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Search Results for: bio-inspired

by   -   January 21, 2015
The DALER is a winged robot that can also walk.
The DALER is a winged robot that can also walk.

The issue of how to use one robot across multiple terrains is an ongoing question in robotics research. In a paper published in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics today, a team from LIS, EPFL and NCCR Robotics propose a new kind of flying robot that can also walk. Called the DALER (Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot), the robot uses adaptive morphology inspired by the common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus, meaning that the wings have been actuated using a foldable skeleton mechanism covered with a soft fabric so that they can be used both as wings and as legs (whegs).

by   -   January 17, 2012

Ever see a lizard effortlessly run up a wall?

Like most vertebrates, lizards are able to quickly adapt to new environments in a robust way thanks to a special type of movement generator. The idea is that a high-level planner (the brain) is responsible for determining the key characteristics of a movement such as the position that needs to be reached by a limb or the amplitude and frequency with which the limbs should perform rhythmic motions. These high-level commands then serve as an input to motion primitives responsible for activating muscles in the correct sequence. Motion primitives are typically organized at the spinal level through neural networks called central pattern generators (CPGs).

This control architecture has many advantages for robotics. First, once the motion primitives are designed, only high-level commands are required to control the entire motion of the robot. Therefor, instead of planning the positions of all joints, the motion planner only needs to issue high-level goals such as “reach there” or “move your arm rhythmically with this amplitude and this frequency”. This greatly reduces the complexity of planning motions for robots with many degrees of freedom. Furthermore, CPGs are very fast, have low computational cost and can be modulated by sensory feedback in order to obtain adaptive behaviors.

Using this control architecture, Degallier et al. were able to turn the iCub humanoid seen in the video below into an on-demand drummer. Random users at a robotics conference were able to change on-line a score that the iCub was playing or test how well it could adapt when its drums were moved. To show the generality of their approach, they then applied the same architecture to make the iCub crawl and reach for objects. Although one behaviour was rhythmic (crawling) and the other discrete (reaching), the robot was easily able to switch between the two.

interview by   -   November 21, 2008

In our 13th episode we talk with biologist Robert Full from UC Berkeley about the research he’s been doing on animal locomotion and how his insights have been inspiring engineers to create robots. We then talk to expert Auke Ijspeert from the EPFL on his insight on bio-inspired locomotion.

interview by   -   January 22, 2016


In this episode, we celebrate our 200th episode! That’s over 6000 minutes of robot goodness and nearly 8 years releasing interviews with your favorite roboticists. The podcast is all volunteer run, a special thanks to everyone on the team who’s made this possible! And thanks to all of you for listening in all these years.

To celebrate, our president Audrow Nash has invited a team of old-timers from the podcast team, and one of our favorite recurring guests, Rodney Brooks from Rethink Robotics.

by ,   -   January 15, 2016

Last month we caught up with Dario Floreano, the head of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Here we continue our discussion, covering acoustic sensing, multi-drone operations and more. Missed Part 1? Check it out here.

by   -   January 7, 2016

New research published today in the Journal of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics shows that an insect-inspired vision strategy can help indoor flying drones to perceive distances with a single camera – a key requirement for controlled and safe landing. With indoor drones no longer needing to bear the weight of additional sonar equipment, the strategy should hasten the miniaturization of indoor autonomous drones.

by ,   -   December 22, 2015

As head of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, Dario Floreano knows a thing or two about flying robots. In the first segment of a two-part conversation, Waypoint caught up with Floreano to discuss his team’s drone research, the potential applications of such innovations, and more.

by   -   October 15, 2015

Monitoring the ocean for pollution, ecology and climate change effects is a costly and elaborate task, especially in a complex area like Venice, with its lagoon, its many channels, cable and pipe infrastructure, industrial areas, harbor, marshland, and mussel farms. An interdisciplinary team of European scientists is breaking new ground in underwater environmental monitoring with the EU-funded subCULTron project. With a budget of 4M Euros, they are developing the world’s largest intelligent underwater monitoring system that coordinates, communicates and collects data autonomously. The first presentation of subCULTron prototypes takes place at EXPO 2015 in Venice on October 15 and 16.

by ,   -   October 13, 2015
ICRA 2015 Organising Committee
ICRA 2015 Organising Committee

Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer, and heralded symbolic logic by demonstrating future applications for the universal computing machine that Charles Babbage proposed. She was exceptional in her era for her mathematical brilliance, but though she imagined future applications for a multitude of technological innovations, women at that time were not encouraged to speak about or publish their work, so Lovelace’s genius was appended as ‘notes’ onto the work of others and not seen as a major contribution in its own right.

The fact that the contributions of women such as Lovelace have not been celebrated until recently gives us cause to remedy the situation. Now in its third year, our list of ‘25 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About’ is both a shoutout and a call to look at what all these women in robotics have achieved! 

by   -   September 4, 2015

The EU-funded Collective Cognitive Robotics (CoCoRo) project has built the world’s largest swarm of 41 autonomous underwater vehicles (AVs) that show collective cognition. Throughout the year we have been releasing videos tracking the development of the project. This article provides insights and background about some of the videos already online.

by   -   July 29, 2015

CoCoRo30The EU-funded Collective Cognitive Robotics (CoCoRo) project has built a swarm of 41 autonomous underwater vehicles (AVs) that show collective cognition. Throughout 2015 – The Year of CoCoRo – we’ll be uploading a new weekly video detailing the latest stage in its development. This week there are two videos. The first shows a computer animation of  our “combined scenario #1.” The second shows how this scenario was performed by real robots in the water.

interview by   -   July 24, 2015


Link to audio file (35:34). Transcript included.

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Sangbae Kim, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), at the International Conference of Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2015. They speak about an electrically-powered quadruped called the Cheetah 2.