Merihan Alhafnawi

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My research in BRL focuses on expressive swarm robotic systems that are able to enhance human-swarm interaction. Before joining the FARSCOPE program, I studied Computer Engineering at the American University in Cairo, with my thesis project focusing on multi-agent robotic systems for search and rescue applications. I then joined General Electric (GE) for 2 years as part of the Digital Technology Leadership Program, focusing on software engineering and product management projects. Afterwards, I completed my MSc Robotics with Distinction from University of Bristol and UWE. During my MSc dissertation, I developed the “Robotic Canvas”, which is a swarm system composed of 200+ robots that a human can interact with, through 6 modes of interactions, to produce paintings. I then started my PhD, building on this work to explore the expressiveness of swarm systems. A key parameter of human-swarm interaction is the mutual understanding of the state of the interaction between the human and the swarm. Therefore, the idea of “Expressive Swarms” in my PhD research aims at creating a swarm system that communicates its state in an expressive manner that is easily readable by a human operator.

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