Stories about Robots
Programming the forces of evolution
Robots can utilise computational natural selection to boost experimental power and avoid hours of trial and error
Soft robotics: what the octopus has taught us
Ten years ago the octopus inspired the world's first entirely soft robot, made with silicone. The artificial octopus allowed researchers to simplify control and sensory-motor behaviour of robots, enabling them to be more efficient than rigid-linked hard machines. Everything started from a dream of researcher Cecilia Laschi
Research projects about Robots
The goal of the subCULTron project is the development of three types of robots, to be distributed in the Venice lagoon. Besides monitoring the water, the robots will learn how to cooperate with each other and how to react to the environment. This is expected to lead to significant improvements in the field of artificial intelligence.
The Swarm-Organ Project worked on developing new algorithms in swarm robotics to make it more efficient. Rather than looking to the insect world as previous studies in swarm technology have done, the project studied cell behaviour to extrapolate organisation principles derived from GRNs (gene regulatory networks). The project carried out successful demonstrations of robots emulating cell behaviour, particularly in terms of regeneration behaviour.
The TimeStorm project aims to implement human-like cognitive skills in artificial agents, such as robots. To overcome this challenge, researchers have studied the principles of time processing in the human brain and replicated them in-silico, because our sense of time plays a key role in the development of many cognitive processes. Introducing time perception in artificial agents will contribute to the design of truly autonomous, cognitive machines.
The flora robotica project targets to develop and investigate closely linked symbiotic relationships between robots and natural plants and to explore the potentials of a plant-robot society able to produce architectural artifacts (e.g., walls, roofs, benches) and living spaces, providing functionality such as shade, air quality control, and stress relief. The project assembles a highly cross disciplinary team drawn from the fields of Computer Science, Robotics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Zoology, Advanced Mechatronics & Environmental Sensing and Architecture.
The PLANTOID project designed and developed a number of innovative robots and ICT technologies directly inspired by the roots of plants. These robotic roots are equipped with sensors monitoring the environment and giving inputs to let them decide how to move into the soil. This technology may find applications in soil analysis, agriculture, medicine and space exploration.
The GrowBot project wishes to develop robots that imitate the behaviour of climbing plants using ICT technologies. They adapt their movements based on external environmental conditions and grow accordingly using additive manufacturing processes. This technology may find applications related to energy efficiency and harvesting.