Professor John Billingsley
MA (Cambridge) PhD (Cambridge)
CEng FIET SenMIEEE
Faculty of Engineering and Surveying
University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba, QLD Australia
- John Billingsley graduated in mathematics and in electrical
engineering from Cambridge
University in 1960. After four years working in the
aircraft industry on autopilot design, he returned to Cambridge
and gained a PhD in control theory in 1968.
- He led research teams in Cambridge University developing early
'mechatronic' systems including a laser phototypesetting system
which was the precursor of the laser printer and the 'acoustic
telescope' which enabled sound source distributions to be
visualised (this was used in the development of jet engines with
- He moved to Portsmouth
Polytechnic in 1976, where he founded the Robotics
Research Group. The results of the Walking
Robot unit led to the foundation of Portech Ltd, which for
many years supplied systems to the nuclear industry for
inspection and repair of containment vessels. Other units in the
Robotics group have substantial funding for research in quality
control and in the integration of manufacturing systems with the
aid of transputers.
- In April 1992 he took up a Chair of Engineering at the
University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. His primary
concern is mechatronics research and he is Director of
Technology Research of the National
Centre for Engineering in Agriculture.
- Three prototypes of new wall-climbing robots have been
completed at USQ, while research on a fourth included
development of a novel proportional pneumatic valve. Robug
4 has been acquired for further research into legged robots.
- A substantial project in the NCEA received Cotton Research
funding and concerned the guidance of a tractor by machine
vision for very accurate following of rows of crop. Prototypes
of the system went on trial on farms in Queensland, New South
Wales and the USA for several years. In production form, it was
marketed (without great success) by a major US tractor
manufacturer, CASE IH.
Parts of the system, however, became the successful basis for
interfaces between GPS guidance systems and the automatic
steering of the tractor. Novel techniques are being
exploited in a further commercial project. Other
computer-vision projects have included an automatic system for
the grading of broccoli heads, systems for discriminating
between animal species for controlling access to water, systems
for precision counting and location of macadamia nuts for
varietal trials and several other systems for assessing produce
- He has taken a close interest in the presentation of
engineering challenges to young engineers over many years. He
has promoted the Micromouse robot maze contest around the world
since 1980. With Mark Phythian he simplified the Micromouse
contest to become the Bilby
contest, appealing to eleventh and twelfth year school
- He has contrived machines which have been exhibited in
the 'Palais de la
Decouverte' in Paris, in the 'Exploratorium' at San
Fransisco and in the Institue
of Contemporary Arts in London, hands-on experiments to
stimulate an interest in control. Several robots resulting
from projects with which he was associated are now on show in
the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.
- Previous (lapsed) memberships include Fellow of the Institute
of Acoustics and Fellow of Engineers Australia, with the status
of Chartered Professional Engineer.
- He was awarded an Erskine Fellowship
by the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where he spent two
months February and March 2003.
- In December 2006 he received an achievement
medal from the Institution
of Engineering and Technology, London.
- [MEC 3905] Mechatronics Practice Unit
- [MEC 4406] Robotics and Machine Vision
- [ENG 8001] Research Methodology
- Control Theory and Practical Systems
- Perhaps stemming rom a need to teach Research Methodology I am
interested in theories that are commonly held but may be
Having been a personal friend of Stephen Hawking when I was
researching in Cambridge, I have always had an interest in the
'Big Bang Theory'.
When learning electromagnetic theory as part of the Mathematics
tripos, I attended lectures by Fred Hoyle, who coined the name as
a term of derision.
Go to https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305683053_Ockham_Olbers_and_dark_matter
to see my conjecture about it - I do not grace it with the name
CV with publications. (Edited 2010)
(The last few years' crop includes several conference publications,
journal publications and a book
Check out www.essmech.com and
For more recent publications, see https://eprints.usq.edu.au/view/uniqueauthor/125.html
where I am encouraged to update the publication list more
Another book was published in
May 2006, a further edited book was published in 2008.
Yet another book was published late in 2009.
Editorial board of a journal.
is some light reading below)
Other items of interest:
The thirteenth international conferrence (2006) on
Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice was held in
Toowoomba - click on a link below to see some details of this
and earlier conferences.
Interactive Environment for Simulation.
The 2007 conference was in Xiamen, southern China.
The 2008 conference was in Auckland, new Zealand.
The 2009 conference in Brunei was deferred to 2010. A 2010
conference was combined as a stream of the Southern
The 2011 conference was to be held in Abu Dhabi, but was
transferred to CSIRO Pullenvale, near Brisbane.
The 2012 conference was held in Auckland, NZ, in late November
The 2013 conference will be held in Ankara, Turkey in
September - see www.m2vip.com
Take a look at http://www.jollies.com
- but beware of other sites with Jollies in the name!
Conference: Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice,Hervey
Bay, September 2000.
and Machine Vision in Practice, Toowoomba 1997
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Last updated - April 2010
Contact : John Billingsley / email@example.com