Ricardo's Place Robotics, machine learning, or simply random thoughts!

About...

…This Website

On this website, I’ll present some of the things I’m currently working on and also some of my old projects. As an Engineer, I’m always looking forward learning and trying new things. So, I hope you will enjoy it!

…Me

I am very tenacious, for better or worse. If my attention is engaged, I cannot disengage it. This may be a great strength, or weakness. It makes me an investigator - Oliver Sacks
Me!
The robots I played with during my Ph.D, and sometimes fixed too (from left to right): Pepper, NAO, BAXTER (hugging me), iCub, Scitos G5 and GummiArm.

If I had to describe myself in one sentence, I would say:

I'm a believer and a doer

As a self-learner, with an entrepreneurial mindset, I’m never afraid of challenges and I always work very hard to solve any problems that arise.

I’m also an Electrical Engineer (five years, full-time, just a few survivors at the end…) with an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering / Automation (two years, full-time, maybe even less survivors at the end…), both from UFRGS/Brazil. Since 2017, I hold a Ph.D degree in Robotics/A.I. (full-time, maybe the coolest and hardest experience in my life, and I managed to survive again!) from University of Plymouth/UK.

Starting with my undergrad certificate, it says “Electrical Engineer” and my training had the basic blocks from traditional Electrical Engineering degrees (Calculus, Physics, Circuits, Electromagnetism, Signal Processing, Electrical Materials, Linear Algebra, Numerical Computations, Advanced Calculus, etc.) , but it was also strongly focused on what most people would recognize nowadays as an Electronics degree (Microcontrollers, Digital Electronics, Control Systems, Digital Communications, Power Electronics, etc.). To give you an idea, my final project (yes, undergrads had to develop a project, with a dissertation and defend it during a public presentation in front of three examiners) was a system, 100% written in assembly language, to generate text messages using composite video signals (TEXvid). My M.Sc., again, had a dissertation and public presentation, but with an extra external examiner. The results from my research in Wireless Power Transmission can be seen on my publications page. During my Master’s degree, I’d attended modules about Stochastic Processes, Advanced Digital Signal Processing (STFT, Wavelets, Hilbert Transforms…), Instrumentation, Optimization and Design of Experiments. Moreover, I helped developing extra projects for the Industrial Systems Laboratory in the field of Non-Destructive Testing, always under the supervision of Dr. Valner Brusamarello.

For my Ph.D, I moved from the southernmost state of Brazil (Porto Alegre / Rio Grande do Sul) to the south-west of England (Plymouth / Devon) with wife and kid (it was quite an adventure, with our trip taking in total more than 24h). As you can see, I’m not the only one that is a believer and a doer in my family.

During my fours years at University of Plymouth/UK, I had the chance to interact and learn from top researchers in the field of artificial intelligence, cognition and robotics. I was also part of the Bioinspired Architecture for Brain Embodied Language (BABEL) project where I received training and had access to collaborative robotics and neuromorphic computers. Throughout my research, I worked on cognitive robotics, spiking neural networks and collaborative robotics. Those fields were introduced to me by my first director of studies, Prof. Angelo Cangelosi, and my supervisors Dr. Samantha V. Adams and Dr. Martin F. Stoelen.

My main Ph.D research topic (see my publications for more details) was robot control using spiking neural networks, what enabled me to present my work on three international conferences: World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCCI 2016, Vancouver/Canada), International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2017, Anchorage/Alaska/USA) and International Conference on Neural Information Processing (ICONIP 2016, Kyoto/Japan). Additionally, I was accepted and attended three summer schools (The 2014 CapoCaccia Cognitive Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop, Nengo Braincamp 2016 and MILA Deep Learning Summer School and Reinforcement Learning Summer School 2017), two hackathons (Robots-At-Your-Service and NAO-48hrs Hackathon), presented a workshop on collaborative robots and, during my final year, I worked part-time on an agricultural and collaborative robotics startup.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since ever, having tried my hand with an Engineering Company, Bookshop, Publishing House, Express Printing Services, Website Development, etc.

I love electronics, programming, robotics and, whenever I can, I also try to design and build new things using wood (like this, literally, handmade radial plotter) or 3D printed parts, but sometimes I also enjoy taking old things apart to reuse or just to see what is inside!

Old projects

If you want to see a little bit about some of my old projects, I’ve the perfect post for you:
My Old Projects or Why You Should Document and Share Your Stuff Online

Contact

If you want to know even more, check my GitHub repositories, LinkedIn profile and Google Scholar profile.

If you want to contact me, the best way is by sending me a message (ricardo.azambuja (a) gmail.com)!