Rebecca Allday – PhD title: Deep Learning for Robotic Grasping

University of Surrey

After starting a graduate job in software engineering, I wanted to be stretched more and work with new and exciting technology. I also wanted more independence to be able to explore the areas that interested me.

Robotics is something new and exciting. The developments in machine learning are fast paced and present many opportunities to be creative in new ways. I was new to my field when I started my PhD so I was given lots of help such as being able to attend undergraduate lectures to improve in areas I needed to. The opportunity to meet and work with people from such diverse backgrounds has given me different insights into research.

My supervisors have helped me both with the big picture of my PhD and the low level implementations. Along with other experienced members of the research group I am in, they support me in all areas, from academic issues to time management.

The undergraduate labs have been useful for things such as 3D printing prototypes for robotics and I have attended several of the researcher development programme workshops on how to manage the workload of a PhD student.

My research is industry sponsored, so I get to discuss with my industrial supervisor how the research I am doing could be implemented and used in the future.
So far my greatest achievements have been publishing my first peer-reviewed paper in a conference last year and presenting a student oral at an international robotics summer school for PhD students and other researchers.

I have had the chance to learn a new language through the Global Graduate Award course – I chose to study British Sign Language because there are others in CVSSP who are researching sign language recognition and production. I was also able to get involved in the Widening Participation and Outreach programme, helping to run coding sessions for secondary school children thinking about studying computer science.

Explore our courses in electronic engineering including our PhD in Vision, Speech and Signal Processing.