Nicolas Sommer PhD defense

Nicolas Sommer’s, (Billard Lab), public thesis defense will take place 19th May at EPFL, the title will be Multi-contact tactile exploration and interaction with unknown objects.

Jonas Buchli

We would like to inform our members that Jonas Buchli ceased his activities with NCCR Robotics end of March 2017. He will be taking up a position in the private sector and will continue the PhD supervision of Alexander Winkler until his graduation. Algorithms and Software developed at Jonas’ lab are or will be published open-source …

Twiice & Cybathlon in Japan

TWIICE presented their exoskeleton project at Medtec Asia and at the Technology and Social Inclusion. The Cybathlon Approach was also featured in Tokyo, organised by the Swiss Science and Technology Office.

Launch of the Chairless Chair

NCCR Robotics spin-off noonee, announced the start of series production and sales launch of their Chairless Chair which was nominated for Hermese Award 2017…Read more

Zurich Urban Micro Aerial Vehicle Dataset

Scaramuzza Lab released the Zurich Urban Micro Aerial Vehicle Dataset. The first public, large-scale dataset recorded with a drone in an urban environment… Read more

Meet the Paik Lab

Welcome to the second of our Lab videos section where we introduce the NCCR Robotics lab, PI, NCCR Robotics members and their work. On this occasion we present Paik Lab.

Stroke patients take the lead in their rehabilitation

EPFL and NCCR Robotics spin-off Intento has developed a patient-controlled electrical-stimulation device that helps stroke victims regain mobility in paralyzed arms. The promising results of the first clinical study are published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Read more.

HFSP Awards – Research Grants

Auke Ijspeert was listed as one of the winners of the 2017 awards for Research Grants (Program Grants) from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP). Read more  

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Upcoming Events

Date/Time Event Description
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...
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...

Past Events

Date/Time Event Description
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: https://ethz.doodle.com/poll/qxet6yvyw7qpui94 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: 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
ARCHE
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
http://r4l.epfl.ch/HRI2017
2 Mar 2017
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Business Ideas @EPFL Swiss Robotics going global
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
www.ifj.ch/cti-epfl
2 Mar 2017
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Business Ideas @EPFL
SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens
http://www.ifj.ch/cti-epfl
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
WORKSHOP ON BRAIN-MACHINE INTERFACES (SMC 2016)
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/
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Looking for publications? You might want to consider searching on the EPFL Infoscience site which provides advanced publication search capabilities.

Localizing an Odor Source and Avoiding Obstacles: Experiments in a Wind Tunnel using Real Robots

  • Authors: Lochmatter, Thomas; Heiniger, Nicolas; Martinoli, Alcherio

We report on real-robot odor source localization experiments carried out in an environment with obstacles in the odor plume. The robot was equipped with an ethanol sensor and a wind direction sensor, and the experiments were carried out in a wind tunnel, i.e. in a controlled environment. An enhanced version of the surge-spiral algorithm was used, which was augmented with a dedicate behavior to manage obstacles (avoid them, or follow their contour). We compare the results in terms of distance overhead and success rate, and discuss the impact of obstacles on plume traversal.

Posted on: March 16, 2009

Method to determine a direction and amplitude of a current velocity estimate of a moving device

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

A new method for the estimation of ego-motion (the direction and amplitude of the velocity) of a mobile device comprising optic-flow and inertial sensors (hereinafter the apparatus). The velocity is expressed in the apparatus’s reference frame, which is moving with the apparatus. The method relies on short-term inertial navigation and the direction of the translational optic- flow in order to estimate ego-motion, defined as the velocity estimate (that describes the speed amplitude and the direction of motion).A key characteristic of the invention is the use of optic- flow without the need for any kind of feature tracking. Moreover, the algorithm uses the direction of the optic-flow and does not need the amplitude, thanks to the fact that the scale of the velocity is solved by the use of inertial navigation and changes in direction of the apparatus.

Posted on: September 22, 2015

Miniature curved artificial compound eyes

  • Authors: Floreano, Dario; Pericet Camara, Ramon; Viollet, Stéphane; Ruffier, Franck; Brückner, Andreas; Leitel, Robert; Buss, Wolfgang; Menouni, Mohsine; Expert, Fabien; Juston, Raphäel; Dobrzynski, Michal Karol; L"Eplattenier, Géraud; Recktenwald, Fabian; Mallot, Hanspeter A.; Franceschini, Nicolas

In most animal species, vision is mediated by compound eyes, which offer lower resolution than vertebrate single-lens eyes, but significantly larger fields of view with negligible distortion and spherical aberration, and high temporal resolution in a tiny package. Compound eyes are ideally suited for fast panoramic motion perception. Engineering a miniature artificial compound eye is challenging, because it requires accurate alignment of the photoreceptive and optical components on a curved surface. Here we describe a novel design method for biomimetic compound eyes featuring a panoramic, undistorted field of view in a very thin package. The design consists of three planar layers of separately produced arrays, namely, a microlens array, a neuromorphic photodetector array and a flexible printed circuit board, that are stacked, cut and curved to produce a mechanically flexible imager. Following this method, we have prototyped and characterized an artificial compound eye bearing a hemispherical field of view with embedded and programmable low-power signal processing, high temporal resolution, and local adaptation to illumination. The prototyped artificial compound eye possesses several characteristics similar to the eye of the fruit fly Drosophila and other arthropod species. This design method opens up new vistas for a broad range of applications where wide field motion detection is at a premium, such as collision-free navigation of terrestrial and aerospace vehicles, and for the experimental testing of insect vision theories.

Posted on: April 25, 2013

Minimalistic Models of an Energy Efficient Vertical Hopping Robot

  • Authors: Yu, Xiaoxiang; Iida, Fumiya

The use of free vibration in elastic structure can lead to energy efficient robot locomotion, since it significantly reduces the energy expenditure if properly designed and controlled. However, it is not well understood how to harness the dynamics of free vibration for the robot locomotion, because of the complex dynamics originated in discrete events and energy dissipation during locomotion. From this perspective, the goal of this paper is to propose a design strategy of hopping robot based on elastic curved beams and actuated rotating masses, and identify the minimalistic model that can characterize the basic principle of robot locomotion. Since the robot mainly exhibits vertical hopping, three one-dimensional models are examined that contain different configurations of simple spring-damper-mass components. The real-world and simulation experiments show that one of the models best characterizes the robot hopping, through analyzing the basic kinematics and negative works in actuation. Based on this model, the self-stability of hopping motion under disturbances is investigated and design and control parameters are analyzed for the energy efficient hopping. Additionally, further analyses show that this robot can achieve the energy efficient hopping with the variation in payload, and the source of energy dissipation of the robot hopping is investigated.

Posted on: September 9, 2013

Mori: A Modular Origami Robot

  • Authors: Belke, Christoph; Paik, Jamie

This paper proposes a new robotic platform based on origami robots and reconfigurable modular robots. The concept combines the advantages of both robot types into a mobile, quasi-two-dimensional, lattice-type reconfigurable modular origami robot, Mori. A detailed description and analysis of the concept is validated by the presentation of a first prototype that incorporates the key functionalities of the proposed system. The modular robot prototype is mobile, can be connected to other modules of its kind, and fold up to create task-specific three-dimensional reconfigurable structures. Three implementations using the prototype in different configurations are presented in form of individual modules, modular reconfigurable surfaces, and applied to closed-loop object manipulation. The experiments highlight the capabilities and advantages of the system with respect to modularity, origami-folding, mobility, and versatility.

Posted on: April 20, 2017

Motivating Children to Tidy up their Toys with a Robotic Box

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

The poster presents the evaluation of our prototype, called “Ranger”, which is a robotic box that aims to motivate young children to tidy up their room. The robot was tested in 14 families with 31 children (2-10 years) using the Wizard-of-Oz technique. We found that the way in which children interacted with the robotic box was impacted by how active it behaved. Significantly more toys were put in the box in the passive robot condition compared to children’s more playful and explorative behavior in the active robot condition. Our results hold important implications for the design of interactive robots for children.

Posted on: March 13, 2013

On the Need for Both Internal and External Context Awareness for Reliable BCIs

  • Authors: Carlson, Tom; Saeedi, Sareh; Chavarriaga Lozano, Ricardo; Millán, José del R.

In this paper we argue that for brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) to be used reliably for extended periods of time, they must be able to adapt to the user’s evolving needs. This adaptation should not only be a function of the environmental (external) context, but should also consider the internal context, such as cognitive states and brain signal reliability. We demonstrate two successful approaches to modulating the level of assistance: by using online task performance metrics; and by monitoring the reliability of the BCI decoders. We then describe how these approaches could be fused together, resulting in a more user-centred solution.

Posted on: April 29, 2013

Online learning and adaptation of patient support during ADL training

  • Authors: Guidali, M.; Schlink, P.; Duschau-Wicke, A.; Riener, R.

Neurological patients with impaired upper limbs often receive arm therapy to restore or relearn lost motor functions. During the last years robotic devices were developed to assist the patient during the training. In daily life the diversity of movements is large because the human arm has many degrees of freedom and is used as a manipulandum to interact with the environment. To support a patient during the training the amount of support should be adapted in an assist-as-needed manner. We propose a method to learn the arm support needed during the training of activities of daily living (ADL) with an arm rehabilitation robot. The model learns the performance of the patient and creates an impairment space with a radial basis function network that can be used to assist the patient together with a patient-cooperative control strategy. Together with the arm robot ARMin the learning algorithm was evaluated. The results showed that the proposed model is able to learn the required arm support for different movements during ADL training. © 2011 IEEE.

Posted on: March 13, 2012

Online Modulation of the Level of Assistance in Shared Control Systems

  • Authors: Carlson, Tom; Leeb, Robert; Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Millán, José del R.

In this paper we propose a method to modulate the level of assistance provided by a shared controller, not only given the environmental context, but also according to the context of the user’s current behaviour. We show that the enhanced situational context can be adequately captured by using online performance metrics (such as those more usually found in the evaluation of shared control systems). The resultant controller not only allows the user to perform better in the primary task (like many shared control systems), but has also has increased the level of user acceptance, due to the personalised dynamics of the control policy.

Posted on: August 15, 2012

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
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