Angus Clark

Angus B. Clark

PhD, MEng, DIC
Research Associate, Imperial College London

I’m Angus Clark, a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London specialising in robotics and prosthetics. My research interests include robot manipulation, robot grippers, in-hand manipulation, prosthetics and exoskeletons, and underwater and space robotics.

download cv

Latest publications:

Household clothing set and benchmarks for characterising end-effector cloth manipulation

Malleable robots: Reconfigurable robotic arms with continuum links of variable stiffness

all publications

Education & Employment.

  • 2021-2023

    Senior Robotics Research Engineer,
    Dyson Technology, Hullavington, UK

    At Dyson, I worked on the mechatronics research and development of robot arms and end effectors for a mobile household robot. This work spanned both rigid and soft robotics, and included electro-mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic actuation.

  • 2017-2022

    PhD/DIC Robotic Manipulation,
    Imperial College London, UK

    My PhD focused on the design of novel robot manipulators known as Malleable Robots, low DoF robot arms capable of adapting to a desired task. This research was published in RoboSoft, ICRA, RAL, and TRO. Additionally, I worked on tangential research in prosthetic hands.

  • 2013-2017

    MEng Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronics),
    University of Southampton, UK

    A 4 year course, I studied an integrated Masters in Mechanical Engineering specialising in Mechatronics giving myself a strong background for robotics. I took part in multiple projects, including designing a one of a kind 3D printer, a volumetric scanning process, and an Autonomous Turtle-like AUV.

Research Areas.

Malleable Robotics
and Robotic Manipulation

Robotic arms come in many different forms, each with unique advantages and drawbacks. Research into alternative designs hopes to find better solutions.

Malleable robotics is my major contribution to the robotics field, where variable stiffness enables an adaptive robot, with the advantages of both soft and rigid manipulators. Specific uses cases include medical robotics and grippers, where soft robots can navigate to desired locations, and through variable stiffness can adapt to perform the required task. For industrial robots, variable stiffness can be applied to allow robots to adapt in topology, changing the overall workspace of the robot, without increasing the complexity of the control architecture with increased degrees of freedom. Further, the reduction in joints allows for cheaper, simple, and lighter robots, which is a specific advantage for robots destined for the space industry.

Assessing the performance of variable stiffness continuum structures of large diameter Stiffness-tuneable limb segment with flexible spine for malleable robots Design and Workspace Characterisation of Malleable Robots Malleable Robots: Reconfigurable Robotic Arms with Continuum Links of Variable Stiffness

Robotic Grippers
and In-hand Manipulation

End-effectors that interact with the world are very task dependent, providing a unique opportunity for problem solving and optimisation.

In many robotic applications robots interact with environment, specifically in environments designed for humans where robots must deal with day-to-day tasks that while we find easy, can be challenging for robots. The vast variety of tasks that need to be overcome to allow robots to excel in different industries allows for the design of multiple types of grippers, all providing different advantages for different use cases. Where soft or rigid, multi-fingered or singular design, fully-contained or externally powered, microscopic or macro, there is a gripper for every task. The recent expansion of grippers in the world of soft robotics has produced adaptable grippers, capable of handling varying objects with ease. This specific area of robotics is of interest, as the simplicity of design with increased capability is highly desirable.

A Passively Compliant Idler Mechanism for Underactuated Dexterous Grippers with Dynamic Tendon Routing Force Evaluation of Tendon Routing for Underactuated Grasping Systematic object-invariant in-hand manipulation via reconfigurable underactuation: Introducing the RUTH gripper An origami-inspired variable friction surface for increasing the dexterity of robotic grippers Household clothing set and benchmarks for characterising end-effector cloth manipulation

Medical Robotics

Novel robotic manipulators and surgical tools are enabling more efficient, safer, and faster healing surgery.

Robot manipulators excel at being precise, achieving accuracies far above human capability. An ideal area of use for this is in surgery, where precision tools and processes can make significant gains in efficiency and patient recovery time. Continuum robotics is a facinating area of research here, looking towards bio-inspired soft manipulators for NOTES and key-hole surgery.

A Continuum Manipulator for Open-Source Surgical Robotics Research and Shared Development

Prosthetics and Exoskeletons

Assistive robotics are a facinating area of research dedicated to providing a better quality of life for those less able through technological innovations.

Exoskeletons and prosthetics, both medical applications of robotics, are challenged with the comparison to existing, or pre-existing capability provided by human limbs, be it arms, hands, or legs. Thus, they have a significant challenge to overcome, however any and all progress made is an improvement upon the loss of a limb or capability. Like bio-inspired robotics, we must look towards the exact properties of the human body, and attempt to replicate those in robotics, at the same time as providing an aesthetically pleasing device similar in form, function, weight, and feel to our own body. Taking this one step further, exoskeletons aim to improve upon our own human limitations, increasing our strength, providing safety in joint limitations, and increasing our stamina.

A Scalable Variable Stiffness Revolute Joint Based on Layer Jamming for Robotic Exoskeletons Olympic: a modular, tendon-driven prosthetic hand with novel finger and wrist coupling mechanisms Instinctive real-time SEMG-based control of prosthetic hand with reduced data acquisition and embedded deep learning training Virtual reality pre-prosthetic hand training with physics simulation and robotic force interaction

"The future of Assistive Robotics is incredibly exciting. Intelligent prosthetics, powerful exoskeletons, impactful implants - These technologies will benefit everyone."

Challenging Environment Robotics

Robots are ideal for handling difficult environments, such as the deep sea or post-earthquake zones, or locations where radiation-exposure, explosives, or high voltage are hazards.

Robots have an important role to play in their use in hazardous environments, due to their robustness and ability to endure significantly harsher conditions than humans are capable of. Areas of use range from distaster relief, providing search and rescue in post earthquake or tsunami conditions, or providing rapid mapping capabilities spanning thousands of miles helping locate missing persons, to extreme conditions such as high voltage, radiation, or temperature, where manipulation for performing tasks in such areas is required. Robots can provide an advanced level of interaction with the environment, allowing us to extend our capabilities past our own limitations.

Flapping Foils for Marine Propulsion On a balanced delta robot for precise aerial manipulation: Implementation, testing, and lessons for future designs

Highlighted Publications.

Angus Clark 2021 IJRR Publication Systematic

Systematic Object-Invariant In-Hand Manipulation via Reconfigurable Underactuation: Introducing the RUTH Gripper

The International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR) 2021

We introduce a reconfigurable underactuated robot hand able to perform systematic prehensile in-hand manipulations regardless of object size or shape. The hand utilizes a two-degree-of-freedom five-bar linkage...

Read the article
Angus Clark 2020 ICRA Publication Design

Malleable Robots: Reconfigurable Robotic Arms with Continuum Links of Variable Stiffness

IEEE Transactions on Robotics 2022

Through the implementation of reconfigurability to achieve flexibility and adaptation to tasks by morphology changes rather than by increasing the number of joints, malleable robots present advantages over traditional serial robot arms...

Read the article
Angus Clark 2019 RAL Publication OLYMPIC

Olympic: A Modular, Tendon-Driven Prosthetic Hand with Novel Finger and Wrist Coupling Mechanisms

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L) 2019

In this paper, we propose a fully modular design for a prosthetic hand with finger and wrist level modularity, allowing the removal and attachment of tendon-driven fingers without the need for tools...

Read the article

Teaching Experience.

Contact Me. +44 (0)79 6161 0316
  • Musculoskeletal Mechanics Group,
  • Department of Bioengineering,
  • White City Campus,
  • Imperial College London