Imperial College Robotics Forum Showcase, 25 September 2015

The Imperial College Robotics Forum organises a Robotics Showcase on Friday 25 September, 2015.

The goal is to present our activity to Imperial as well as to visitors from academy, industry and government organisations. The event will include keynote presentations from invited renowned researchers, talks by Imperial College Robotics Forum researchers and evening networking reception. Light lunch, coffee/tea breaks will be provided.

Imperial College London Robotics Forum is composed of 21 research groups, forming one of the largest robotics research network in Europe.

The event is full. Registration is closed. Please contact the organisers to register for waiting list or to get media invitation [{f.gonzalez, i.farkhatdinov }@ imperial dot ac dot uk].

Date: Friday 25 September 2015, 09.00-19.00.

Venue: Royal School of Mines building, LT 2.28, South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London.

Royal School of Mines building can be found in the map of South Kensington Campus (building 10-12). Lecture theatre LT 2.28 is located on the second floor near the main staircase of the building.

Download the flyer (PDF)

Event programme
09.00 Welcome word
  Session 1 (chairman: Dr Mirko Kovac)
09.10 Keynote 1: Bio-inspired Drones: from collision free to collision friendly Dr Dario Floreano (Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, EPFL, Switzerland)
10.10 3D vision for real-world robots by Dr Stefan Leutenegger
10.25 Active and interactive vision by Dr Tae-Kyun Kim
10.40 Coffee/tea break
  Session 2 (chairman: Dr Aldo Faisal)
11.00 Data-Efficient Learning for Autonomous Robots by Dr Marc Deisenroth
11.15 Bio-inspired technologies for autonomous aerial robotics by Dr Holger Krapp
11.30 Bio-inspired Aerial Robotics by Dr Mirko Kovac
11.45 Neuromechanics: insects to in-vivo mechatronics by Dr Ravi Vaidyanathan
12.00 EPSRC UK-RAS Network programme by Dr Helga E Laszlo
12.10 Lunch break
  Session 3 (chairman: Dr Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena)
13.30 Keynote 2: Small-Scale Mobile Robotics by Dr Metin Sitti (Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany and Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
14.30 Human Robotics by Dr Etienne Burdet
14.45 Robot learning of motor skills by Dr Petar Kormushev
15.00 Neurotechnology for robotic restoration of movement function by Dr Aldo Faisal
15.15 Personalising interactions with assistive robotics by Dr Yiannis Demiris
15.30 Coffee/tea break
  Session 4 (chairman: Dr Stefan Leutenegger)
15.50 The future of robotic surgery by Dr Guang-Zhong Yang
16.05 Seeing through your fingers - the use of haptics in medical and surgical simulation by Dr Fernando Bello
16.20 An overview of the Mechatronics in Medicine Laboratory by Dr Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena
16.35 Robotics for MRI guided interventions by Dr Mihailo Ristic
16.50 Closing remarks by Prof Neil Alford, Acting Vice Provost Research and Vice Dean, Research, Faculty of Engineering
17.00 Evening reception at Main entrance hall (Exhibition road), and robot demonstrations (rehabilitation games, aerial robots, prosthesis hand, robot vision)
Event programme

Keynote talks

Professor Dario Floreano - Bio-inspired Drones: from collision free to collision friendly

Dario Floreano Biography: Prof. Dario Floreano is Director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). He holds an M.A. invidual psychophysics (1988), an M.S. in Neural Computation, (1991) and a PhD in Robotics (1995). He held research positions at Sony, NASA/Caltech JPL, a nd Harvard University. In 2011 he founded the Swiss National Center of Robotics, which funds more than 50 re searchers across 20 labs, to promote research, education, and technology trans fer in wearable and rescue robots in Switzerland. Prof. Floreano's research focuses on the convergence of biology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

He published more than 300 articles and 4 books on Artificial Neural Networks, Evolutionary Robotics, Bio-inspired artificial intelligence, and Bio-inspired Flying Robots with MIT Press and Springer Verlag. He has been a founding member of the World Economic Forum Council on robotics and smart devices, co-founder of the International Society of Artificial Life, Inc. (USA), and executive board member of the International Society for Neural Networks. His research activities have resulted in two successful spin-off companies: senseFly Ltd. and Flyability Ltd. He is also on the Advisory Board of, a nonprofit online communication platform that brings together experts in robotics research, startups, business, and education from across the globe.

Abstract: Drones capable of flying in confined spaces without GPS signal offer amazing socioeconomical opportunities, but also present great scientific and technological challenges. I will start by describing recent work on collision-free flight by means of insect-inspired sensors and control. I will then argue for the need to make these drones collision-friendly and describe flying robots capable of surviving and exploiting collisions in order to exploreextremely cluttered environments in poor visibility conditions. I will conclude by describing ongoing work on foldable and shape-shifting drones for easy deployment and multi-modal locomotion in the air and on the ground.

Professor Metin Sitti - Small-scale mobile robotics

Metin Sitti Biography: Metin Sitti received the BSc and MSc degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and the PhD degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, in 1999. He was a research scientist at UC Berkeley during 1999-2002. He is currently a director in Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and a professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

His research interests include small-scale physical intelligence, mobile microrobots, bio-inspired millirobots, soft robots, novel micro/nano-materials, and micro/nano-manipulation. He is an IEEE Fellow. He received the IBM Smarter Planet Award in 2012, the SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer Award in 2011, and NSF CAREER Award in 2005. He received the IEEE/ASME Best Mechatronics Paper Award in 2014, the Best Poster Award in the Adhesion Conference in 2014 , the Best Paper Award in the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in 2009 and 1998, the first prize in the World RoboCup Micro-Robotics Competition in 2012 and 2013, the Best Biomimetics Paper Award in the IEEE Robotics and Biomimetics Conference in 2004, and the Best Video Award in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Conference in 2002. He is the editor-in-chief of Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics.

Abstract: Small-scale mobile robots have the unique capability of accessing to small spaces and scales directly. Due to their small size and small-scale physics and dynamics, they could be agile and portable, and could be inexpensive and in large numbers if they are mass-produced. Miniature robots would have high impact applications in health-care, bioengineering, mobile sensor networks, desktop micro-manufacturing, and inspection. In this talk, design, fabrication, and control of different size scale miniature mobile robots leveraging advanced and soft materials are presented. First, as milli/centimeter scale mobile robots, novel climbing, flying, jumping-gliding, and water-walking robots inspired by insects, bats, and lizards are presented. Advanced soft gecko-inspired micro-fiber adhesives are shown to enable many new miniature robot and robotic manipulation applications.

Pill-size untethered soft capsule robots are proposed to enable minimally invasive medic al diagnosis and therapeutic operations inside stomach. Next, going down to sub-millimeter size mobile robots, the grand challenge is the limitation on sc aling down on-board actuators and power sources. Two alternative approaches are proposed to solve this challenge. First, biological cells, e.g. bacteria, attached to the surface of a micro-robot are used as on-board micro-actuators and micro-sensors using the chemical energy. Bacteria-propelled randomly swimming micro-robots are steered using chemical and pH gradients in the environment and remote magnetic fields.

As the second approach, external actuation of untethered magnetic micro-robots using remote magnetic fields in enclosed spaces is demonstrated. New magnetic micro-robot locomotion principles based on rotational stick-slip and rolling dynamics are proposed. Novel magnetic composite materials are used to address and control teams of micro-robots. Such untethered micro-robot teams are demonstrated to control microfluidic flow locally, trap live cells and transport them, and manipulate micro-gels with embedded cells with or without contact inside microfluidic channels for tissue engineering applications.