EPFL Robotics News

Reverse-engineering the fruit fly brain. Credit: EPFL Neuroengineering Laboratory and FlyWire

Fruit fly brain shows how simple commands turn into complex behaviors

— Researchers at EPFL have discovered how networks of neurons in fruit flies transform simple brain signals into coordinated actions. This sheds light on the neural mechanisms underlying complex behaviors for potential application in robotics.

Guillaume Bellegarda, Milad Shafiee and Auke Ijspeert. 2024 EPFL/Jamani Caillet - CC-BY-SA 4.0

Trotting robots reveal emergence of animal gait transitions

— A four-legged robot trained with machine learning by EPFL researchers has learned to avoid falls by spontaneously switching between walking, trotting, and pronking – a milestone for roboticists as well as biologists interested in animal locomotion.

The Soft Materials Lab has developed 3D-printable elastomers that can vary their mechanical properties to an unprecedented degree © Titouan Veuillet

An ink for 3D-printing flexible devices without mechanical joints

— EPFL researchers are targeting the next generation of soft actuators and robots with an elastomer-based ink for 3D printing objects with locally changing mechanical properties, eliminating the need for cumbersome mechanical joints.

DESI making observations in the night sky © KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/T. Slovinský

Researchers unveil the largest 3D map of the universe ever made

— The first results from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, or DESI project, with significant contributions from EPFL astrophysicists, has mapped galaxies and quasars with unprecedented detail measuring how fast the universe expanded over 11 billion years.

Students from EPFL’s rebuiLT project have recovered components from a 1970s building scheduled to be demolished. © 2023 rebuiLT/PJ Renaud CC-BY-SA 4.0

Making construction sustainable by reusing materials

— One way to lighten the construction industry’s heavy carbon footprint is to reuse existing materials – an approach being explored by numerous researchers. Here’s a look at some of their ideas, ahead of an upcoming speaker event at EPFL.

Krock robot resting on the grass © Tomislav Horvat and Kamilo Melo CC BY-SA

Harsh field tests shape robotic design in unexpected ways

— When the BBC commissioned two reptilian robots from the EPFL BioRob lab for a documentary on the African wilderness in 2016, the researchers could not have predicted how testing the devices in uncontrolled environments would change their approach to robotic design.

The Softness Rendering Interface (SORI) can recreate the softness of a range of materials © Jamani Caillet

Robotic interface masters a soft touch

— EPFL researchers have developed a haptic device capable of reproducing the softness of various materials, from a marshmallow to a beating heart, overcoming a deceptively complex challenge that has previously eluded roboticists.

The technodelics platform. © 2024 EPFL / Alain Herzog

The surprising effect of presence hallucinations on social perception

— EPFL neuroscientists have devised a way to alter our social perception and monitor specific types of hallucinations, both in healthy individuals and patients with Parkinson’s disease. The test, which is also available online, provides the medical community with a tool to monitor hallucination susceptibility.

© 2024 EPFL

Leenards Prize for neurotech project in Dementia with Lewy Bodies

— We are happy to announce that the 2024 Leenaards Foundation Science Prize has been awarded to our project on the early diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies.

Aude Billard © Alain Herzog

Prof. Aude Billard President of IEEE Robotics & Automation Society

— Professor Aude Billard, who heads EPFL's Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (LASA) within the Institutes of Electrical & Micro Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and serves as the Associated Dean for Education at the School of Engineering, has been appointed as the President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).