Elias Mueggler PhD defense

Elias Mueggler (Scaramuzza Lab) successfully defended his thesis on June 15th, 2017 with the final grade of Summa Cum Laude. The title of his thesis was Event based Vision for High Speed Robotics. With his research he received several awards, such as: 1. Misha Mahowald Award for Neuromorphic Engineering, 2017 2. the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship, …

Meet the Dillenbourg Lab

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

EPFL- STI Interdisciplinary Robot competition

June 12th, five groups of three STI master students competed in this year’s robot competition. Team 2 (Cyrill Baumann, Julien Di Tria and Shupeng Wei) won the competition with the RoBat robot.

Mori: A Modular Origami Robot

The fields of modular and origami robotics have become increasingly popular in recent years, with both approaches presenting particular benefits, as well as limitations, to the end user. Christoph Belke and Jamie Paik from RRL, EPFL and NCCR Robotics have recently proposed an elegant new solution that integrates both types of robotics in order to …

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.

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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...
7 Jul – 13 Jul 2019
All Day
Summer School on Rehabilitation Robotics
Shangai Jiao Tong University, Shangai
The Summer School on Rehabilitation Robotics will take place at the Biomedical Engineering School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) between 7-13 July 2019. Organisers: - SJTU: Prof. Shanbao Tong, Prof....
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...
23 Nov 2018
All Day
Neuroprosthetics Annual Research Symposium Prof. Stéphanie Lacour, NCCR Robotics PI and Director of the Center for Neuroprosthetics,  announces the First Neuroprosthetics Annual Research Symposium to be held on November 23rd, 2018, at Campus Biotech,...
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...
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...
12 Mar – 14 Mar 2018
All Day
AAAS Science Robotics Meeting
Plaza Heisei, Tokyo
Robert Riener, NCCR Robotics co-director, will give a keynote talk about Cybathlon at the AAAS Science Robotics Meeting in Tokyo, Japan.
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...
25 Jan 2018
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Motor learning and neurorehabilitation: training with or without errors? - A talk by Professor Laura Marchal Crespo Abstract: There is increasing interest in using robotic devices to provide rehabilitation therapy following stroke. Robotic guidance is generally used in motor training to reduce performance errors while practicing. However,...
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/
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...
25 Jul 2017
6:30 pm
ROBOTIK-LABOR AN DER ETH ZÜRICH - TeleZüri Sendung Tune into TeleZüri at 18:30 to hear Robert Riener speaking about all things rehabilitation robotics and Cybathlon. http://www.telezueri.ch/64-show-sommertalk
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  
16 May – 18 May 2017
All Day
Paris, Paris
Read more
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 
5 Apr 2017
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Talk: Hearing the light: Optogenetic Sti
Campus Biotech, H8 Auditorium, Geneva
Hearing the light: Optogenetic Sti by Tobias Moser Institute for Auditory Neuroscience & InnerEarLab, University Medical Center Goettingen, GE. For more information please see the seminar website.
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...
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.
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
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
8 Oct 2016
12:00 am
Cybathlon 2016
SWISS Arena, Kloten
Please see www.cybathlon.com
6 Oct 2016
All Day
Cybathlon Symposium
SWISS Arena, Kloten
For further information, please see http://www.cybathlon-symposium.ethz.ch/
30 Sep – 7 Jan 2016
All Day
The origami robot Tribot from Paik lab is currently at the exhibition in +Ultra Knowledge & Gestaltung in Berlin
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.

DDD20 End-to-End Event Camera Driving Dataset: Fusing Frames and Events with Deep Learning for Improved Steering Prediction

Authors:Yuhuang Hu, Jonathan Binas, Daniel Neil, Shih-Chii Liu, Tobi Delbruck


Neuromorphic event cameras are useful for dynamic vision problems under difficult lighting conditions. To enable studies of using event cameras in automobile driving applications, this paper reports a new end-to-end driving dataset called DDD20. The dataset was captured with a DAVIS camera that concurrently streams both dynamic vision sensor (DVS) brightness change events and active pixel sensor (APS) intensity frames. DDD20 is the longest event camera end-to-end driving dataset to date with 51h of DAVIS event+frame camera and vehicle human control data collected from 4000km of highway and urban driving under a variety of lighting conditions. Using DDD20, we report the first study of fusing brightness change events and intensity frame data using a deep learning approach to predict the instantaneous human steering wheel angle. Over all day and night conditions, the explained variance for human steering prediction from a Resnet-32 is significantly better from the fused DVS+APS frames (0.88) than using either DVS (0.67) or APS (0.77) data alone.


  • Published in: The 23rd IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSC) Rhodes, Greece.
  • Read paper
  • Video
  • Date: 2020
Posted on: October 8, 2020

Decoding bipedal locomotion from the rat sensorimotor cortex

  • Authors: Rigosa, J.; Panarese, A.; Dominici, N.; Friedli, L.; Van Den Brand, R.; Carpaneto, J.; Digiovanna, J.; Courtine, G.; Micera, S.

Objective. Decoding forelimb movements from the firing activity of cortical neurons has been interfaced with robotic and prosthetic systems to replace lost upper limb functions in humans. Despite the potential of this approach to improve locomotion and facilitate gait rehabilitation, decoding lower limb movement from the motor cortex has received comparatively little attention. Here, we performed experiments to identify the type and amount of information that can be decoded from neuronal ensemble activity in the hindlimb area of the rat motor cortex during bipedal locomotor tasks. Approach. Rats were trained to stand, step on a treadmill, walk overground and climb staircases in a bipedal posture. To impose this gait, the rats were secured in a robotic interface that provided support against the direction of gravity and in the mediolateral direction, but behaved transparently in the forward direction. After completion of training, rats were chronically implanted with a micro-wire array spanning the left hindlimb motor cortex to record single and multi-unit activity, and bipolar electrodes into 10 muscles of the right hindlimb to monitor electromyographic signals. Whole-body kinematics, muscle activity, and neural signals were simultaneously recorded during execution of the trained tasks over multiple days of testing. Hindlimb kinematics, muscle activity, gait phases, and locomotor tasks were decoded using offline classification algorithms. Main results. We found that the stance and swing phases of gait and the locomotor tasks were detected with accuracies as robust as 90% in all rats. Decoded hindlimb kinematics and muscle activity exhibited a larger variability across rats and tasks. Significance. Our study shows that the rodent motor cortex contains useful information for lower limb neuroprosthetic development. However, brain-machine interfaces estimating gait phases or locomotor behaviors, instead of continuous variables such as limb joint positions or speeds, are likely to provide more robust control strategies for the design of such neuroprostheses.

Posted on: December 2, 2015

Design and Computational Modeling of a Modular, Compliant Robotic Assembly for Human Lumbar Unit and Spinal Cord Assistance

  • Authors: Agarwal, Gunjan; Robertson, Matthew Aaron; Sonar, Harshal Arun; Paik, Jamie

Wearable soft robotic systems are enabling safer human-robot interaction and are proving to be instrumental for biomedical rehabilitation. In this manuscript, we propose a novel, modular, wearable robotic device for human (lumbar) spine assistance that is developed using vacuum driven, soft pneumatic actuators (V-SPA). The actuators can handle large, repetitive loads efficiently under compression. Computational models to capture the complex non-linear mechanical behavior of individual actuator modules and the integrated assistive device are developed using the finite element method (FEM). The models presented can predict system behavior at large values of mechanical deformations and allow for rapid design iterations. It is shown that a single actuator module can be used to obtain a variety of different motion and force profiles and yield multiple degrees of freedom (DOF) depending on the module loading conditions, resulting in high system versatility and adaptability, and efficient replication of the targeted motion range for the human spinal cord. The efficacy of the finite element model is first validated for a single module using experimental results that include free displacement and blocked-forces. These results are then extended to encompass an extensive investigation of bio-mechanical performance requirements from the module assembly for the human spine-assistive device proposed.

Posted on: November 1, 2017

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

Dielectric Elastomer Actuators for soft-grasping

  • Authors: Shintake, Jun; Rosset, Samuel; Schubert, Bryan Edward; Floreano, Dario; Shea, Herbert

We demonstrate here a configuration of soft actuator which has several features such as, being completely soft, simple, thin, foldable, and stretchable while having uni/bidirectional bending actuation. Theoretically the actuation can be extended to multidirectional. We used Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEA) as a base actuation mechanism, and molded PDMS was used as a substrate of the device.

Posted on: September 5, 2014

Driving a BCI Wheelchair: A Patient Case Study

  • Authors: Carlson, Tom; Leeb, Robert; Monnard, Guillaume; Al-Khodairy, Abdul; Millán, José del R.

Our brain-actuated wheelchair uses shared control to couple the user input with the contextual information about the surroundings in order to perform natural manoeuvres both safely and efficiently. In this study, we investigate the feasibility of using our brain–controlled wheelchair with patients in a rehabilitation clinic. Both user and system performance metrics are analysed. We find that the driving performance of a motor-disabled patient at the clinic is comparable with the performance of four healthy subjects. All five participants were able to complete the driving task successfully.

Posted on: January 23, 2012

Effect of mechanical parameters on dielectric elastomer minimum energy structures

  • Authors: Shintake, Jun; Rosset, Samuel; Floreano, Dario; Shea, Herbert

Soft robotics may provide many advantages compared to traditional robotics approaches based on rigid materials, such as intrinsically safe physical human-robot interaction, efficient/stable locomotion, adaptive morphology, etc. The objective of this study is to develop a compliant structural actuator for soft a soft robot using dielectric elastomer minimum energy structures (DEMES). DEMES consist of a pre-stretched dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) bonded to an initially planar flexible frame, which deforms into an out-of-plane shape which allows for large actuation stroke. Our initial goal is a one-dimensional bending actuator with 90 degree stroke. Along with frame shape, the actuation performance of DEMES depends on mechanical parameters such as thickness of the materials and pre-stretch of the elastomer membrane. We report here the characterization results on the effect of mechanical parameters on the actuator performance. The tested devices use a cm-size flexible-PCB (polyimide, 50 μm thickness) as the frame-material. For the DEA, PDMS (approximately 50 μm thickness) and carbon black mixed with silicone were used as membrane and electrode, respectively. The actuators were characterized by measuring the tip angle and the blocking force as functions of applied voltage. Different pre-stretch methods (uniaxial, biaxial and their ratio), and frame geometries (rectangular with different width, triangular and circular) were used. In order to compare actuators with different geometries, the same electrode area was used in all the devices. The results showed that the initial tip angle scales inversely with the frame width, the actuation stroke and the blocking force are inversely related (leading to an interesting design trade-off), using anisotropic pre-stretch increased the actuation stroke and the initial bending angle, and the circular frame shape exhibited the highest actuation performance.

Posted on: April 22, 2013

Electroencephalography as implicit communication channel for proximal interaction between humans and robot swarms

  • Authors: Mondada, Luca; Karim, Mohammad Ehsanul; Mondada, Francesco

Search and rescue, autonomous construction, and many other semi-autonomous multi-robot applications can benefit from proximal interactions between an operator and a swarm of robots. Most research on proximal interaction is based on explicit communication techniques such as gesture and speech. This study proposes a new implicit proximal communication technique to approach the problem of robot selection. We use electroencephalography (EEG) signals to select the robot at which the operator is looking. This is achieved using steady-state visually evoked potential (SSVEP), a repeatable neural response to a regularly blinking visual stimulus that varies predictively based on the blinking frequency. In our experiments, each robot was equipped with LEDs blinking at a different frequency, and the operator’s SSVEP neural response was extracted from the EEG signal to detect and select the robot without requiring any conscious action by the user. This study systematically investigates several parameters affecting the SSVEP neural response: blinking frequency of the LED, distance between the robot and the operator, and color of the LED. Based on these parameters, we study two signal processing approaches and critically analyze their performance on 10 subjects controlling a set of physical robots. Our results show that despite numerous artifacts, it is possible to achieve a recognition rate higher than 85% on some subjects, while the average over the ten subjects was 75%.

Posted on: October 14, 2016
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