NCCR Robotics is committed to creating and supporting a vibrant network of robotcists and towards publicising the postive effects of robots on our lives. To this end we are… Read more



Through our spin fund, we support the creation of start-ups from NCCR Robotics research projects. The next major step in robot evolution will see robots leave the structured factory… Read more

Start-up Corner

Start-up Corner

Please find following links related to start-up support.If you would like to promote your events through our channel, please contact us at Job openings Computer Vision Internship, Mobbot, Fribourg… Read more

Meet Tribot, the Swiss Army knife of robots for rescue missions

23.02.18 – EPFL scientists are developing a three-legged robot for search and rescue missions that can crawl, roll, jump, and – like a Swiss Army knife – fold away into compact form, all on less power than your standard LED light. Meet Tribot, the three-legged origami robot designed and built by EPFL scientists. Tri- for …

New Master in Robotics at EPFL

Program’s Objectives This program provides education on the theory, technology and practice of intelligent robots, such as mobile robots, wearable robots, robotic manipulators, autonomous and brain-interfaced robots. In addition to classes spanning from electromechanical systems to advanced artificial intelligence, the program offers a large set of hands-on activities where students learn by designing, prototyping and …

Control of trunk posture to improve gait rehabilitation

Recently featured in “Scientific Reports”, a rehabilitation robotic system that controls trunk posture in closed-loop improves locomotor performance during gait rehabilitation after spinal cord injury. To date, rehabilitation robotics has primarily focused on assistive devices that guide leg movements in order to maximize locomotor consistency and effort during training. Despite the importance of trunk posture …

Professor Stéphanie Lacour, NCCR Robotics PI, appointed as New Director of the Center for Neuroprosthetics

Professor Stephanie Lacour, Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology, and NCCR Robotics PI, to succeed Professor Olaf Blanke as Director of the Center for Neuroprosthetics. Professor Olaf Blanke has been at the helm of the Center for Neuroprosthetics (CNP) since 2012. He hands over the Direction of the Center to Professor Stéphanie Lacour on February …

Feedback enhances brainwave control of a novel hand-exoskeleton

EPFL scientists are developing a lightweight and portable hand exoskeleton that can be controlled with brainwaves. The device enhances performance of brain-machine interfaces and can restore functional grasps for the physically impaired. An extremely lightweight and portable hand exoskeleton may one day help the physically impaired with daily living. These are the hopes of EPFL …

Three NCCR Robotics Spin Offs selected in the IMD Start-up Competition 2017/2018

Feeltronix, Fotokite and TWIICE have been selected in this competition. For more info, visit IMD webpage. The Feeltronix breakthrough technology platform stretches the mechanical limits of electronics and provides solutions for robust and ultra-compliant rubber-based systems. Applications include smart bands for the next generation of wearables in sports, healthcare, AR/VR and fashion. Fotokite is a spin-off from ETHZürich’s Flying Machine Arena with patented technology that fundamentally solves …

New NCCR Robotics Spin Fund

The NCCR Robotics Spin Fund committee has granted Hadrien Michaud the Spin Fund for Feeltronix, hosted at Lacour lab. Feeltronix recently received Venturekick stage 2. Read more

Upcoming Events

Date/Time Event Description
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....

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...
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:
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...
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...
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:
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.
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:  
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 
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
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:
8 Oct 2016
12:00 am
Cybathlon 2016
SWISS Arena, Kloten
Please see
6 Oct 2016
All Day
Cybathlon Symposium
SWISS Arena, Kloten
For further information, please see
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

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

An Active Connection Mechanism for Soft Modular Robots

  • Authors: Germann, Jürg Markus; Dommer, Michael; Pericet Camara, Ramon; Floreano, Dario

To date, most modular robotic systems lack flexibility when increasing the number of modules due to their hard building blocks and rigid connection mechanisms. In order to improve adaptation to environmental changes, softness on the module level might be beneficial. However, coping with softness requires fundamental rethinking the way modules are built. A major challenge is to develop a connection mechanism that does not limit the softness of the modules, does not require precise alignment and allows for easy detachment. In this paper, we propose a soft active connection mechanism based on electroadhesion. The mechanism uses electrostatic forces to connect modules. The method is easy to implement and can be integrated in a wide range of soft module types. Based on our experimental results, we conclude that the mechanism is suitable as a connection principle for light-weight modules when efficiency in a wide range of softness, tolerance to alignment and easy detachment are desired. The main contributions of this article are (i) the qualitative comparison of different connector principles for soft modular robots, (ii) the integration of electroadhesion, featuring a novel electrode pattern design, into soft modules, and (iii) the demonstration and characterization of the performance of functional soft module mockups including the connection mechanism.

Posted on: September 6, 2011

Anthropomorphic Language in Online Forums about Roomba, AIBO and the iPad

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

What encourages people to refer to a robot as if it was a living being? Is it because of the robot’s humanoid or animal-like shape, its movements or rather the kind of inter- action it enables? We aim to investigate robots’ characteristics that lead people to anthropomorphize it by comparing different kinds of robotic devices and contrasting it to an interactive technology. We addressed this question by comparing anthro- pomorphic language in online forums about the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, the AIBO robotic dog, and the iPad tablet computer. A content analysis of 750 postings was carried out. We expected to find the highest amount of anthropomorphism in the AIBO forum but were not sure about how far people referred to Roomba or the iPad as a lifelike artifact. Findings suggest that people anthropomorphize their robotic dog signifi- cantly more than their Roomba or iPad, across different topics of forum posts. Further, the topic of the post had a significant impact on anthropomorphic language.

Posted on: March 15, 2012

Anthropomorphism and Human Likeness in the Design of Robots and Human-Robot Interaction

  • Author: Fink, Julia

In this literature review we explain anthropomorphism and its role in the design of socially interactive robots and human-robot interaction. We illus-trate the social phenomenon of anthropomorphism which describes people’s tendency to attribute lifelike qualities to objects and other non lifelike artifacts. We present theoretical backgrounds from social sciences, and integrate related work from robotics research, including results from experiments with social ro-bots. We present different approaches for anthropomorphic and humanlike form in a robot’s design related to its physical shape, its behavior, and its interaction with humans. This review provides a comprehensive understanding of anthro-pomorphism in robotics, collects and reports relevant references, and gives an outlook on anthropomorphic human-robot interaction.

Posted on: August 14, 2012

Anticipation- and Error-related EEG Signals during Realistic Human-Machine interaction: A Study on Visual and Tactile Feedback

  • Authors: Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Perrin, Xavier; Siegwart, Roland; Millán, José del R.

The exploitation of EEG signatures of cognitive processes can provide valuable information to improve interaction with brain actuated devices. In this work we study these correlates in a realistic situation simulated in a virtual reality environment. We focus on cortical potentials linked to the anticipation of future events (i.e. the contingent negative variation, CNV) and error-related potentials elicited by both visual and tactile feedback. Experiments with 6 subjects show brain activity consistent with previous studies using simpler stimuli, both at the level of ERPs and single trial classification. Moreover, we observe comparable signals irrespective of whether the subject was required to perform motor actions. Altogether, these results support the possibility of using these signals for practical brain machine interaction.

Posted on: June 1, 2012

Artificial muscles for soft robots

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

Recent work on soft gripper using an artificial muscle technology was shown at Festival de robotique in EPFL.

Posted on: April 24, 2013

Bi-Modal Control of Vacuum-Powered Soft Pneumatic Actuators with Embedded Liquid Metal-Based Strain Sensitive Skin

Authors: Robertson, M. A.; Dejace, L. M.; Lacour, S.; Paik, J.


Soft robotic systems are composed of active and passively deformable structures which are intrinsically compliant, flexible, and elastic. Although these features offer benefits of adaptability, robustness, and safety, controlling these types of robots is a significant challenge, in part from the difficulty of obtaining feedback from sensors which provide state information without hindering the advantageous material properties which grant these systems their unique mechanical behavior. We demonstrate here the first integration of a flexible, stretchable, liquid metal-based strain sensor with vacuum powered soft pneumatic actuators (V-SPAs) for simultaneous controlled feedback of the soft actuators as well as user input and soft robotic device interaction. The soft sensors which are encapsulated within a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane are directly embedded in the outer body skin of the soft actuators, and can be used to correlate the deformation of the body under vacuum actuation to overall actuator strain or to detect external disturbances. This information is used to compute and control the angle of a rotational 3-DoF actuator module, as well as detect implicit user input control signals by direct interaction without the need for an external control interface. The dual use of embedded sensing shown in this work provides a fundamental strategy for soft collaborative robot applications.


  • Presented at: IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, Seoul, South Korea
  • Detailed record: Infoscience
  • Read paper
  • Date: April 2019
Posted on: May 10, 2019

Bimanual Compliant Tactile Exploration for Grasping Unknown Objects

  • Authors: Sommer, Nicolas; Li, Miao; Billard, Aude

Humans have an incredible capacity to learn properties of objects by pure tactile exploration with their two hands. With robots moving into human-centred environment, tactile exploration becomes more and more important as vision may be occluded easily by obstacles or fail because of different illumination conditions. In this paper, we present our first results on bimanual compliant tactile exploration, with the goal to identify objects and grasp them. An exploration strategy is proposed to guide the motion of the two arms and fingers along the object. From this tactile exploration, a point cloud is obtained for each object. As the point cloud is intrinsically noisy and un-uniformly distributed, a filter based on Gaussian Processes is proposed to smooth the data. This data is used at runtime for object identification. Experiments on an iCub humanoid robot have been conducted to validate our approach.

Posted on: February 17, 2014

Biomimetic Underwater Robots Based on Dielectric Elastomer Actuators

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

Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs), a soft actuator technology, hold great promise for biomimetic underwater robots. The high-voltages required to drive DEAs can however make them challenging to use in water. This paper demonstrates a method to create DEA-based biomimetic swimming robots that operate reliably even in conductive liquids. We ensure the insulation of the high-voltage DEA electrodes without degrading actuation performance by laminating silicone layers. A fish and a jellyfish were fabricated and tested in water. The fish robot has a length of 120 mm and a mass of 3.8 g. The jellyfish robot has a 61 mm diameter for a mass of 2.6 g. The measured swimming speeds for a periodic 3 kV drive voltage were 8 mm/s for the fish robot, and 1.5 mm/s for the jellyfish robot.

Posted on: October 27, 2016

Brain-Controlled Wheelchairs: A Robotic Architecture

  • Authors: Carlson, Tom; Millán, José del R.

Independent mobility is core to being able to perform activities of daily living by oneself. However, powered wheelchairs are not an option for a large number of people who are unable to use conventional interfaces, due to severe motor–disabilities. Non-invasive brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) offer a promising solution to this interaction problem and in this article we present a shared control architecture that couples the intelligence and desires of the user with the precision of a powered wheelchair. We show how four healthy subjects are able to master control of the wheelchair using an asynchronous motor–imagery based BCI protocol and how this results in a higher overall task performance, compared with alternative synchronous P300–based approaches.

Posted on: October 9, 2012