K-ROCK meets his cousin

26.01.17 – Tune in to Spy in the Wild on BBC 1 on 26th January at 20:00 GMT to see NCCR Robotics’ newest robot in action. Producers from John Downer productions for BBC One’s Spy in the Wild first approached Ijspeert Lab, EPFL in 2015 to ask them to create two robots, a crocodile and a monitor lizard, to be …

ANYmal – Best Paper Award at IROS

Congratulations to the Hutter Lab for winning the IROS best paper Award. We also take this opportunity to encourage you to visit the new NCCR Robotics Spin Fund ANYbotics website where you can subscribe to their newsletter.

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

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.

Stéphanie Lacour appointed Full Professor

12.12.16 – Congratulations to Prof. Stéphanie Lacour who has been appointed Full Professor of Microtechnology and Bioengineering in the School of Engineering (STI), EPFL.Prof. Lacour has recently made news with her work in NCCR Robotics with both the e-dura implant and the stretchable solid-liquid electrical film. 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, http://lis.epfl.ch) and the EPFL Translational Neural Engineering Lab (Prof. Silvestro Micera, http:// tne.epfl.ch) 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.

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" 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 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/
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 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 
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.
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) 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.

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

Elements of Robotics

  • Authors: Ben-Ari, Mordechai; Mondada, Francesco

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license. This book bridges the gap between playing with robots in school and studying robotics at the upper undergraduate and graduate levels to prepare for careers in industry and research. Robotic algorithms are presented formally, but using only mathematics known by high-school and first-year college students, such as calculus, matrices and probability. Concepts and algorithms are explained through detailed diagrams and calculations. Elements of Robotics presents an overview of different types of robots and the components used to build robots, but focuses on robotic algorithms: simple algorithms like odometry and feedback control, as well as algorithms for advanced topics like localization, mapping, image processing, machine learning and swarm robotics. These algorithms are demonstrated in simplified contexts that enable detailed computations to be performed and feasible activities to be posed. Students who study these simplified demonstrations will be well prepared for advanced study of robotics. The algorithms are presented at a relatively abstract level, not tied to any specific robot. Instead a generic robot is defined that uses elements common to most educational robots: differential drive with two motors, proximity sensors and some method of displaying output to the use. The theory is supplemented with over 100 activities, most of which can be successfully implemented using inexpensive educational robots. Activities that require more computation can be programmed on a computer. Archives are available with suggested implementations for the Thymio robot and standalone programs in Python.

Posted on: October 27, 2017

Enhancing patient freedom in rehabilitation robotics using gaze-based intention detection

  • Authors: Novak, Domen; Riener, Robert

Several design strategies for rehabilitation robotics have aimed to improve patients’ experiences using motivating and engaging virtual environments. This paper presents a new design strategy: enhancing patient freedom with a complex virtual environment that intelligently detects patients’ intentions and supports the intended actions. A `virtual kitchen’ scenario has been developed in which many possible actions can be performed at any time, allowing patients to experiment and giving them more freedom. Remote eye tracking is used to detect the intended action and trigger appropriate support by a rehabilitation robot. This approach requires no additional equipment attached to the patient and has a calibration time of less than a minute. The system was tested on healthy subjects using the ARMin III arm rehabilitation robot. It was found to be technically feasible and usable by healthy subjects. However, the intention detection algorithm should be improved using better sensor fusion, and clinical tests with patients are needed to evaluate the system’s usability and potential therapeutic benefits.

Posted on: June 18, 2014

Evaluation of Proportional and Discrete Shared Control Paradigms for Low Resolution User Inputs

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

For people with severe physical disabilities, low resolution input devices, such as buttons, sip and puff switches and brain–computer interfaces provide an opportunity to interact with the world. However, it can be difficult to control assistive technology, such as wheelchairs, tele–presence robots and robotic arms, when you have only a limited number of commands available and/or a lack of temporal precision in issuing such commands. These limitations can be overcome by employing shared control techniques, whereby the system assists the user in performing the desired task. In this study we compare the use of a simple discrete shared control policy with a more dynamic proportional shared control policy. We evaluate both approaches on a wheelchair that is only operated by two temporally– constrained discrete buttons. The experiments were performed in two different realistic indoor scenarios: an open–plan, spacious environment and a smaller, more cluttered office environment. A total of 10 healthy participants took part in this study.

Posted on: August 26, 2011

Foldable Drones: from Biology to Technology

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

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

Posted on: May 16, 2017

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

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

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

Posted on: February 22, 2016

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

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

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

Posted on: July 26, 2014

Heading for new shores! Overcoming pitfalls in BCI design

  • Authors: Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Fried-Oken, Melanie; Kleih, Sonja; Lotte, Fabien; Scherer, Reinhold

Research in brain-computer interfaces has achieved impressive progress towards implementing assistive technologies for restoration or substitution of lost motor capabilities, as well as supporting technologies for able-bodied subjects. Notwithstanding this progress, effective translation of these interfaces from proof-of concept prototypes into reliable applications remains elusive. As a matter of fact, most of the current BCI systems cannot be used independently for long periods of time by their intended end-users. Multiple factors that impair achieving this goal have already been identified. However, it is not clear how do they affect the overall BCI performance or how they should be tackled. This is worsened by the publication bias where only positive results are disseminated, preventing the research community from learning from its errors. This paper is the result of a workshop held at the 6th International BCI meeting in Asilomar. We summarize here the discussion on concrete research avenues and guidelines that may help overcoming common pitfalls and make BCIs become a useful alternative communication device.

Posted on: December 18, 2016
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