Field Tests

Field Tests

As part of our commitment to developing robots for use in real world applications, we organise annual practice sessions with professionals from the search and rescue community and take our… Read more

Flying Robots

Flying Robots

Flying robots are useful in search and rescue missions as they can be used to survey large areas of land looking for victims. By using sensors on the robots,… Read more

Press Pack

Press Pack

For a summary of our activities please download our press pack.                 Need more information? Contact our Communications Officer:

Walking Robots

Walking Robots

Walking robots have advantages over other types of locomotion when looking at real world applications: They can traverse unstructured terrains that are too complex for wheeled robots. They are… Read more

A foldable cargo drone

The field of drone delivery is currently very much in the public eye. However, the reason that your internet shopping doesn’t yet arrive via drone is that current flying robots are difficult to transport and store and can prove a safety risk to people. A team from Floreano Lab, NCCR Robotics and EPFL presents a new type of cargo drone …

New soft robots really suck!

Recent advances in soft robotics have seen the development of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs) to ensure that all parts of the robot are soft, including the functional parts. These SPAs have traditionally used increased pressure in parts of the actuator to initiate movement, but today a team from NCCR Robotics and RRL, EPFL publish a …

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.  

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 …

Drone Journey to the Center of the earth

NCCR Robotics spin-fund Flyability has taken part in an expedition that marks a new milestone in cave exploration. For the first time, a drone has been used – for a scientific purpose… Read more

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 …

Zurich Urban Micro Aerial Vehicle Dataset

Scaramuzza Lab released the Zurich Urban Micro Aerial Vehicle Dataset. The first public, large-scale dataset recorded with a drone in an urban environment… Read more

Past Events

Date/Time Event Description
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/
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...
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...
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 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
http://r4l.epfl.ch/HRI2017
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
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
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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A review: Can robots reshape K-12 STEM education?

  • Authors: Karim, Mohammad Ehsanul; Lemaignan, Séverin; Mondada, Francesco

Can robots in classroom reshape K-12 STEM education, and foster new ways of learning? To sketch an answer, this article reviews, side-by-side, existing literature on robot-based learning activities featuring mathematics and physics (purposefully putting aside the well-studied field of "robots to teach robotics") and existing robot platforms and toolkits suited for classroom environment (in terms of cost, ease of use, orchestration load for the teacher, etc.). Our survey suggests that the use of robots in classroom has indeed moved from purely technology to education, to encompass new didactic fields. We however identified several shortcomings, in terms of robotic platforms and teaching environments, that contribute to the limited presence of robotics in existing curricula; the lack of specific teacher training being likely pivotal. Finally, we propose an educational framework merging the tangibility of robots with the advanced visibility of augmented reality.

Posted on: June 25, 2015

Distributed Particle Swarm Optimization for limited-time adaptation with real robots

  • Authors: Di Mario, Ezequiel; Martinoli, Alcherio

Evaluative techniques offer a tremendous potential for online controller design. However, when the optimization space is large and the performance metric is noisy, the overall adaptation process becomes extremely time consuming. Distributing the adaptation process reduces the required time and increases robustness to failure of individual agents. In this paper, we analyze the role of the four algorithmic parameters that determine the total evaluation time in a distributed implementation of a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm. For an obstacle avoidance case study using up to eight robots, we explore in simulation the lower boundaries of these parameters and propose a set of empirical guidelines for choosing their values. We then apply these guidelines to a real robot implementation and show that it is feasible to optimize 24 control parameters per robot within 2 h, a limited amount of time determined by the robots’ battery life. We also show that a hybrid simulate-and-transfer approach coupled with a noise-resistant PSO algorithm can be used to further reduce experimental time as compared to a pure real-robot implementation.

Posted on: November 29, 2013

Haptic-Enabled Handheld Mobile Robots: Design and Analysis

  • Authors: Ozgur, Ayberk; Johal, Wafa; Mondada, Francesco; Dillenbourg, Pierre

The Cellulo robots are small tangible robots that are designed to represent virtual interactive point-like objects that reside on a plane within carefully designed learning activities. In the context of these activities, our robots not only display autonomous motion and act as tangible interfaces, but are also usable as haptic devices in order to exploit, for instance, kinesthetic learning. In this article, we present the design and analysis of the haptic interaction module of the Cellulo robots. We first detail our hardware and controller design that is low-cost and versatile. Then, we describe the task-based experimental procedure to evaluate the robot’s haptic abilities. We show that our robot is usable in most of the tested tasks and extract perceptive and manipulative guidelines for the design of haptic elements to be integrated in future learning activities. We conclude with limitations of the system and future work.

Posted on: January 17, 2017

Real-Time High-Accuracy 2D Localization with Structured Patterns

  • Authors: Hostettler, Lukas Oliver; Ozgur, Ayberk; Lemaignan, Séverin; Dillenbourg, Pierre; Mondada, Francesco

Building over algorithms previously developed for digital pens, this article introduces a novel 2D localization technique for mobile robots, based on simple printed patterns. This method combines high absolute accuracy (below 0.3mm), unlimited scalability, low computational requirements (the presented open-source implementation runs at above 45Hz on a low-cost microcontroller) and low cost (below 30 Euros per device at prototype stage). The article first presents the underlying algorithms and localization pipeline. It then describes our reference hardware and software implementations, and finally evaluates the performance of this technique for mobile robots.

Posted on: March 3, 2016

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