Internships and Fellowships

09.01.17 – We are pleased to announce that three women Master’s internships and four PhD/Postdoc fellowships have been awarded for Y7.Read more

Scaramuzza Lab Honoured in 2016 World Robotics Report

09.01.17 – Scaramuzza Lab was one of the three outstanding research labs to present their research portfolio, experimental resources and fields of activity in the World Robotics Service Robots 2016 Report.World Robotics Service Robots 2016 Report

Artificial feathers take flight

16.12.16 – Bioinspired robots that take their designs from biology has been a big research area in recent years, but a team from NCCR Robotics, Floreano Lab have just gone one step further and designed a feathered drone to fully replicate the agile flight of birds.Small winged drones can experience sudden and extreme variations in aerodynamic conditions, for …

Hutter Lab win IEEE RAS best paper award 2016

14.12.16 – Congratulations to the Hutter Lab who won the IEEE RAS best paper award at IROS 2016 for their paper “ANYmal – a Highly Mobile and Dynamic Quadrupedal Robot”. Read more.

Open Postdoc positions

07.12.16 – We are looking for two Postdocs in soft wearable robotics.*****Postdoc in Soft Wearable Robotics: Kinetic / Haptic feedback The EPFL Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (Prof. Dario Floreano, and the EPFL Translational Neural Engineering Lab (Prof. Silvestro Micera, http:// invite applications for a postdoctoral fellowship in wearable technologies for human-robot interaction. The postdoc will work …

Intento win 130k at Venture Kick

30.11.16 – Congratulations to our spin fund winners Intento, who have won 130k CHF at Venture Kick. Read more.

Release of the Event-Camera Dataset for SLAM Applications

NCCR Robotics are very happy to announce the release of the first public collection of datasets recorded with an event camera (DAVIS) for pose estimation, visual odometry, and SLAM applications! The data also include intensity images, inertial measurements, ground truth from a motion-capture system, synthetic data, as well as an event camera simulator that allows …

A Composite Thread that Varies in Rigidity

27.10.16 – Soft “hardware” components are becoming more and more popular solutions within the field of robotics. In fact, softness, compliance and foldability bring significant advantages to devices, by allowing conformability and safe interactions with users, objects and unstructured environments. However, for some applications the softness of components adversely reduces the range of forces that …

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

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

The Role of Environmental and Controller Complexity in the Distributed Optimization of Multi-Robot Obstacle Avoidance

  • Authors: Di Mario, Ezequiel; Navarro, Iñaki; Martinoli, Alcherio

The ability to move in complex environments is a fundamental requirement for robots to be a part of our daily lives. Increasing the controller complexity may be a desirable choice in order to obtain an improved performance. However, these two aspects may pose a considerable challenge on the optimization of robotic controllers. In this paper, we study the trade-offs between the complexity of reactive controllers and the complexity of the environment in the optimization of multi-robot obstacle avoidance for resource-constrained platforms. The optimization is carried out in simulation using a distributed, noise-resistant implementation of Particle Swarm Optimization, and the resulting controllers are evaluated both in simulation and with real robots. We show that in a simple environment, linear controllers with only two parameters perform similarly to more complex non-linear controllers with up to twenty parameters, even though the latter ones require more evaluation time to be learned. In a more complicated environment, we show that there is an increase in performance when the controllers can differentiate between front and backwards sensors, but increasing further the number of sensors and adding non-linear activation functions provide no further benefit. In both environments, augmenting reactive control laws with simple memory capabilities causes the highest increase in performance. We also show that in the complex environment the performance measurements are noisier, the optimal parameter region is smaller, and more iterations are required for the optimization process to converge.

Posted on: March 4, 2014

Theoretical Analysis of Three Bio-Inspired Plume Tracking Algorithms

  • Authors: Lochmatter, Thomas; Martinoli, Alcherio

We derive the theoretical performance of three bio-inspired odor source localization algorithms (casting, surge-spiral and surge-cast) in laminar wind flow. Based on the geometry of the trajectories and the wind direction sensor error, we calculate the distribution of the distance overhead and the mean success rate using Bayes inference. Our approach is related to particle filtering and produces smooth output distributions. The results are compared to existing real-robot and simulation results, and a good match is observed.

Posted on: March 16, 2009


  • Author: Riedo, Fanny

Technology is now an important part of our lives. We often see robots cited as the future of education, and reports of their imminent entrance in schools. New projects create buzz in the media and online, but when we look at the actual situation, very few robots are currently used in education, and most of the time, the platform used is the Lego Mindstorms. Why so little diversity? What do robot actually bring to the learning experience? How can we design good educational robots? Hopes are that they bring additional motivation to pupils. Since the use of robots is fun, the learning is supposed to become easier. Robot projects and activities are also expected to foster thinking skills, collaboration, and creative spirit. Finally, there is a need to educate people on technology for two reasons. The first is to break the "black box" image they have of technology, and the second is to encourage them into technical careers. Thanks to the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics (NCCR Robotics), we could develop some innovative concepts in educational robotics, and implement one such pedagogical tool. We designed a small wheeled robot with many sensors, and LEDs making its internal state apparent to the user. A simple, white look makes it a neutral base for creating one’s own application, for all age and gender groups. Different user interfaces allow to make it accessible to everybody: • Pre-programmed behaviours that demonstrate its different possibilities • A Visual Programming Language (VPL), without text and based on event-action pairs • The Aseba script language (text-based), with a comprehensive development environment to accompany and inform the user The resulting platform, Thymio II, is completely open-source and open-hardware. It was mass-produced and commercialised at a low cost. This gave the opportunity to evaluate the public’s response to it. We could assess that the robot design is well received and appreciated by different age and gender groups. It seems particularly popular with girls. We analysed the expectations of the different age categories and proposed activities that fitted their specific needs. We could also validate that users of Thymio II learn notions of programming, understand essential concepts such as what sensors are, what is the relationship between the robot, the computer, and the programming environment. With the VPL, they could quickly grasp the meaning of events and event-action pairs. We realised that in spite of the interest it generated, the robot was not used much at home or in schools. We think that there is a need for more guidance and that parallels should be drawn with e-learning for the use at home. In schools, we observed that teachers who use robots are pioneers, who invest time and sometimes money into new technologies out of personal interest. The others do not feel strongly against robotics but are probably discouraged by the lack of institutional injunction, appropriate training, budget, and ready-to-use pedagogical materials. At the end of this work, we conclude by giving a set of guidelines, based on our experience, for the design of educational robots. This project demonstrated very promising results and we believe that it can be a first step toward renewing teaching habits.

Posted on: March 24, 2015

Towards Long-Term Collective Experiments

  • Authors: Vaussard, Florian Christopher; Rétornaz, Philippe; Roelofsen, Steven; Bonani, Michael; Rey, François; Mondada, Francesco

It is often challenging to manage the battery supply when dealing with a fleet of mobile robots during long experiments. If one uses classical recharge stations, then agents are immobilized during the whole recharge process. In this study, we present a novel approach that employs a battery pack swapping station. Batteries are charged in a rotating barrel, and the robots dock only for the time of the hot-swap process. We attained an unavailability time of only 40 seconds, with a success rate of 100 % on a total of 46 trials. Experiments above 8 hours are performed in three arenas with different configurations, which proves the relevance of our approach.

Posted on: April 10, 2012

Tracking Odor Plumes in a Laminar Wind Field with Bio-Inspired Algorithms

  • Authors: Lochmatter, Thomas; Martinoli, Alcherio

We introduce a novel bio-inspired odor source localization algorithm (surge- cast) for environments with a main wind flow and compare it to two well-known algorithms. With all three algorithms, systematic experiments with real robots are carried out in a wind tunnel under laminar flow conditions. The algorithms are compared in terms of distance overhead when tracking the plume up to the source, but a variety of other experimental results and some theoretical considerations are provided as well. We conclude that the surge-cast algorithm yields significantly better performance than the casting algorithm, and slightly better performance than the surge-spiral algorithm.

Posted on: May 29, 2008

Vision Tape – a novel class of flexible vision sensor for robots and humans

  • Authors: Dobrzynski, Michal; L"Eplattenier, Géraud; Pericet Camara, Ramon; Floreano, Dario

Vision Tape is a novel class of flexible compound-eye-like linear vision sensor dedicated to motion extraction and proximity estimation. This novel sensor possesses intrinsic mechanical flexibility that provides wide-range adaptive shape, allowing adjustable field of view as well as integration with numerous substrates and curvatures. Vision Tape extracts Optic Flow of the visual scene to calculate the motion vector, which allows proximity estimation based on the motion parallax principle.

Posted on: August 31, 2011

Wall-contact sliding control strategy for a 2D caged quadrotor

  • Authors: Bai, Pu; Guerreiro, Bruno; Cunha, Rita; Kornatowski, Przemyslaw Mariusz; Floreano, Dario; Silvestre, Carlos

  Presented at: 18th International Conference on Control, Automation, and Systems, PyeongChang, GangWon Province, Korea, October 17-20, 2018 This paper addresses the trajectory tracking problem of a 2D caged flying robot in contact with a wall. To simplify the contact problem, the models are constructed on a vertical two-dimensional plane, and our objective is to …

Posted on: September 10, 2018

Which Robot Behavior Can Motivate Children to Tidy up Their Toys? Design and Evaluation of "Ranger"

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

We present the design approach and evaluation of our proto- type called “Ranger”. Ranger is a robotic toy box that aims to motivate young children to tidy up their room. We evalu- ated Ranger in 14 families with 31 children (2-10 years) using the Wizard-of-Oz technique. This case study explores two different robot behaviors (proactive vs. reactive) and their impact on children’s interaction with the robot and the tidy- ing behavior. The analysis of the video recorded scenarios shows that the proactive robot tended to encourage more playful and explorative behavior in children, whereas the reactive robot triggered more tidying behavior. Our find- ings hold implications for the design of interactive robots for children, and may also serve as an example of evaluating an early version of a prototype in a real-world setting.

Posted on: December 12, 2013