- Alex Zivanovic
Alex Zivanovic is a Senior Lecturer in Design Engineering at Middlesex University. His main area of research is into how robots and humans can work together better by fostering an emotional bond between them. In particular, he believes that if robots exhibit more “natural” movement, it will enable human operators to predict their behaviour. He’s also carried out research into the work of Edward Ihnatowicz, in particular, interactive sculptural works SAM and the Senster (www.senster.com). He’s taken inspiration from Ihnatowicz’s work and has exhibited his own interactive robotic installations.
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More about me:
My full name is Aleksandar Zivanovic, but most people call me Alex.
I’m a Londoner and have lived all my life in the great city (bar a few years at university). My name originates from Serbia, which my parents left over 50 years ago. My father, Predrag, is a retired design engineer and my mother, Mirjana, is a retired mathematics schoolteacher. She still works as a tutor, giving lessons to GCSE standard in the West London area. If you would like to contact either of them, please email me. I have a brother, Stevan, who works in IT.
I went to school at St. Saviour Infant School, then Christ Church C. of E. Juniour School, both in Ealing, and then to Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. When I finished school, I worked for a year at Texaco, before going to the University of Kent at Canterbury (now called the University of Kent). I gained an Upper Second Class (Hons.) Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Engineering (Informatics) and a Masters degree by research in Electronic Engineering. My master’s thesis was on the development of a six-legged walking robot using a transputer to implement a parallel processing version of the ‘Subsumption Architecture’.
After that, I worked for a year and a bit at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington before joining the Mechatronics in Medicine Laboratory, part of the Mechanical Engineering Department of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (now called Imperial College London) in October 1996 and I was awarded my PhD in December 2000. My project was on the development of a haptic robot to take blood samples from the forearm. The robot was called “The Bloodbot” and it caused a great deal of media interest (there were articles published about it in New Scientist, the BBC News website, and BBC World Service website, The Telegraph, and numerous other places). BBC’s “Tomorrow’s World” filmed it in action and broadcast a report on it on Wednesday 7th March 2001. After my PhD, I tried developing the Bloodbot as a commercial product but it didn’t pan out. In May 2002 I became a Research Associate in the same lab, working on a haptic virtual reality training system for knee arthroscopy for two years and then on MRI compatible robots for three years. I went part-time in February 2007 and finally left Imperial College at the end of June 2007.
See a video of me talking about one of my projects at the Dana Centre.
From July 2007 to July 2009 I was a freelance technology consultant and educator, specialising in working with artists and designers to help them realise their designs. I was particularly interested in Physical Computing (sensing and controlling the physical world with computers).
I ran workshops on using the Arduino microcontroller system.
I was a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths, teaching Physical Computing in the Computing Department.
I was a visiting scholar at the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts at Middlesex University.