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Prof Tom Carlson
Aspire Create (Room M12)
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
Prof Tom Carlson profile picture
  • Professor of Assistive Robotics
  • Department of Ortho and MSK Science
  • Div of Surgery & Interventional Sci
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

Tom Carlson is Professor of Assistive Robotics at UCL, Vice-Dean Education for the Faculty of Medical Sciences, and Head of Education for the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science.  He holds a joint appointment between the Faculty of Medical Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering and his research lab is based in Aspire CREATe, the Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology. Tom is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and co-Director of the MSc in Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technologies. He obtained his MEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering (2006) and PhD in Intelligent Robotics (2010), both from Imperial College London. He then pursued his postdoctoral research in shared control for brain-machine interfaces at EPFL, Switzerland, before joining UCL as a lecturer in 2013. From 2016-2018, he was a visiting professor at LAMIH UMR CNRS 8201, Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut–Cambrésis, France. Prof Carlson also co-directs the INRIA (France) associated team ISI4NAVE (2016-2021), which is developing innovative sensors and adapted interfaces for assistive navigation and pathology evaluation. 

Research Summary

Prof Carlson’s research focus is on the user-centred design of assistive robotic technologies for people with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating pathologies. He is particularly interested in human-robot interaction and is developing shared control techniques for wheelchairs, robotic exoskeletons and brain-machine interfaces. Currently, he has several funded research projects around these themes including CROWDBOT (EU Horizon 2020) and ADAPT (EU Interreg VA FCE), which both focus on shared control for smart wheelchair applications and RESPONSS (Leslie Trust), where he is focussing on the role of a brain-computer interface in spasticity management.

Teaching Summary

Prof Carlson supervises PhD students in topics related to his research interests and often co-supervises students with academics from other departments due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field. 

He is Vice-Dean Education for the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Head of Education for the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, and Programme Co-Director of the MSc in Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technologies, which he set up together with colleagues Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe and Prof Rui Loureiro. On the MSc programme, he leads the following modules:

  • Inclusive Design and Human-Machine Interfaces - SURG0093
  • Group Research Projects - SURG0094

He has also led or lectured on the following modules at UCL:

  • Assistive Technology Devices and Rehabilitation Robotics - SURG0092 (Module Lead: 2016-2021)
  • Applications of Biomedical Engineering - MPHY0039 (2017-2019)
  • Research Methodologies and Transferable Skills - SURG0002 (2017-2019)
  • Medical Sciences and Engineering Research Project module - SURG0161 (2019-2020)

Academic Background
2010   Doctor of Philosophy Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
2006   Master of Engineering (Honours) Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
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