Over 1000 teachers trained to use Thymio in Switzerland

Over the past 4 years over 1000 teachers in Switzerland have been trained to use Thymio in the classroom, more than half of them were trained last year alone, showing the rapid growth in interest.

Swiss Robotics Industry Day 2017 – extra seats added!

Thank you for your great interest in this year’s Swiss Robotics Industry Day organized in conjunction with digitalswitzerland and supported by the Canton of Vaud! We are happy to announce that some more seats are available at:  http://swissroboticsindustry.ch/register/ Please kindly note that applications for tickets are treated on a first-come, first-served basis and that the overall …

EPFL unveils drone delivery on campus

This summer the PackDrone with Dronistics marked its achievements on EPFL campus with 150 Successful deliveries. Read more

Drones can almost see in the dark

(credit: UZH/Davide Scaramuzza) UZH researchers have taught drones how to fly using an eye-inspired camera, opening the door to them performing fast, agile maneuvers and flying in low-light environments. Possible applications could include supporting rescue teams with search missions at dusk or dawn. To fly safely, drones need to know their precise position and orientation …

A foldable cargo drone

The field of drone delivery is currently very much in the public eye. However, the reason that your internet shopping doesn’t yet arrive via drone is that current flying robots are difficult to transport and store and can prove a safety risk to people. A team from Floreano Lab, NCCR Robotics and EPFL presents a new type of cargo drone …

New soft robots really suck!

Recent advances in soft robotics have seen the development of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs) to ensure that all parts of the robot are soft, including the functional parts. These SPAs have traditionally used increased pressure in parts of the actuator to initiate movement, but today a team from NCCR Robotics and RRL, EPFL publish a …

Control of Motor-Imagery BCI by a User with Locked-In Syndrome

Using Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) as a way to give people with locked-in syndrome back reliable communication and control capabilities has long been a futuristic trope of medical dramas and sci fi. A team from NCCR Robotics and CNBI, EPFL have recently published a paper detailing work as a step towards taking this technique into everyday lives …

Swiss Robotics Industry Day 2017 Announced

Taking place at the Swiss Tech Convention Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland, on 2nd November 2017, the Swiss Robotics Industry Day is an exclusive event for industry professionals to come and meet the labs of NCCR Robotics and the SMEs of the Swiss Robotics ecosystem. The event features talks from invited speakers from both industry and academia, with time for …

Upcoming Events

Date/Time Event Description
13 Sep – 15 Sep 2019
All Day
EPFL Drone Days 2019
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
This year the EPFL NCCR Robotics lab’s drones will again be participating in the EPFL Drone Days. On this occasion, the event will take place at EPFL’s Open House and...

Past Events

Date/Time Event Description
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: http://swissroboticsindustry.ch
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. https://dronedays.epfl.ch
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.   https://forward-sme.epfl.ch  
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: https://www.fsr.ethz.ch/
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 https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~hgeyer/ 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: http://www.sms.hest.ethz.ch/news-and-events/sms-news-channel/2017/01/summer-school-on-rehabilitation-robotics.html          
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: http://rpg.ifi.uzh.ch/ICRA17_event_vision_workshop.html  
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 techtransfer@nccr-robotics.ch 
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 techtransfer@nccr-robotics.ch
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 www.swissindustryday.ch
23 Oct – 27 Oct 2016
All Day
International Symposium on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics (SSRR 16)
EPFL, Lausanne Suisse
Please see http://ssrrobotics.org/index.html
9 Oct – 12 Oct 2016
All Day
Intercontinental Hotel, BUDAPEST, 1052 Budapest
Please see: https://documents.epfl.ch/users/c/ch/chavarri/www/IEEESMC2016_BMI/BMI-IEEESMC2016.html
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 http://www.dlmc2016.ethz.ch/

Looking for publications? You might want to consider searching on the EPFL Infoscience site which provides advanced publication search capabilities.

Development of Bio-inspired Underwater Robot with Adaptive Morphology Capable of Multiple Swimming Modes

  • Authors: Paschal, Thibaut André Pierre; Shintake, Jun; Mintchev, Stefano; Floreano, Dario

Bio-inspired underwater robots have several benefits compared to traditional underwater vehicles such as agility, efficiency, and an environmentally friendly body. However, the bio-inspired underwater robots developed so far have a single swimming mode, which may limit their capability to perform different tasks. This paper presents a re-configurable bio-inspired underwater robot that changes morphology to enable multiple swimming modes: octopus-mode and fish-mode. The robot is 60 cm long and 50 cm wide, weighing 2.1 kg, and consists of a re-configurable body and 8 compliant arms that are actuated independently by waterproof servomotors. In the robot, the octopus-mode is expected to perform unique tasks such as object manipulation and ground locomotion as demonstrated in literature, while the fish-mode is promising to swim faster and efficiently to travel long distance. With this platform, we investigate effectiveness of adaptive morphology in bio-inspired underwater robots. For this purpose, we evaluate the robot in terms of the cost of transport and the swimming efficiency of both the morphologies. The fish-mode exhibited a lower cost of transport of 2.2 and higher efficiency of 1.2 % compared to the octopus-mode, illustrating the effect of the multiple swimming modes by adaptive morphology.

Posted on: October 9, 2017

Distributed Particle Swarm Optimization for limited-time adaptation with real robots

  • Authors: Di Mario, Ezequiel; Martinoli, Alcherio

Evaluative techniques offer a tremendous potential for online controller design. However, when the optimization space is large and the performance metric is noisy, the overall adaptation process becomes extremely time consuming. Distributing the adaptation process reduces the required time and increases robustness to failure of individual agents. In this paper, we analyze the role of the four algorithmic parameters that determine the total evaluation time in a distributed implementation of a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm. For an obstacle avoidance case study using up to eight robots, we explore in simulation the lower boundaries of these parameters and propose a set of empirical guidelines for choosing their values. We then apply these guidelines to a real robot implementation and show that it is feasible to optimize 24 control parameters per robot within 2 h, a limited amount of time determined by the robots’ battery life. We also show that a hybrid simulate-and-transfer approach coupled with a noise-resistant PSO algorithm can be used to further reduce experimental time as compared to a pure real-robot implementation.

Posted on: November 29, 2013

Euler Spring Collision Protection for Flying Robots

  • Authors: Klaptocz, Adam; Briod, Adrien; Daler, Ludovic; Zufferey, Jean-Christophe; Floreano, Dario

This paper addresses the problem of adequately protecting flying robots from damage resulting from collisions that may occur when exploring constrained and cluttered environments. A method for designing protective structures to meet the specific constraints of flying systems is presented and applied to the protection of a small coaxial hovering platform. Protective structures in the form of Euler springs in a tetrahedral configuration are designed and optimised to elastically absorb the energy of an impact while simultaneously minimizing the forces acting on the robot’s stiff inner frame. These protective structures are integrated into a 282 g hovering platform and shown to consistently withstand dozens of collisions undamaged.

Posted on: July 31, 2013

Foldable Drones: from Biology to Technology

  • Authors: Floreano, Dario; Mintchev, Stefano; Shintake, Jun

Current drones are developed with a fixed morphology that can limit their versatility and mission capabilities. There is biological evidence that adaptive morphological changes can not only extend dynamic performances, but also provide new functionalities. In this paper, we present different drones from our recent developments where folding is used as a mean of morphological adaptation. First, we show how foldable wings can enable the transition between aerial and ground locomotion or to fly in different aerodynamic conditions, advancing the development of multi-modal drones with an extended mission envelope. Secondly, we show how foldable structures allow to transport drones easily without sacrificing payload or flight endurance. Thirdly, we present a foldable frame that makes drones to withstand collisions. However, the real potential of foldable drones is often limited by the use of conventional design strategies and rigid materials, which motivates to use smart, functional materials. Lastly, we describe a dielectric elastomer based foldable actuator, and a variable stiffness fiber using low melting point alloy for drones. The foldable actuator acts as an active compliant joint with folding functionality and mechanical robustness in drones, thanks to the compliance of dielectric elastomer, a class of smart materials. We also show re-configuration of a drone enabled by the variable stiffness fiber that can transition between rigid and soft states.

Posted on: May 16, 2017

From Real-time Attention Assessment to “With-me-ness” in Human-Robot Interaction

  • Authors: Lemaignan, Séverin; Garcia, Fernando; Jacq, Alexis David; Dillenbourg, Pierre

Measuring “how much the human is in the interaction” — the level of engagement — is instrumental in building effective interactive robots. Engagement, however, is a complex, multi-faceted cognitive mechanism that is only indirectly observable. This article formalizes with-me-ness as one of such indirect measures. With-me-ness, a concept borrowed from the field of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, measures in a well-defined way to what extent the human is with the robot over the course of an interactive task. As such, it is a meaningful precursor of engagement. We expose in this paper the full methodology, from real-time estimation of the human’s focus of attention (relying on a novel, open-source, vision-based head pose estimator), to on-line computation of with-me-ness. We report as well on the experimental validation of this approach, using a naturalistic setup involving children during a complex robot-teaching task.

Posted on: February 22, 2016

Fuzzy Control System for Autonomous Navigation and Parking of Thymio II Mobile Robots

  • Authors: Boufera, Fatma; Debbat, Fatima; Mondada, Francesco; Khelfi, M. Fayçal

This paper proposed a fuzzy controller for the autonomous navigation problem of robotic systems in a dynamic and uncertain environment. In particular, we are interested in determining the robot motion to reach the target while ensuring their own safety and that of different agents that surround it. To achieve these goals, we have adopted a fuzzy controller for navigation and avoidance obstacle, taking into account the changing nature of the environment. The approach has been tested and validated on a Thymio II robots set. As application field, we have chosen a parking problem.

Posted on: July 26, 2014

Haptic-Enabled Handheld Mobile Robots: Design and Analysis

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

The Cellulo robots are small tangible robots that are designed to represent virtual interactive point-like objects that reside on a plane within carefully designed learning activities. In the context of these activities, our robots not only display autonomous motion and act as tangible interfaces, but are also usable as haptic devices in order to exploit, for instance, kinesthetic learning. In this article, we present the design and analysis of the haptic interaction module of the Cellulo robots. We first detail our hardware and controller design that is low-cost and versatile. Then, we describe the task-based experimental procedure to evaluate the robot’s haptic abilities. We show that our robot is usable in most of the tested tasks and extract perceptive and manipulative guidelines for the design of haptic elements to be integrated in future learning activities. We conclude with limitations of the system and future work.

Posted on: January 17, 2017

How Children Tidy up Their Room with "Ranger" the Robotic Box

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Vaussard, Florian Christopher; Rétornaz, Philippe; Berthoud, Alain; Mondada, Francesco; Dillenbourg, Pierre

"Ranger" is a robotic box designed to motivate young children to tidy up the toys in their rom. It explores the idea of integrating robotics into daily life objects, such as a wooden box. The box shows light and sound when toys are put inside or removed. We carried out a series of field experiments (Wizard-of-Oz) with 14 families to evaluate the first prototype of Ranger. The robot was operated showing two different behaviors: an active or a passive one. We found that the robot’s behavior had an impact on how children interacted with it. The poster also describes children’s and parent’s evaluation of the robot and how the design of Ranger could be improved.

Posted on: November 5, 2012

HRI in the home: A Longitudinal Ethnographic Study with Roomba

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

Personal service robots, such as the iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner provide a promising opportunity to study human-robot interaction (HRI) in domestic environments. Still rather little is known about long-term impacts of robotic home appliances on people’s daily routines and attitudes and how they evolve over time. We investigate these aspects through a longitudinal ethnographic study with nine households, to which we gave a Roomba cleaning robot. During six months, data is gathered through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods.

Posted on: November 28, 2011