My name is Alistair Campbell McConnell and  I am currently a Robotics PhD student working in the Computer Science (MACS) department of Heriot-Watt University based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

My predominant area of research is in rehabilitation robotics. At the moment I am specifically focusing on stroke rehabilitation, and how through the use of specific robotic systems the rehabilitative process can be aided or enhanced.


My primary supervisor in the MACS department is Dr Patricia A Vargas, and my second supervisor is Dr David W Corne. I also work with Dr Xianwen Kong in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Outwith Heriot-Watt I work with Dr Adam Stokes of the Edinburgh University Soft Robotics Group.

In addition to my main area of research, I also have keen interests in home automation, hackable robots (such as the Turtle Bot, AR Parrot Drone and Sphero) and I am an enthusiast Maker working on the open source InMoov project.
When I am not found tinkering with robots, I will generally either be playing squash or playing and/or coaching cricket.


Current Work

The Creation of a Novel Robotic Physiotherapy Device for the Purpose of Aiding in Rehabilitation. My current research is on the design and development of a upper body rehabilitation device (Exoskeleton), which can aid in the process of rehabilitation by assisting a patient to move as well as recording, monitoring and giving advice and goals.

Past Dissertations

  • A Novel Robotic Assistive Device for Stroke Rehabilitation (MSC Dissertation)
  • Autonomous Car (5th Year Group Project) (MEng Dissertation)
  • Miniaturized Cell Incubation Chamber with Precise Gas Controls (Hons Dissertation)

Past Projects

  • DARwin-OP Foot Sensors and New Gripper
  • Robot-Robot interaction using DARwin-OP and Nao
  • Rotating Christmas Tree


Heriot-Watt University (2012 - 2013)

Masters of Science (MSc) (Distinction) in Robotics, Autonomous and Interactive Systems with a specialism in Evolutionary and Bioinspired Robotics

Heriot-Watt University (2007 - 2012)

Master of Engineering (MEng), Robotics and Cybertronics

Edinburgh Academy (1993- 2006)

Secondary Education

Publications and Posters

IEEE RO-MAN 2014 Conference: A Novel Robotic Assistive Device for Stroke-Rehabilitation IEEE RO_MAN Paper.


SOPHIA Project: The SOPHIA (Soft Orthotic Physiotherapy Hand Interactive Aid) is a collaborative project between Heriot-Watt University, University of Edinburgh and the International Institute of Neuroscience - Edmond and Lily Safra in Macaiba, Brazil. The project is funded by the Royal Society/Newton Fund award. For more details please visit The Sophia Project .


Mr Alistair C McConnell
Earl-Mountbatten Building, Room G.62
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Twitter: @Ali_McConnell

This is a link to the Heriot Watt Robotics Lab