Human and Biological Robotics is an emerging research area that uses the framework of robotics to understand the control principles evolved by biological sensorimotor systems, and apply this knowledge to create novel robotic devices that can truly help humans.

Like robots, animals rely on a large variety of sensors, require a neural control system, use actuators or muscles, and are constrained by their mechanical structure. We do not view each of these components in isolation, but as part of a continuous perception-action loop; we consider them as parts of a system that integrates biomechanics and neural control. This systems level approach will advance our understanding of fundamental principles in neuroscience and biomechanics. It will also drive the development of novel sensors inspired by their biological counterparts, versatile robots with novel capabilities, and robotics tools to augment humans.

The range of applications is very broad, including human interfaces or autonomous robots for working in hazardous environments or for daily life, to robotic systems facilitating the work with physically or neurologically impaired individuals.

With specific interests in animal and human sensorimotor control, musculoskeletal mechanics, bio-inspired VLSI, embodied robotics, brain-machine interfaces and rehabilitation technology, our investigators apply experimental and theoretical approaches to investigate and develop human and robotic systems.

Academic staff in this area

  • Anil BharathBiologically inspired computer vision
  • Anthony Bull: Musculoskeletal mechanics – sports, ageing and high-speed impact
  • Etienne Burdet: Human-machine interaction, rehabilitation technology
  • Claudia Clopath: Computational neuroscience, reinforcement learning
  • Rob DickinsonInterventional MRI
  • Manos DrakakisCircuits and systems for and from biology
  • Aldo Faisal: Robotic restoration and augmentation of movement, brain-machine-interfaces
  • Dario Farina: Neural interfaces, biological signal processing, EMG
  • Angela Kedgley: Orthopaedic biomechanics of the upper limb
  • Andrei KozlovAuditory neuroscience and biophysics
  • Holger Krapp: Systems approach - Insect sensorimotor control
  • Spyros MasourosInjury biomechanics – high-energy trauma and its protection
  • Tobias ReichenbachBiophysics of hearing and sensory neuroscience
  • Guy-Bart Stan: Analysis and control of nonlinear dynamical networks; synthetic biology
  • Reiko TanakaTheoretical systems biology; development of biological control theory