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International Collaborators

Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
University of Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland

Tamar Tolcachier
Fax: +41 44.635.4507
Tel: +41 44.635.2407

A research program designed to elucidate intelligence, one of the oldest and most mysterious conundrums of mankind, must be able to cope with multiple temporal — short-term, life-time of individual (developmental) and evolutionary — as well as spatial scales (macroscopic, mesoscopic, and microscopic). The notion of embodiment, which has formed our major research target over the last 15 years, has dramatic implications for our understanding of intelligence. For example, behavior is not the result of brain processes only, but of a subtle interplay between brain, body (morphology and materials) and environment; an insight that contradicts the classical Cartesian position. According to this perspective, morphological and material characteristics of an organism can take over a large part of its functionality. The synthetic methodology — "understanding by building" — which has a long history (e.g. Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize in physics, once said "if I can't build it, I don't understand it") constitutes our major approach, thereby marrying engineering and science, and because of our focus on embodiment, one of the major tools is robots (complemented by various others means). One last core assumption is the faith in Nature, the brilliance of evolutionary design. Bionics and biorobotics try to learn from Nature, which serves as an infinitely rich source of inspiration. In line with this philosophy we pursue a number of research directions that are all intended to contribute to our mission.

Biomolecular and Materials Interface Research Group
Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham, England

Professor Carole C. Perry
School of Biomedical and Natural Sciences
Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS, U.K.
Fax: +44 (0)115.848.6616

A range of research problems are being investigated mostly looking at the interface of materials. These include:

  • The nature of peptide mineral interactions between amorphous silica, crystalline zinc oxide and peptides that have been identified by phage display methods
  • Peptide mineral recognition (nanoparticles of metals, alloys, oxides, salts produced by green solution chemistry in house) and the design and fabrication of chimeric fusion proteins based on spider silk
  • Fundamental studies of surfaces, including aspects of superhydrophobicity and flow as well as detailed time dependent studies of protein conformation and binding on the chosen surfaces
  • The complexation, stability and gelation of specific aluminium hydrolytic species in solution and their interaction with a range of molecules.
  • Generating novel mineralised surfaces for functional transistors and biomaterials applications
  • Identifying the important molecular features of amine containing molecules as used by organisms to make silica using model compounds and to study silica formation in vivo in single celled organisms (diatoms) and plants

Center for Micro-BioRobotics
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
Pisa, Italy

Contact CMBR

The center is located in Pontedera (Pisa) and it is part of the network of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) whose headquarters are in Genova. CMBR began its scientific activity at the end of 2009, with the aim to perform advanced research and to develop innovative methodologies, robotic technologies, new materials, and advanced components at the micro/mesoscale.

The micro/mesoscale domain shows dramatic potential for giving rise to new science and new technology, and for offering innovative engineering solutions to many practical application issues. Artifacts can be developed by observing, analyzing and modeling phenomena and strategies used by living creatures in order to achieve motion and propulsion, and to efficiently and adaptively interact with the environment.

Bio-inspired approaches can help to develop robots that are more suitable for unstructured environments than today's robots. These robots, implementing solutions inspired by Nature, show better performance in terms of reactivity, adaptability, flexibility, and more compliant mechanisms. "Bio" means also technological solutions oriented to biomedical applications, such as functionalized nanofilms and robotic devices for drug delivery, therapy, and diagnosis, as well as to environmental monitoring, e.g. plant-inspired robots for soil exploration. The CMBR scientific activities are carried out within the Robotics and the Smart Materials Platforms.

Research Institute of Electrical Communication
Tohoku University
Sendei, Japan

Professor Akio Ishiguro
Tel: +81 (22) 217 5464

Research institutes affiliated with Japanese national universities are organizationally equivalent to faculties and graduate schools. The main difference between research institutes and faculties and graduate schools is that the main mission of research institutes is to conduct advanced studies.

Tohoku University was founded in 1907 as Tohoku Imperial University: the third national university in Japan after those in Tokyo and Kyoto. The Research Institute of Electrical Communication (RIEC) was established in 1935 as a research institute affiliated with Tohoku Imperial University. At that time, in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Tohoku Imperial University, a growing tendency towards research marked science and technology for electrical communication. Great efforts made in these fields produced pioneering studies such as those of the Yagi-Uda antenna and divided anode-type magnetron, which were produced in the department in the late 1920s. Based on such prominent activities, RIEC was founded. In the seven decades since its foundation, RIEC continues to excel as the only national-university-affiliated research institute addressing information and communication technology, with various research fields encompassing hardware and software. In 1994, our research institute was promoted as a National Center for Co-operative research, addressing "theory and applications of intelligent information science and communication theory"

At present, it comprises 4 research divisions consisting of 23 research groups and 3 research facilities with 12 groups. The four research divisions are the following. The Information Devices Division carries out research into materials and devices for communication technology. The Broadband Engineering Division specifically examines the development of new technologies for the transmission and storage of vast quantities of data. The Human Information Systems Division conducts research into intelligent information processing. The Systems and Software Division is developing advanced system software for the new information society. The three research facilities emphasize examinations organized into short-, medium-, and long-term projects. The Research Center for 21st Century Information Technology was established in 2002 to realize short-term (typically for five years) collaboration between the Institute and industrial partners. The Center seeks to develop information technology products using the advanced technologies and intellectual property developed at the Institute. For the medium term, the Laboratory for Nanoelectronics and Spintronics, housed in newly built facilities, is carrying out fundamental research into high-speed semiconductor devices and advanced nano-spin science. Smaller and faster electronic devices, non-volatile memories, and molecular and bio-information devices are some expected fruits of this research. Meanwhile, the Laboratory for Brainware Systems is working towards its long-term goal of the seamless fusion of real and virtual worlds at the human-computer interface. The Institute and its members aim to continue its tradition of world-class research and innovation into this century.

Biorobotics Laboratory
École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausaunne
Lausaunne, Switzerland

Professor Auke Ijspeert
Tel: +41 21 693 26 58
Fax: +41 21 693 37 05

The Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob in short, formerly the Biologically Inspired Robotics Group, BIRG) is part of the Institute of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering at the EPFL. We work on the computational aspects of movement control, sensorimotor coordination, and learning in animals and in robots. We are interested in using robots and numerical simulation to study the neural mechanisms underlying movement control and learning in animals, and in return to take inspiration from animals to design new control methods for robotics as well as novel robots capable of agile locomotion in complex environments.

Our research interests are therefore at the intersection between robotics, computational neuroscience, nonlinear dynamical systems, and machine learning. We carry out research projects in the following areas: numerical simulations of locomotion and movement control, dynamic simulators of articulated rigid bodies, systems of coupled nonlinear oscillators for locomotion control, adaptive dynamical systems, design and control of amphibious articulated robots, control of humanoid robots, design and control of reconfigurable robots.

FARSCOPE Centre for Doctoral Training
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
The University of Bristol and the University of the West of England
Bristol, UK

Jonathan Rossiter
Tel: +44 (0) 117 331 5601

FARSCOPE (Future Autonomous and Robotic Systems) is delivered jointly by the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England through their partnership, the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

The key to future development in robotics is adaptability: making machines that can play more integrated roles in the real world. It is essential for topics in robotics – advanced control; computing; soft robotics – and in autonomous systems – artificial intelligence; computer vision; human-robot interaction – to be studied together. Only a cross-disciplinary, cross-application view will enable future innovators to maximize RAS' potential.

Department of Mathematics
Imperial College
London, UK

Darren Crowdy
Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 8587

Professor Crowdy's interests center on the application of methods of complex analysis to problems arising in the physical sciences, applied mathematics and mathematical physics. His special interests are in the field of fluid dynamics. Topical areas include vortex dynamics, free surface problems, ideal hydrodynamics, slow viscous (Stokes) flow, the theory of quadrature domains and applications, integrable systems theory, automorphic functions, potential theory and applications, techniques of conformal mapping and applications of algebraic geometry. He does much of his work within the Applied and Computational Complex Analysis group of the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London, which is part of a wider network of UK-based universities, the ACCA-UK network, bringing together expertise in applied and computational complex analysis challenges with a view to fostering synergetic interaction and collaboration.