My background’s in software and using computer vision to recognise and track moving objects, but I’ve always been interested in robotics.
I studied computer engineering in Pakistan and worked as a lab engineer. Following that, I completed a masters in the UK which started me down the computer vision route. I did some lecturing back at my undergraduate university, then won a scholarship from Loughborough University to do a PhD in computer vision.
This led into my role as a research engineer at a small start-up that was a spin-off from the University of Oxford. Yet I wanted to work for a bigger company with longer-running projects, and a focus on research.
I joined Dyson in February 2018 and got what I was looking for – learning and time dedicated to research. The project I’m working on now revolves around computer vision. There’s so much research going on here, which I’m doing alongside development – a good combination.
My team works at the early research stage. It’s exciting because we’re setting the direction for new products and new ventures for Dyson. It’s already a big team, and still growing.
For every research problem that is given to me, I work collaboratively to bring it to the prototype stage, then test the idea to see if it works. If the prototype fulfills the set requirements then it is handed over to the product development team to take it forward from there. The Malmesbury campus is a great working environment because it provides all the facilities you need to do that.
I’ve developed knowledge and advanced skills, learning how robotic systems come together and how to integrate computer vision and machine learning in such systems to build smarter robots. We’re combining new concepts and cutting-edge technology across computer vision and AI. It gives me the opportunity to work on novel research challenges, which is what makes my role both unique and challenging.