Topic outline

  • General

    Topics in Autonomous Robotics

    Students will be introduced to modern approaches in control and design of autonomous robots through lectures and a project. The course takes place on particular dates of the spring semester, typically half a day of lectures. The dates are provided below.

    There will be a choice of research projects for each topic. A project consists in a critical review or experimental research. Ideally, a research project could become a conference paper. Students should choose one project and register on this website. Projects should be done with a lecturer from another lab than the host lab of the student.  Students will be assessed on the research projects: written report (80%) + oral presentation (20%). The grading of the research project is done by the corresponding professor. 

    The written report should be 6-8 pages long, and formatted using the IEEE style files provided below and according to the guidelines of each project. All reports should be written in English. The oral presentation of the report will last 20 minutes, including 5 minutes of questions and answers.

    Lecturers and Course dates. Please check dates and hours carefully as they change from lecture to lecture (updated on 15.3.2016):

    • Kamilo Melo, Wednesday March 16, 9:15-13:00
    • Jamie Paik, Monday March 21, 8:15-12:00
    • Mohamed Bouri, Wednesday April 6, 9:15-13:00
    • Aude Billard, Monday April 11, 9:15-13:00
    • Alcherio Martinoli, Wednesday April 13, 9:15-11:00 and 14:15-16:00
    • Auke Ijspeert, Monday April 18, 9:15-12:00 and 14:15-15:00   


    Room: ME D1 1815, in the new ME building

    Credits: 4 (24 hours lecture + 56 hours project)

    Deadline for project registration: April 18 2016

    Deadline for handing in project reports: June 10 2016

    Exam Date:  To be defined

    Presentations should last for 10-15 minutes followed by 10 minutes question.

  • Topic 1

    Wednesday March 16 2016, 9:15h-13:00h: Snake Robots (Kamilo Melo)
    Snake Robot (Part I)
    • Snake Robot introduction and basics
    • ‪Mechanical characteristics
    • ‪Gait schemes and Control
      • ‪Friction based locomotion
      • ‪Static contact based locomotion
    • ‪Types of gaits and their implementation (from Biology to Engineering)
    Snake Robot (Part II)
    • Snake Robot locomotion in 3D space
    • ‪Inertial, body and Local frames of reference
    • ‪State estimation and feedback locomotion control
    • ‪Obstacle aided locomotion
    • ‪Compliance in Snake Robots
    • ‪Future of Snakes Robots
  • Topic 2

    Wednesday April 6th 2016, 9:15h-13:00h: Robotics for Rehabilitation and Assistance (Mohamed Bouri)

    Rehabilitation Robotics (Part I)
    • Actuation and sensing
    • ‪Concepts and metrics
    • Lower limbs and Upper limbs devices
    • ‪Control strategies and therapies
    • ‪Ethical aspects and safety
    Walk Assistive Robotics (Part II)
    • Exoskeletons, definitions and review of existing devices
    • ‪Control strategies
    • Perspectives for daily living


  • Topic 3

    Monday April 11 2016, 9h15-13h00: Human-Robot Interaction (Aude Billard)

      • Interfaces and interaction modalities
        • non-verbal cues and expressiveness in interactions: gesture, posture, social spaces and facial expressions
      • User-centred design of social robots: humanoids, androids, etc.
        • motivations and emotions in robots
        • social intelligence for robots
        • Robots in education, therapy and rehabilitation
      • Social learning and skill acquisition via teaching and imitation
    • Issues in HRI:
      • Safety during HRI
      • Evaluation methods and methodologies for HRI
      • Ethical issues in HRI
  • Topic 4

    Wednesday April 13 2016, 9h15-11h00 and 14h15-16h00: Distributed Robotics (Alcherio Martinoli)

    • Introduction to distributed robotics   
    • Machine-learning methods for distributed robotic systems
    • Model-based methods for distributed robotic systems
  • Topic 5

    Monday April 18 2016, 9:15-12:00 and 14:15-15:00: Locomotion control (Auke Jan Ijspeert)

    • Principles of locomotion, actuators, and different types of robot structures
    • Review of different approaches to the control of locomotion of legged robots with multiple degrees of freedom (e.g. quadruped robots, and humanoid robots):
      • ZMP-based control
      • heuristic control
      • CPG-based control
      • discussion of how robots can be used to test biological models, and how biology can in return suggest new control approaches
    • Presentation of some research projects in the Biorob lab.