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About Us

NCCR Robotics is a consortium of robotics laboratories across Switzerland, working on robots for improving the quality of life and to strengthen robotics in Switzerland and worldwide. Newsletter



On 8th October 2016, the world’s first Cybathlon took place in Zurich, Switzerland. The Cybathlon is a competition for people with disabilities using robotic assistive aids to complete tasks… Read more



Prostheses, or artificial limbs, are commonly used to replace both the look and function of missing limbs. Recent advances in technology have meant that passive prostheses are becoming a thing… Read more

First prize for Best PhD Presentation at CRPP rehab

Fabian Just, (Riener Lab, ETHZ), was awarded the first prize for Best PhD Presentation at CRPP rehab for his work on fusing robot-based and conventional therapy for the arm.

Cybathlon 2020

The executive board of ETH Zurich has officially announced that Cybathlon will take place 2020 in Zurich! Also, discover the Cybathlon set of stamps issued by Sierra Leone & find out which Cybathlon image was selected as part of the BBC’s most striking photos of 2016.

Cybathlon 2020 announced

09.02.17 – In today’s press conference with the executive board of ETH Zurich an official announcement was made: The Cybathlon will take place once again in Zurich in 2020 – organised by ETH ZurichBehind the scenes, planning for the next Cybathlon has been taking place since the successful premiere in October last year. The success …

LeMano at Cybathlon

07.10.16 – This week, the world’s first Cybathlon will take place in Zurich, Switzerland and today we present to you the second of the NCCR Robotics teams to be taking part in the competition, LeMano. The Cybathlon is the brainchild of NCCR Robotics co-director and ETH Zurich professor Robert Riener, and is designed to facilitate discussion between academics, industry …

Past Events

Date/Time Event Description
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          

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

Actuator With Angle-Dependent Elasticity for Biomimetic Transfemoral Prostheses

  • Authors: Pfeifer, Serge; Pagel, Anna; Riener, Robert; Vallery, Heike

Despite tremendous improvements in recent years, lower-limb prostheses are still inferior to their biological counterparts. Most powered knee joints use impedance control, but it is unknown which impedance profiles are needed to replicate physiological behavior. Recently, we have developed a method to quantify such profiles from conventional gait data. Based on this method, we derive stiffness requirements for knee prostheses, and we propose an actuation concept where physical actuator stiffness changes in function of joint angle. The idea is to express stiffness and moment requirements as functions of angle, and then to combine a series elastic actuator (SEA) with an optimized nonlinear transmission and parallel springs to reproduce the profiles. By considering the angle-dependent stiffness requirement, the upper bound for the impedance in zero-force control could be reduced by a factor of two. We realize this ANGle-dependent ELAstic Actuator (ANGELAA) in a leg, with rubber cords as series elastic elements. Hysteresis in the rubber is accounted for, and knee moment is estimated with a mean error of 0.7 Nm. The nonlinear parallel elasticity creates equilibria near 0◦ as well as 90◦ knee flexion, frequent postures in daily life. Experimental evaluation in a test setup shows force control bandwidth around 5–9 Hz, and a pilot experiment with an amputee subject shows the feasibility of the approach. While weight and power consumption are not optimized in this prototype, the incorporated mechatronic principles may pave the way for cheaper and lighter actuators in artificial legs and in other applications where stiffness requirements depend on kinematic configuration.

Posted on: October 22, 2014