches CISR Universal Motion Simulator

The next generation in flight simulation was unveiled at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) today by Federal Innovation Minister Kim Carr. CISR's Haptically Enabled Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) will take trainee pilots and drivers through their paces in a safer, cheaper and more realistic training environment than currently available elsewhere in the world.

Universal Motion Simulator launch slideshow

"Traditional flight simulators have restricted movement and a limited ability to replicate a real flying experience. Robotic experts at CISR have integrated the latest in haptics technology - adding a sense of touch and feel to virtual or remote objects - to produce a commercial system that is ideal for flight simulation," Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr said that the Australian Government is proud to have invested $285,000 in this technology through the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme. "We are excited that new funding of $210,000 - recently awarded under the ARC Linkage Projects scheme - will help CISR researchers utilise the technology to develop effective pilot training methods and improve aviation safety."

"No other simulator can provide the full experience of flying a military jet with all the gut wrenching G-forces while only seven metres off the ground," explained Professor Saeid Nahavandi, Director of the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research.

"What sets the UMS apart from standard simulators is the integration of haptics technology, which provides a sense of touch and feel to virtual or remote objects, and its ability move at high speed and in any direction."

"While suited for training pilots, the UMS is also the perfect platform for simulating land based vehicles including tanks and other armoured vehicles, trucks, race cars and motorbikes. Its training capabilities are endless."


Further Information

Deakin newsroom....details

Geelong Advertiser....details(2.2 MB)

The Australian....details(102 KB)

Defence iQ....details

Australian Popular Science....details

IEEE Spectrum....details

iTWire....details

Australian Aviation....details

Geelong Advertiser....details(151 KB)

Universal Motion Simulator Flyer(466 KB)


Related Publications

PDF File Nelson, K., Black, T., Creighton, D. and Nahavandi, S.
“A Simulation-Based Control Interface Layer for a High-Fidelity Anthropomorphic Training Simulator”
Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2010, Orlando, USA.
PDF (252 KB) | Web | BibTeX | Endnote/RefMan

Recent CISR Publications


Funding Boost for ICT Geelong

ICT Geelong

On 8 December, Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips announced $100,000 funding to support the activities of ICT Geelong, Victoria's high-tech development cluster.

Minister Rich-Phillips said the funding was provided under the government's Innovation Through Clusters program to promote the region's ICT potential, foster collaboration and progress key projects which would continue to deliver economic benefits to the Geelong region.

Robert Reed, Chairman of ICT Geelong, said the region had some great infrastructure and capability to leverage off. “Deakin University is undertaking world-class research and live projects with industry partners in haptics, robotics and simulation.”

Read more....The Australian




CISR and Wittenstein collaborate on Universal Motion Simulator

CISR Universal Motion Simulator

Leading mechatronic company Wittenstein is showcasing CISR's Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) in the October edition of their MOVE magazine.

The Universal Motion Simulator is a state-of-the-art haptically enabled, full motion simulator for training and performance analysis which features Wittenstein's control loading systems (CLS) to replicate helicopter control. Wittenstein's CLS includes a cyclic stick, a collective stick and directional pedals which allow the simulator user to feel completely immersed in the real-world training environment.

"This project is another opportunity for CISR to discover and deliver innovative research that directly benefits society through the creation of knowledge and the provision of solutions to real-world problems", says CISR Director, Professor Saeid Nahavandi.

CISR's Universal Motion Simulator project is also supported by the Australian Department of Defence, the Australian Research Council and Rockwell Collins.

- Read the full story Wittenstein MOVE magazine(273 KB)

      CISR Universal Motion Simulator        CISR Universal Motion Simulator




CISR OzBot™ a Bright Idea

Mick Fielding and James Mullins with OzBot

CISR's Ozbot™ mobile platform recently featured in the November issue of the Qantas inflight magazine.

"a diminutive mechanical superhero - the OzBot, a nimble machine that can check for explosive devices using 3D stereovision, tow a 4WD vehicle or, using X-ray equipment, approach an armed offender during a hostage situation"

- Extract from Qantas inflight magazine(1.3 MB)




OzBot™ - Moving with the times

CISR's Ozbot™ ruggedised mobile platform provides first-responder capability for tactical reconnaissance or mission critical tasks.

OzBot™ uses haptic technology that allows a user to "feel" objects being inspected by the robot, despite being up to 500 metres away.

The OzBot™ platform is suitable for both urban and unstructured terrain including missions that require a stair climbing capability.

Deakin newsroom....details


Haptically-enabled OzBot



CISR OzBot on The New Inventors

CISR OzBot on The New Inventors CISR's OzBot, as featured on the the New Inventors program along with CISR team members Mick Fielding and James Mullins



Professor Saeid Nahavandi

Can technology help the blind 'see' art?
A question for Professor Saeid Nahavandi

The Age....details (118 KB)

The Australian....details

Deakin newsroom....details

RealTime....details




Touch of reality for virtual medicine

Dr James Mullins Haptic technology gives sense of touch to virtual medical procedures

Deakin newsroom....details




Victoria Police rolls out its latest technological gadget - CISR's very own OzBot

Policelife February 2010
(PDF 939KB)

"OzBot is one of Victoria Police's greatest assets. It goes where no humans dare - under cars, into the room with an armed offender and next to a suspicious package. It is fearless"

- Extract from Police Life magazine, February 2010



Thousands of Australians up for 'nude' airport scanners

The Age....details



CISR wins New Inventors episode

Haptic Gripper The Haptic Gripper, invented by Prof Saeid Nahavandi & Zoran Najdovski, was featured on a recent episode of the New Inventors



CISR meet with Defence Homeland Security delegation in India

CISR were participants at an Australian Defence & Homeland Security Business Delegation, comprising of 6 companies, which recently visited New Delhi and Mumbai.

Frontier India Strategic and Defense....details



Scientific path for military potential - OzBots

The OzBot, developed by Deakin University's Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, uses haptic technology that allows an operator to physically feel remote environments through position-force control and experience realistic force feedback.

Canberra Times (p. 2)....details (194 KB)



CISR researchers win ARC award to help the blind and visually impaired through the use of haptics

Project title: Haptic realisation of visual art for the blind and visually impaired

Australian Research Council....details (37KB)



Tim Black demonstrates the OzBot robot at Careers Night

Geelong College AD Astra magazine (p. 20)....details (2.4MB)



In good hands

The Greek word haptikos means a sense of touch, so Professor Saeid Nahavandi thought it would be perfect as the name for a futuristic device that might have come straight from a science fiction novel.
It's a device that would allow a surgeon in Melbourne to operate directly on a patient hundreds of kilometres away, out in the Mallee or up in the mountains. Or even permit an astronomer on Earth to pick up and feel and test the soil on the moon or Mars.

The Age....details



CISR team awarded ARC Linkage Grant

Professor Saeid Nahavandi and Dr Doug Creighton have been awarded funding for their ARC Linkage Project titled "Distributed Real-time Multiobjective Scheduling for Joinery Manufacturing Processes using Discrete Event Simulation".

Australia's furniture manufacturing industry is a major contributor to the economic wealth of the Australian economy with an annual $9.5 billion turnover. The Australian Furnishing Industry Association (AFIA) estimates that there are 15,000 furniture design and manufacturing firms, employing 66,000 people. However, Australian manufacturers are experiencing high levels of fixed cost (associated with plant and equipment) and low equipment-utilisation ratio and long delivery time. This research aims to enable Australian manufacturers to stay competitive in the dynamic global market, by providing a better strategy to allocate their constrained resources including workforces and facilities.



Technology: from the laboratory to the battleground

CTD success stories....Several other CTD projects have also been selected for further development towards implementation under the new CTD Extension Program. One of these success stories is a counter-improvised explosive device robot being developed in collaboration with Deakin University

DSTO website....details



Fast track for 'sense of touch' robot

A major grant has been awarded to researchers at Deakin University developing an intelligent robot that allows its operator to feel what the robot's gripper is feeling.

Deakin University media release....details (23 KB)



Feely robot keeps troops in touch

A unique robot that can deliver sensory information to Australian soldiers as they use the machine to inspect suspicious or dangerous objects from a distance could be on the front line within two years

The Age....details (134 KB)



Local robot lands in Wall-E territory

When Andrew Nowrojee was busy making his postapocalyptic robot film, little did he know that film giant Pixar was coming up with a lookalike creatures

The Herald Sun....details (118 KB)



Deakin's software platform has airport security systems in the bag

Software developed in Australia that uses rapid modelling tools and techniques to improve airport security systems could be on the market within 12 months

The Australian... details (161 KB))



Deakin beefs up airport security

Deakin researchers have developed initiatives which are revolutionising airport security systems across the globe

The Geelong Advertiser... details (107 KB)



Deakin software bags airport security

The innovative software platform, developed by Deakin University's Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, is based on "discrete event" simulation technology, using software algorithms developed in-house.



Baggage simulator

The researchers' software simulates the functionality of baggage-handling systems and can portray how a system at a typical airport would cope with upgrades to security systems, taking into account individual airport infrastructure and flight schedules.

The Engineer....details



Software will boost airport security

Deakin University researchers have developed an innovative software platform - believed to be the first of its kind - which allows for simulation of baggage handling systems and how they would cope with changes to airport security.


Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

13th February 2014