Meet the Ijspeert Lab

In the new NCCR Robotics Lab videos we introduce the NCCR Robotics lab, PI, NCCR Robotics members and their work. On this occasion we present Ijspeert Lab.

Release of The Zurich Urban Micro Aerial Vehicle Dataset from Scaramuzza lab

The Zurich Urban Micro Aerial Vehicle Dataset for Appearance-based Localization, Visual Odometry, and SLAM This presents the world’s first dataset recorded on-board a camera equipped Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) flying within urban streets at low altitudes (i.e., 5-15 meters above the ground). The 2 km dataset consists of time synchronized aerial high-resolution images, GPS and …

Approved Education Committee

The NCCR Robotics Steering Committee has officially validated the new members of the Education and Society Committee led by Francesco Mondada.

Dillenbourg and Mondada Labs win Best Paper Award at HRI 2017

Congratulations to the team from the Dillenbourg and Mondada Labs who received the Best Paper Award at the Human-Robot Interaction (HRi) 2017 conference in Vienna, Austria for their work on the Cellulo Educational Robot. The award was presented for the paper “Cellulo: Versatile handheld robots for education” authored by Ayberk Ozgür, Séverin Lemaignan, Wafa Johal, …

Insect-Inspired Mechanical Resilience for Multicopters

Over recent years the explosion in popularity of drones, both professionally and for amateur use, has inspired researchers to consider how to make flying robots as safe and robust as possible. Previous design methods have included producing bulky protective cages or making them as unlikely to crash as possible. Recently, researchers from Floreano Lab, NCCR Robotics and EPFL …

TWIICE finalists in Robotics for Good

20.02.17 – The TWIICE exoskeleton (Bleuler Lab) has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the UAE Robotics for Good competition.


Using the robot Thymio created out of NCCR Robotics, on 24th January a special edition of the R2t2 event took place in America and the Caribbean with 100 kids and teenagers competing.

Teleoperation of robotic hand

Muscular activity contains information on motion intention. By decoding the muscular activity of an arm during reachig-to-grasp motions, Billard Lab were able to detect grasp type in the early stages of a reaching motion which enables fast activation of a robotic hand by teleoperation. Reference: I. Batzianoulis, S. El Khoury, E. Pirondini, M. Coscia and S. Micera …

Past Events

Date/Time Event Description
29 Jun – 3 Jul 2020
All Day
ARCHE 2020
Wangen an der Aare, Wangen an der Aare
ARCHE (Advanced Robotic Capabilities for Hazardous Environment) was initiated in 2017 by the SCDR of the DDPS and is lead together with the Teaching Unit of Engineering/Rescue/NBC, ETH Zurich, and...
13 Sep – 15 Sep 2019
All Day
EPFL Drone Days 2019
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
In 2019, the Drone Days event will happen during EPFL's Open Days (13-15 September) and are part of the institution's 50th anniversary activities. As in the previous years, NCCR Robotics...
13 Sep 2019
All Day
Aviation Digital Transformation Forum
EPFL Rolex Learning Centre, Lausanne
The event will take place at the EPFL Rolex Learning Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday 13 September at the EPFL Rolex Learning Centre. Dario Floreano, Davide Scaramuzza and Roland...
3 May 2019
11:45 am – 2:00 pm
2nd NCCR Robotics Women in Research Lunch
ETH Zurich, HG G3, Zurich
Date: Friday, 3 May 2019 Time: 11:45 – 14:00 Location: ETH Zürich, room ML E 13 Guest: Prof. Dr. Heike Valléry, TU Delft Registration: by 20 April at the...
1 Apr – 5 Apr 2019
All Day
Hannover Messe 2019
Deutsche Messe, Hannover
NCCR Robotics will be present at the Hannover Messe 2019 with a corporate booth and 3 additional booths for its spin-offs: Dronistics FES-ABILITY Sevensense The corporate booth will also showcase...
3 Dec – 4 Dec 2018
All Day
BMI Symposium 2018 "Controlling behavior"
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
Prof. Pavan Ramdya, Prof. Carl Petersen & Prof. Auke Ijspeert (NCCR Robotics PI) invite you to the 2018 BMI Symposium on "Controlling behavior". With this one and a half day symposium, we...
1 Nov 2018
All Day
Swiss Robotics Industry Day 2018
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
The next Swiss Robotics Industry Day will take place on November 1st, 2018 at the Swiss Tech Convention Centre, in Lausanne. All information on the event can be found here:
29 Oct – 31 Oct 2018
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL 2018) CoRL 2018 will take place on October 29-31 2018 in Zurich. The conference focuses on the intersection of robotics and machine learning. CoRL aims at being a selective, top-tier venue...
18 Oct – 19 Oct 2018
All Day
SNSF Site Visit 2018 The 2018 SNSF Site Visit will take place in Bern, on October 18 and 19th. More information will be provided closer to the dates.
8 Oct – 9 Oct 2018
All Day
Aerial Futures: The Drone Frontier @ HUBweek
Boston District Hall, Boston
Swissnex Boston is gathering a selection of some of the most exciting drone exhibitors from Switzerland and the United States to bring to HUBweek. Expect an eclectic selection of UAVs...
31 Jul – 2 Aug 2018
All Day
EPFL Drone Days
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
Some NCCR Robotics laboratories will present demos at the EPFL Drone Days 2018.
2 Jul – 7 Jul 2018
All Day
Wangen an der Aare, Wangen an der Aare
The event took place in the training village of the civil protection forces of the Swiss Federal Department for Defense, Civil Protection and Sport and was used as field test...
26 Jun 2018
All Day
Seminar: Bioinspired Robotics
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
  EPFL Bioinspired Platform invites you to their next Research & Industry Seminar on the topic of Bioinspired Robotics. Join them to learn how researchers and companies and are getting...
1 Jun 2018
3:15 pm – 4:45 pm
Distinguished Seminar in Robotics, Systems & Control The Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems presents: Telerobotic Touch June 1st 2018, 15h15-16h15 Place: ETHZ, Main Building (HG G3) For those at EPFL: a video streaming will take place...
21 May – 25 May 2018
All Day
ICRA 2018, Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center, South Brisbane
Roland Siegward, NCCR Robotics PI, will be a member of the Industry Forum Chairs Committee at ICRA 2018, in Brisbane, Australia. Margarita Chli, NCCR Robotics PI, will give a keynote...
23 Apr – 27 Apr 2018
All Day
Hannover Messe
Deutsche Messe, Hannover
NCCR Robotics has a booth within the Swiss Innovation Pavillion and will be accompanied by 2 two of our spin-offs:  MyoSwiss and Foldaway Haptics and the project "MIRobotics". For more information...
19 Apr 2018
All Day
Forward (Forum de l'Innovation pour les PME)
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
NCCR Robotics will have a booth during this event, hosting two of our spin-offs Foldaway Haptics, and TWIICE.  
13 Mar – 15 Mar 2018
All Day
European Robotics Forum
Tampere Hall, Tampere
The European Robotics Forum (ERF) 2018 hosted over 900 participants this year in Tampere, Finland from 13 to 15th March. NCCR Robotics was present with a booth, hosting two of...
8 Mar – 9 Mar 2018
All Day
NCCR Robotics Annual Retreat
Hotel Ambassador, Bern
The 2018 NCCR Robotics Annual Retreat (Bern, 8-9th March) was very successful, not only in bringing the community together but in achieving its targets in preparation for the next phase...
12 Sep – 15 Sep 2017
All Day
11th Conference on Field and Service Robotics
ETH Zurich, Zurich
For more details and to register please see:
6 Sep – 8 Sep 2017
All Day
European Conference on Mobile Robotics
Paris, Paris
Prof. Davide Scaramuzza will be a keynote speaker at this years European Conference on Mobile Robotics in Paris.
1 Sep – 3 Sep 2017
All Day
EPFL Drone Days
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
From 1 to 3 September 2017, EPFL's Ecublens campus will host the first-ever EPFL Drone Days. This event, which will include the Swiss drone racing championship, a robotics showcase and...
18 Aug 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Seminar: Nanocomposite based Sensing and Monitoring
MED 115 18, EPFL, Lausanne
Abstract: With the advent of information and communication technologies (ICT), the cost effective, robust and accurate sensors are becoming important elements of internet of things (IoT). Polymeric composite sensors that...
5 Jul 2017
12:00 am
RSS 2017 Workshop: Challenges in Dynamic Legged Locomotion
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
The performance of modern legged robots still pales in comparison to their biological counterparts in terms of speed, robustness, versatility, and efficiency. The technical challenges that fuel this gap touch...
21 Jun 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Talk by Prof. Harmut Geyer (CMU) on neuromechanical modeling of human locomotion
ME D1 1518, ecublens Suisse
Research at CMU’s Legged Systems Group Prof. Harmut Geyer, Carnegie Mellon University Abstract: Research at CMU’s legged systems group focuses on three questions: What are the principles of legged...
15 Jun – 16 Jun 2017
All Day
Building Bodies for Brains & Brains for Bodies & 3rd Japan-EU Workshop on Neurorobotics
Geneva, Geneva
Building Bodies for Brains & Brains for Bodies & 3rd Japan-EU Workshop on Neurorobotics Registration for both events now open.
5 Jun – 10 Jun 2017
All Day
Summer School on Rehabilitation Robotics
Biomedical Engineering School, Shanghai
Organised by the Riener Lab, ETH Zurich. For more information please see:          
2 Jun 2017
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
ICRA Workshop on Event-based vision
sands expo and convention centre, Singapore 018971
Tobi Delbruck and Davide Scaramuzza are confirmed speakers. For more information please see:  
24 Apr – 28 Apr 2017
All Day
Hannover Messe
Hannover Messe, Hannover
We will present a booth at the Hannover Messe along with Swiss Robotics partners. To organise a meeting with us please contact 
28 Mar 2017
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Talks: By Professor Fumiya Iida & By Professor Robert J. Full
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
Talks: Model-free design optimization of soft robots: Any hope? By Professor Fumiya Iida (Cambridge Univ.), (14:30 – 15:30). BioMotion Science: Leapin’ Lizards, Compressed Cockroaches and Smart Squirrels Inspire Robots By...
27 Mar – 31 Mar 2017
All Day
Design, Automation and Test in Europe 2017
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
We will be at the DATE 2017 conference presenting a booth with Swiss Robotics partners.  If you would like to arrange a time to meet please contact
20 Mar 2017
6:15 pm – 7:45 pm
Talk: Roboter als Reha-Helfer im Einsatz by Robert Riener
Universität Zurich Zentrum, Hörsaal KOL-F-101, Zurich
For more information please see the official flyer.
18 Mar – 19 Mar 2017
All Day
CoWriter project presented at GES, Dubai
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
16 Mar 2017
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Talk by Prof. Eric Tytell (Tufts University), Quantifying responses to perturbations during locomotion in fish
MED 115 18, EPFL, Lausanne
6 Mar – 9 Mar 2017
All Day
R4L @HRI2017
Aula der Wissenschaft – Hall of Science, Vienna
2 Mar 2017
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Business Ideas @EPFL Swiss Robotics going global
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
2 Mar 2017
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Business Ideas @EPFL
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
13 Feb 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Talk by Dr Diego Pardo (ETHZ) Legged Robots: Stepping out of the continuous and differentiable zone.
EPFL, Lausanne
16 Dec 2016
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Talk: MIT Cheetah: new design paradigm shift toward mobile robots, ETH Distinguished Lecture in Robotics, Systems & Control - Sangbae Kim
ETH Zurich, HG G3, Zurich
19 Nov 2016
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Talk: Insect-inspired technologies for civilian drones by Dario Floreano
ETH Zurich, HG G3, Zurich
9 Nov 2016
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Talk: Rehabilitation robotics - Cristina Santos, Universidade do Minho, Portugal; Dealing with uncertainty in robot grasping - Alexandre Bernardino, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal; Locomotion with the Walkman humanoid robot - Nikos Tsagarakis, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova, Italy.
MED 115 18, EPFL, Lausanne
4 Nov 2016
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Talk: Designing and Controlling Robots for Direct Interaction with Humans by Prof. Alin Albu-Schaeffer, German Aerospace Center, Germany.
ETH Zurich, HG G3, Zurich
2 Nov 2016
All Day
Swiss Robotics Industry Day
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
Please see
23 Oct – 27 Oct 2016
All Day
International Symposium on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics (SSRR 16)
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
Please see
9 Oct – 12 Oct 2016
All Day
Intercontinental Hotel, BUDAPEST, 1052 Budapest
Please see:
23 Sep 2016
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Talk: Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technologies by Dr. Raj Madhavan
ETH Zurich, HG G3, Zurich
13 Jul – 15 Jul 2016
All Day
Workshop on Dynamic Locomotion and Manipulation (DLMC2016)
ETH Zurich, Zurich
Please see the website
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Looking for publications? You might want to consider searching on the EPFL Infoscience site which provides advanced publication search capabilities.

Optic-Flow Based Control of a 46g Quadrotor

  • Authors: Briod, Adrien; Zufferey, Jean-Christophe; Floreano, Dario

We aim at developing autonomous miniature hov- ering flying robots capable of navigating in unstructured GPS- denied environments. A major challenge is the miniaturization of the embedded sensors and processors allowing such platforms to fly autonomously. In this paper, we propose a novel ego-motion estimation algorithm for hovering robots equipped with inertial and optic-flow sensors that runs in real- time on a microcontroller. Unlike many vision-based methods, this algorithm does not rely on feature tracking, structure estimation, additional distance sensors or assumptions about the environment. Key to this method is the introduction of the translational optic-flow direction constraint (TOFDC), which does not use the optic-flow scale, but only its direction to correct for inertial sensor drift during changes of direction. This solution requires comparatively much simpler electronics and sensors and works in environments of any geometries. We demonstrate the implementation of this algorithm on a miniature 46g quadrotor for closed-loop position control.

Posted on: October 16, 2013

Pedagogical Uses of Thymio II: How Do Teachers Perceive Educational Robots in Formal Education?

  • Authors: Chevalier, Morgane; Riedo, Fanny; Mondada, Francesco


Posted on: June 10, 2016

People"s Perception of Domestic Service Robots: Same Household, Same Opinion?

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Bauwens, Valérie; Mubin, Omar; Kaplan, Frédéric; Dillenbourg, Pierre

The study presented in this paper examined people’s perception of domestic service robots by means of an ethnographic study. We investigated initial reactions of nine households who lived with a Roomba vacuum cleaner robot over a two week period. To explore people’s attitude and how it changed over time, we used a recurring questionnaire that was filled at three different times, integrated in 18 semi-structured qualitative interviews. Our findings suggest that being part of a specific household has an impact how each individual household member perceives the robot. We interpret that, even though individual experiences with the robot might differ from one other, a household shares a specific opinion about the robot. Moreover our findings also indicate that how people perceived Roomba did not change drastically over the two week period.

Posted on: November 28, 2011

Performance analysis of jump-gliding locomotion for miniature robotics

  • Authors: Vidyasagar, A.; Zufferey, Jean-Christophe; Floreano, Dario; Kovac, Mirko

Recent work suggests that jumping locomotion in combination with a gliding phase can be used as an effective mobility principle in robotics. Compared to pure jumping without a gliding phase, the potential benefits of hybrid jump-gliding locomotion includes the ability to extend the distance travelled and reduce the potentially damaging impact forces upon landing. This publication evaluates the performance of jump-gliding locomotion and provides models for the analysis of the relevant dynamics of flight. It also defines a jump-gliding envelope that encompasses the range that can be achieved with jump-gliding robots and that can be used to evaluate the performance and improvement potential of jump-gliding robots. We present first a planar dynamic model and then a simplified closed form model, which allow for quantification of the distance travelled and the impact energy on landing. In order to validate the prediction of these models, we validate the model with experiments using a novel jump-gliding robot, named the ‘EPFL jump-glider’. It has a mass of 16.5 g and is able to perform jumps from elevated positions, perform steered gliding flight, land safely and traverse on the ground by repetitive jumping. The experiments indicate that the developed jump-gliding model fits very well with the measured flight data using the EPFL jump-glider, confirming the benefits of jump-gliding locomotion to mobile robotics. The jump-glide envelope considerations indicate that the EPFL jump-glider, when traversing from a 2 m height, reaches 74.3% of optimal jump-gliding distance compared to pure jumping without a gliding phase which only reaches 33.4% of the optimal jump-gliding distance. Methods of further improving flight performance based on the models and inspiration from biological systems are presented providing mechanical design pathways to future jump-gliding robot designs.

Posted on: April 13, 2015

Permanent Magnet-Assisted Omnidirectional Ball Drive

  • Authors: Ozgur, Ayberk; Johal, Wafa; Dillenbourg, Pierre

We present an omnidirectional ball wheel drive design that utilizes a permanent magnet as the drive roller to generate the contact force. Particularly interesting for novel human-mobile robot interaction scenarios where the users are expected to physically interact with many palm-sized robots, our design combines simplicity, low cost and compactness. We first detail our design and explain its key parameters. Then, we present our implementation and compare it with an omniwheel drive built with identical conditions and similar cost. Finally, we elaborate on the main advantages and drawbacks of our design.

Posted on: August 2, 2016

Quadrupedal locomotion using hierarchical operational space control

  • Authors: Hutter, M.; Sommer, H.; Gehring, C.; Hoepflinger, M.; Bloesch, M.; Siegwart, R.

This paper presents the application of operational space control based on hierarchical task optimization for quadrupedal locomotion. We show how the behavior of a complex robotic machine can be described by a simple set of least squares problems with different priorities for motion, torque, and force optimization. Using projected dynamics of floating base systems with multiple contact points, the optimization dimensionality can be reduced or decoupled such that the formulation is purely based on the inversion of kinematic system properties. The present controller is extensively tested in various experiments using the fully torque controllable quadrupedal robot StarlETH. The load distribution is optimized for static walking gaits to improve contact stability and/or actuator efficiency under various terrain conditions. This is augmented with simultaneous joint position and torque limitations as well as with an interpolation method to ensure smooth contact transitions. The same control structure is further used to stabilize dynamic trotting gaits under significant external disturbances such as uneven ground or pushes. To the best of our knowledge, this work is the first documentation of static and dynamic locomotion with pure task-space inverse dynamics (no joint position feedback) control.

Posted on: July 16, 2014

R2T2 : Robotics to Integrate Educational Efforts in South Africa and Europe

  • Authors: Mondada, Francesco; Bonnet, Evgeniia; Davrajh, Shaniel; Johal, Wafa; Stopforth, Riaan

This paper presents the first cross-continental collaborative robotic event based around education. It was entitled R2T2 and it involved more than 100 children from Europe and Africa. Based on remote programming, video streaming feedback, and a scenario of collaborative space rescue, R2T2 focused on pedagogical elements that are fundamentally different than those characterizing classic robotic competitions. The value of these educational actions is shown through the results of a survey conducted among the participants; the working methodologies by the African students were significantly enhanced and there was a broad inclusion in general, despite the fact that some gender issues lingered. This paper’s contribution is to demonstrate an approach to implementing a north-south collaboration to get school students excited about robotics and the problem-solving skills required in engineering.

Posted on: June 10, 2016

Ranger, an Example of Integration of Robotics into the Home Ecosystem

  • Authors: Mondada, Francesco; Fink, Julia; Lemaignan, Séverin; Mansolino, David; Wille, Florian; Franinović, Karmen

This paper presents the concept and an example of robject, a robotic entity embedded in an everyday object. Robjects use the affordance of the original object to ensure an efficient interaction and a high acceptance. The example of the ranger robot shows that this approach can be applied to the domestic environment. We explore the integration of a robot (robject) into a family household, by regarding the home as a ecosystem, which consists of people, parts, products, activities, and interactions. A test of the ranger robot in families validates this holistic approach and shows the impact of this type of design in respect to the complexity of the robotic system.

Posted on: September 3, 2014

Real-Time High-Accuracy 2D Localization with Structured Patterns

  • Authors: Hostettler, Lukas Oliver; Ozgur, Ayberk; Lemaignan, Séverin; Dillenbourg, Pierre; Mondada, Francesco

Building over algorithms previously developed for digital pens, this article introduces a novel 2D localization technique for mobile robots, based on simple printed patterns. This method combines high absolute accuracy (below 0.3mm), unlimited scalability, low computational requirements (the presented open-source implementation runs at above 45Hz on a low-cost microcontroller) and low cost (below 30 Euros per device at prototype stage). The article first presents the underlying algorithms and localization pipeline. It then describes our reference hardware and software implementations, and finally evaluates the performance of this technique for mobile robots.

Posted on: March 3, 2016

Roomba is not a Robot; AIBO is still Alive! Anthropomorphic Language in Online Forums

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Mubin, Omar; Kaplan, Frédéric; Dillenbourg, Pierre

Anthropomorphism describes people’s tendency to ascribe humanlike qualities to non-human artifacts, such as robots. We investigated anthropomorphic language in 750 posts of online forums about the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, the AIBO robotic dog and the iPad tablet computer. Results of this content analysis suggest a significant difference for anthropomorphic language usage among the three technologies. In contrast to Roomba and iPad, the specific characteristics of the robotic dog enhanced a more social interaction and lead people to use considerably more anthropomorphic language.

Posted on: November 28, 2011