Professor Gurvinder Singh Virk

Professor & Dean - School of Engineering

Professor Virk (PhD, DIC, BSc, CEng, FIET, FCIBSE, CMath, FIMA, MIEEE) is an international expert in control systems and robotic engineering. He has expertise in wide areas of control theory and its application to real-world scenarios and has specialist knowledge in classical and modern control theory, model-based control, self-tuning/adaptive control, multivariable control, intelligent embedded systems, neural-networks, fuzzy logic, evolutionary system, etc. His expertise in robotics covers service (medical and non-medical applications) and industrial robots able to move around in complex environments to perform a variety of tasks. His early work was in robot applications aimed at developing climbing and walking robots for in-situ inspection of hazardous environments such as nuclear installations, petrochemical industries and offshore industries (above and below the water line); several robots were commercialised. The research evolved towards service robot applications where robots need to perform tasks for humans where close human-robot interaction is important and design requirements must include safety considerations. Detailed technical topics for developing the robots include mechanism design, functionality requirements, embedded systems, interfacing, locomotion strategies, bio-inspired designs, localisation and navigation, user interfaces, robot modularity (hardware and software), design optimisation, climbing and walking (CLAWAR) robots, and safe human-robot collaboration.

 

His current commercialisation interests are developing high quality assistive wearable exoskeletons while maintaining affordability through adopting modular approaches. Quality and affordability are vital to develop the assistive technology that is needed to meet the needs of the global ageing society. He started Endoenergy in UK and in India to carry out targeted R&D to realize commercially viable assistive products to create robotic products for new consumer markets. For this Professor Virk is working closely with partners in Europe, India, China, Taiwan and USA.

 

Throughout his career, Professor Virk has been active in all areas of academe (including commercialisation), and has been a dedicated researcher, teacher and administrator as well as motivator of others around him; he has produced over 375 refereed publications, filed 4 patents, supervised 16 successful PhD/MPhil students, created and led research teams at Portsmouth, Leeds, Massey and Gävle, registered several spin out companies, and led over 50 international externally funded projects with research funding of over €30M. He is an excellent networker for research collaborations and is now focusing on commercialisation of service robot products with Endoenergy and helping develop world class industrially relevant graduates able to meet real-world industrial requirements with UPES.

 

Professor Virk is a founding Trustee and Treasurer of the UK registered charity CLAWAR Association Limited whose mission is "The advancement of education and science for the public benefit in the field of robotics and associated technologies."  For this he has been deeply involved in international ISO/IEC, European and UK robot regulation and has led, or is leading ISO/IEC work groups on robot standardization. Details include:

  • ISO TC299/WG2 Personal care robot safety (Convener: 2006-2016)
  • IEC TC62/SC62A & ISO TC299 JWG5 Medical robot safety (Convener: 2011-2019)
  • ISO TC299/WG6 Modularity for service robots (Convener: 2014- present)
  • ISO TC299/SG1 Gaps and structure (Convener: 2017)
  • IEC SC62A JWG9 Medical electrical equipment and systems using robotic technology
  • euRobotics’ Topic Group on Standardisation in Europe as part the Horizon 2020 (Convenor)
  • BSI AMT10 Robotics (UK mirror committee for ISO TC299). Chairman, 2006-2015, now Member.

 

Work Experience

  • Endoenergy Systems Private Limited, Mohali, Punjab, India: Managing Director
  • Endoenergy Systems Limited, Cambridge, UK: Chairman and CEO
  • University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK: Visiting Professor of Biomedical Robotics and Healthcare Technologies
  • London South Bank University, London, UK: Visiting Professor
  • Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Punjab, India: Adjunct Professor
  • Innovative Technology and Science Limited, Cambridge, UK: Technical Director
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden:  Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems
  • Högskolan i Gävle, Sweden: Professor of Robotics and the Built Environment
  • Fachochschule Südwestfalen, Soest, Germany: DAAD Professor
  • Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand: Professor of Robotics; Head of the Engineering Department, Wellington Campus; Mechatronics Programme Leader on all 3 campuses
  • University of Leeds, UK: Professor of Robotics and Control, Mechatronics Programme Leader
  • University of Portsmouth, UK: Professor of Control Engineering; Head of Control and Robotics
  • University of Bradford, UK: Senior Lecturer in Control Systems; Postgraduate Courses Director
  • University of Sheffield, UK: Lecturer

 

Education:

Imperial College London, University of London: PhD and DIC, Control Theory

The University of Manchester: BSc Hons, Electronic and Electrical Engineering

 

Achievements, Awards and honours

  1. Awarded the Freedom of the City of London for services in promoting IT in schools, and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technology. 22166-1:2021, Robotics-Modularity for service robots-Part 1: General requirements, Feb 2021.
  2. Leading the creation of IEC TR 60601-4-1 (Medical electrical equipment – Part 4-1: Guidance and interpretation – Medical electrical equipment and medical electrical systems employing a degree of autonomy; this was published in 2017. The new Technical Report provides guidance on how autonomy should be introduced into medical electrical equipment and how the risk management process should be amended.
  3. Leading the creation of the first harmonised ISO safety standard (EN ISO 13482) for personal care robots allowing close robot-human interaction including human-robot contact; this was published in February 2014. The new standard defines three types of personal care robotics, namely, mobile servant robot, physical assistant robot and personal carrier robot all meant to directly improve quality of life of humans
  4. Following technical papers awarded prizes:
  • Gmerek AJ, Plastropoulos A, Collins P, Kimball M, Sain A, Wheatley A, Liu J, Karfakis PT, Shah K, Carroll J and Virk GS, A novel holonomic mobile manipulator robot for construction sites, Proc CLAWAR’18, pp 173-182, 2018 (paper highly commended by Industrial Robot Journal).
  • Christensen S, Bai S, Rafique S and Isaksson M, O’Sullivan L, Power V and Virk GS, AXO-SUIT - A modular full-body exoskeleton for physical assistance, Proc MEDER2018, Udine, Italy, 11-13 Sept 2018 (Best Application Paper Award).
  • Rupal BS, Singla A, Virk GS, Lower limb exoskeletons: A brief review, COMET 2016 (Conference on Mechanical Engineering and Technology), Mechanical Engineering Society IIT(BHU), Varanasi, India, 15-17 January 2016, Paper awarded 2nd Prize for bio-mechanics category
  • Virk GS, Haider, U, Nyoman I, Masud N, Mamaev I, Hopfgarten P and Hein B, Design of EXO-LEGS exoskeletons, Proceedings CLAWAR’15, Hangzhou, China, pp 59-66, 6-9 Sept 2015 (Winner of Application Innovation Award by Maxon Motors (Suzhou) Co. Ltd)
  1. Due to my dedication and determination to advance robotics for the public benefit, I was invited by China to lead their national efforts to lead initiatives to create new robot standardisation activities on Modularity for service robots; this led to international balloting and the creation of ISO TC299/WG6, October 2014 and I am currently leading this ISO work in robot modularity aimed at specifying plug-n-play robot modules both in hardware and software terms. As part of this I am working with governmental agencies and organisations to create robot component supply chains in China and Taiwan.
  2. Appointed as International expert in robotics to Jiangsu HIT Boshi Medical Robot Research and Development Co Ltd, Suzhou, China, Oct 2016-Sept 2019.
  3. Invited to be Advisor on Development of robot technology and safety evaluation, ITRI, Taiwan, 1 April 2017-present.
  4. Invited to join Advisory Board for StraightWalk Innovation Fund in exoskeletons, 2018-present
  5. Invited to be President of the Evaluation Committee of ARGOS Challenge to invent autonomous robots for gas and oil production sites, funded by TOTAL, France, 2014-2016.
  6. Invited to join De Tao Masters Academy, China as De Tao Master of Robotics, May 2015-present.
  7. Invited to be Member of the Executive Steering Group, ABC Robotics, Ben Gurion University, Israel, February 2013-2015.
  8. Invited to be Member of the Executive Advisory Board, Wearable Robotics Association, USA, Oct 2015.
  9. Member of the UK EPSRC’s Control and Instrumentation College of peer reviewers, 1995-present.
  10. Invited to be Member of Editorial Boards for several journals; these include the following:
  • Robotics and autonomous systems, Elesevier
  • Journal of Robotics and Mechanical Engineering Research, Verizona
  • Industrial Robot Journal
  • InTech International Journal of Advanced Robotics Systems
  • Advances in Robotics and Automation
  • SOJ Robotics and Automation.

 

Recent sample publications are as follows:

  1. Convenor of WG6 which formulated: ISO 22166-1:2021, Robotics — Modularity for service robots — Part 1: General requirements, Feb 2021.
  2. Virk GS, Cameron S, Pandey R, Paul M, Sambhav R, Kumar R and Dixit A, Assistive lower-body wearable technology for the elderly, Advances in Robotics AIR 2019, Chennai, India, 2019.
  3. Cheilakou1 E, Tsopelas N, Brashaw T, Anastasopoulos A, Nicholson PI, Clarke AL, Sattar T, Kaur A, Ma B, Shah K, Kimball M, Virk GS, and CorsarM, Digital Radiography Inspection of Flexible Risers in Offshore Oil and Gas Industry, Proc 1st International Conference on Welding & NDT, of HSNT and WGI, Athens, Eugenides Foundation, 22-23 October 2018.
  4. Kimball M, Sain A, Gmerek AJ, Collins P, Wheatley A, Shah K, Liu J, Dissanayakei M, Carroll J, Plastropoulos A, Karfakis PT, Virk, GS and Sattar T, Mooring chain climbing robot for NDT inspection applications, Proceedings CLAWAR’18, Proc CLAWAR’18, pp 321-335, 2018.
  5. Gmerek AJ, Plastropoulos A, Collins P, Kimball M, Sain A, Wheatley A, Liu J, Karfakis PT, Shah K, Carroll J and Virk GS, A novel holonomic mobile manipulator robot for construction sites, Proc CLAWAR’18, pp 173-182, 2018 (paper highly commended by Industrial Robot Journal).
  6. Virk GS, Chinzei K and Brossoit M, Emergence of medical robots and autonomy in medical electrical equipment, Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology, pp 156-159, March/April 2018.
  7. Christensen S, Bai S, Rafique S and Isaksson M, O’Sullivan L, Power V and Virk GS, AXO-SUIT - A modular full-body exoskeleton for physical assistance, Proc MEDER2018, Udine, Italy, 11-13 Sept 2018 (Best Application Paper Award).
  8. Jacobs T, Veneman J, Virk GS and Haidegger T, The flourishing landscape of robot standardisation, IEEE Standards Education e-Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 4, Robotics, December 2017. (located at https://www.standardsuniversity.org/e-magazine/)
  9. Rupal BS, Rafique S, Singla A, Singla E, Isaksson M and Virk GS, Lower-limb exoskeletons: Research trends and regulatory guidelines in medical and non-medical applications, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems 12/2017; 14(6):1-27, 2017.
  10. Riberio MS, Virk GS, Al Rashed M, Kimball M, Correa M, Vera D and Soler J, Pipeline inspection robotic solutions, Proc CLAWAR’17, pp293-300, Porto, Portugal, 11-13 Sept 2017.
  11. Al Rashed M, Kimball M, Vega L, Vera D, Soler J, Correa M, Garcia A and Virk GS. Climbing robots for NDT applications, Proc CLAWAR’17, pp285-292, Porto, Portugal, 11-13 Sept 2017.
  12. Convenor of JWG9 which formulated: IEC TR 60601-4-1: Medical electrical equipment - Part 4-1: Guidance and interpretation - Medical electrical equipment and medical electrical systems employing a degree of autonomy, March 2017.
  13. Haider U, Nyoman I, Masud C, Kim C, Virk GS, user centric harmonised control for single joint assistive exoskeletons, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 13:115, 2016.
  14. Haider U, Nyoman I, Kim C, Masud N, Virk GS, Coronado JL, Modular EXO-LEGS for mobility of elderly persons, Proc CLAWAR’2016, pp851-859, Queen Mary London, UK, 12-14 Sept 2016.
  15. Singla A, Dhand S, Virk GS, Mathematical modelling of a hand crank generator for powering lower-limb exoskeletons, Perspectives in Science, Special issue ICEMS-2016, Vol 8. pp561-563, 2016.
  16. Singla A, Rupal BS, Virk GS, Optimisation of stepped-cone CVT for lower-limb exoskeletons, Perspectives in Science, Special issue ICEMS-2016, Vol 8, pp592-595, 2016.
  17. Singla A, Singh G, Virk GS, Matlab/ SimMechanics based control of four-bar passive lower-body mechanism for rehabilitation, Perspectives in Science, Special issue ICEMS-2016, Vol 8, pp351-354, 2016.
  18. Dhand S, Singla A, Virk GS, A brief review on human-powered lower-limb exoskeletons, COMET 2016 (Conference on Mechanical Engineering and Technology), Mechanical Engineering Society IIT(BHU), Varanasi, India, 15-17 January 2016.
  19. Singh G, Singla A, Virk GS, Modelling and simulation of a passive lower-body mechanism for rehabilitation, COMET 2016 (Conference on Mechanical Engineering and Technology), Mechanical Engineering Society IIT(BHU), Varanasi, India, 15-17 January 2016.
  20. Virk GS, Haider, U, Nyoman I, Masud N, Mamaev I, Hopfgarten P and Hein B, Design of EXO-LEGS exoskeletons, Proceedings CLAWAR’15, Hangzhou, China, pp 59-66, 6-9 Sept 2015 (Winner of Application Innovation Award by Maxon Motors (Suzhou) Co. Ltd).
  21. O’Sullivan L, Power V, Virk GS, Masud N, Haider U, Christensen S, Bai S, Cuypers L, D’Havé M, Vonck K, End user needs elicitation for a full-body exoskeleton to assist the elderly, Proceedings 6th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2015), pp1403-1409, Las Vegas, USA, 26-30 July 2015.
  22. Weng Y-H, Virk GS and Yang S, The safety for human-robot co-existing: On new ISO 13482 safety standard for service robots, Internet Law Review, Vol. 17, pp229-244, Peking University Press, 2015.
  23. Jacobs T and Virk GSV, ISO 13482 – The new safety standard for personal care robots, Proceedings on the International Symposium on Robotics (ISR’2014), Munich, Germany, 2-4 June 2014.