June 15th, 2012

Robots: Swiss Robotics

In this episode we talk to Dario Floreano, director of the Swiss National Center of Competence for Research (NCCR) in Robotics that gathers leading experts in the field working at Swiss institutions.

Dario Floreano

Dario Floreano is the director of the Swiss NCCR Robotics which gathers leading robotic experts in Switzerland from EPFL (home institution), ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The center was launched in December 2010 and will run for up to twelve years.

The center aims to develop human­-oriented robots that assist people in their daily lives and improve their quality of life. Examples include “care robots”, “neuroprosthetic”, “exoprosthetic”, “educational robots” and “environmental robots”. Their research is currently organized into 5 projects that they hope will result in new design principles, approaches, and technologies required for the conception and design of human-oriented robots, the materials and components they are made of, and the control methods that enable them to interface and operate with humans:

Project 1: Bio-mimetic sensing, actuation, and mobility
Project 2: Interaction and Manipulation
Project 3: Prosthetic Robotics
Project 4: Distributed Robotics
Project 5: Robots for Daily Life

Floreano tells us about the role of Swiss robotics in the world, how to manage a large research center, the importance of education, and their cross-disciplinary and translational work.

Finally, he shares the latest developments from his Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL, including flying robots that physically interact with their environment (see video below) and soft “cells” that can assemble in air.

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