I am a Research Scientist in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. My research is focused on probabilistic methods for localization, tracking and mapping. In particular, I am the perception lead on MIT’s Darpa Robotics Challenge team – a multi-year multi-PI competition developing technologies for semi-autonomous humanoid robotic exploration and manipulation led by Russ Tedrake.

I previously worked with John Leonard in MIT’s Marine Robotics Group. My PhD was obtained from the Signal Processing Group of the University of Cambridge (advised by Simon Godsill).

If you’re interested in my research you can find more information here.

Recent News

  • July 2014: With great shock the MIT community has learned of Prof. Seth Teller’s passing. Seth has been the leader and driving force of our DRC team. Being able to work with Seth during this and other projects has been a great honour – and always wonderfully challenging. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.
  • July 2014: Scott Kuindersma and I organised a workshop on the DRC at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference in Berkeley. The talks have been archived here.
  • July 2014: Our submission to the JFR special issue on the DRC Trails has been accepted. The original submission can be found here.
  • Dec 2013: We just competed in the 2nd stage of  the Darpa Robotics Challenge in Homestead in Florida. After a grueling week under the sun we finished 4th out of a field of 16 from around the world. The competition demonstrated significant advances in the capability of humanoid robots to do the work of humans. There’s lots of details about the competition here and about our team here. This is the MIT team leads and I getting our award from DARPA PM Gill Pratt.
  • June 2013: We finished 3rd in the simulation stage of the Darpa Robotics Challenge. As a result we will receive Boston Dynamic’s amazing Atlas robot and use it to compete in the physical stage in Miami, Florida in December 2013.
  • May 2013: Hordur Johannsson‘s PhD research was nominated for a best student award at ICRA 2013. The paper was entitled “Temporally Scalable Visual SLAM using a Reduced Pose Graph” and is works with a dataset about an order of magnitude larger than previous work and in doing so solves some important scalability problems.
  • December 2012: We’ve overviewed the last 4+ years of aquatic research in the Marine Robotics Group as part of the Springer textbook ‘Marine Robot Autonomy‘ edited by Mae Seto.
  • September 2012: Our man-portable paper picked up some press attention. Some articles are summarised here.
  • August 2012: Our proposal for the DARPA Robotics Challenge has just been funded! I will be the perception lead on what will hopefully be an exciting 2 1/2 year project. Here’s our team’s webpage.
  • August 2012: Our IROS 2012 paper entitled “Sensor Fusion for Flexible Human-Portable Building-Scale Mapping” has been accepted and will appear at the conference in Portugal in October. More details on this page
  • June 2012: Check out Kintinuous – Spatially Extended KinectFusion. The color video is pretty impressive. Its work by our collegues at NUI Maynooth Tom Whelan and John McDonald. Tom is visiting the lab this summer.
  • June 2012: Tom and I gave an invited talk at PCL’s CVPR tutorial in Providence. Our slides are here.
  • May 2012: I gave an invited talk at PCL’s ICRA tutorial on Kinect Localization. My slides are here.
  • May 2012: Our ICRA Kinect Localization paper was nominated for best conference paper in St. Paul, Minnesota 2012 (5 of 2000 submissions). Thanks to Hordur and John for their contributions.
  • April 2012: Overview of the multi-year Feature Based AUV Navigation project has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Ocean Engineering
  • April 2012: High speed localization using only a Kinect at 5m/s. Yes that’s me running like a crazy thing!
  • Feb 2012: A journal paper of work from my PhD has just been published in IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing. You can now view it electronically now. It’s entitled “Acoustic Source Localisation and Tracking of a Time-Varying Number of Speakers”.
  • Sept 2011: We’ve had a great response about our work on 3D Kinect localization. Check out our videos. I’m looking forward to working with the folks at PCL on this at part of a code sprint sponsored by Toyota.
  • May 2011: My paper with Hordur, Michael and John was nominated for one of the best paper awards at ICRA 2011 – one of 20 nominees out of 2000 submission. The approach combined sonar and acoustic AUV navigation within a single smoothing framework. Read the paper here.


I was a PhD student in the Signal Processing Group at the Department of Engineering of the University of Cambridge. Simon Godsill was my supervisor with Andrew Blake as my industrial supervisor at Microsoft Research – who kindly funded my PhD studies. I completed my undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering (BEng) in University College Dublin (Ireland) in June 2004 where I worked with Scott Rickard.

Click here for some research results from my PhD.