Professor Gurvinder Singh Virk (PhD, DIC, BSc, CEng, FIET, FCIBSE, CMath, FIMA, MIEEE) is Technical Director at InnotecUK in Cambridge, UK where he leads the R&D activities for realising inspection robots for hazardous environments, service robots involving close human-robot interactions and wearable robots for assistive and medical applications. He is also CEO of Endoenergy Systems Limited aimed at commercialising wearable exoskeletons. In addition, he is Guest Professor at London South Bank University, UK.
His current research interests are in wearable exoskeleton robots for wellbeing, climbing and walking robots, robot safety standardisation, robot modularity and inter-operability, social robotics and robot ethics.
Professor Virk holds a PhD in Control theory from Imperial College, University of London, UK. He has held senior academic positions in UK (Universities of Bradford, Portsmouth and Leeds), Sweden (University of Gävle and KTH Royal Institute of Technology) and New Zealand (Massey University) as well as visiting Professor positions in China (Zhejiang University), France (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris), Germany (Fachochschule Südwestfalen, Soest) and India (IIT Ropar). Throughout his academic career, Prof 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 350 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 a UK registered charity), and leading many international externally funded projects (total value of ≈€20 M). He is an excellent networker for research and commercialisation collaborations and passionate about developing mass markets for robot products.
Professor Virk is Treasurer and Trustee of the UK registered charity CLAWAR having the mission to advance robotics globally for public benefit. For this he has been active and leading robot standardisation projects since 2005 when he was invited by ISO to lead the Advisory Group on Standards for mobile service robots (June 2005-June 2006) . The work of this Advisory Group led to the creation of several robot standardisation working groups and the growth in robot standardisation activities within ISO and IEC. He has been a key player in ISO and IEC robot standardisation since then and his leadership roles include the following:
- ISO TC299/WG2: Personal care robot safety Convenor 2006-2016, now Member. The work led to the publication of EN ISO 13482 (Safety requirements for personal care robots) in 2014 under Prof Virk’s Convenorship.
- ISO TC 184/SC 2/WG 7 Study Group on Medical care robots, Convenor from Feb 2009-April 2011 when JWG9 was created with IEC SC62A to focus on Medical electrical equipment and systems using robotic technology. Professor Virk has been the Convenor of JWG9 since its creation in 2011 and the work has led to the publication 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 in 2017.
- IEC SC62A & ISO TC299 JWG5: Medical robot safety, Convenor for both ISO and IEC until recently when Michel Brossoit was appointed Convenor for IEC side and Professor Virk is now Convenor from ISO side. JWG5 comprises JWG9, JWG35 (Medical robots for surgery) and JWG36 (Medical robots for rehabilitation).
- ISO TC299/WG6: Modularity for service robots, Convenor since WG6 was created in 2014. WG6 is working on ISO 22166-1 Modularity for service robots – Part 1 General requirements. The project is due to just initiate the CD2 balloting phase.
- ISO TC299/SG1: Gaps and structure, Convenor during 2017, now Member.
Professor Virk was Chairman of the UK Mirror committee on robot standardisation during 2005-2015.
Prof Virk is also Coordinator of the euRobotics’ Topic Group on Standardisation in Europe as part the Horizon 2020 programme and beyond.
He is actively networking and working with stakeholder organisations in Europe, China, South Korea, Japan, USA and India on linking international robot R&D with robot standardisation to facilitate the creation of new robot markets.
Most notable achievements to date are the following:
- Leading the creation of the following international standards
- Publication of the harmonised ISO safety standard (EN ISO 13482 in Feb 2014) for personal care robots allowing close robot-human interaction including human-robot contact
- Publication of IEC TR 60601-4-1 in 2017 to provide guidance on how autonomy should be introduced into medical electrical equipment
- Awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his work in promoting Information Technology in schools and has been made a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists
- Invited to join Advisory Board, Straightwalk Innovation fund for wearable exoskeletons
- Invited to be Member of the Executive Steering Group, ABC Robotics, Ben Gurion University, Israel.
- Member of the UK EPSRC’s Control and Instrumentation College of peer reviewers, 1995-present.
- Expert evaluator for the EC ICT DG and SME Calls and Expert for EC projects (EMICAB, INTRO).
- Invited to be Member of Editorial Boards for several journals; these include the following:
- Robotics and autonomous systems, Elesevier, 2014 – present.
- Industrial Robot Journal, October 2001 – present.
- InTech International Journal of Advanced Robotics Systems, March 2011 – present.
- Advances in Robotics and Automation, August 2013 – present.