12 years of NCCR Robotics


After 12 years of exercise, NCCR Robotics formally ended on 30 November 2022.

We will proudly say that NCCR Robotics has had a really transformational impact on the nationwide robotics analysis panorama, creating novel synergies, strengthening key areas, and including a singular signature that made Switzerland distinguished and enticing on the worldwide stage.

In its 12 years of exercise, NCCR Robotics has had a transformational impact on the nationwide robotics analysis panorama.

Our highlights embrace:

  • Attaining a number of breakthroughs in wearable, rescue and academic robotics
  • Creating new grasp’s and doctoral programmes that may practice generations of future robotics engineers
  • Graduating greater than 200 PhD college students and 100 postdocs, with greater than 1’000 peer-reviewed publications
  • Spinning out a number of tasks into firms, a lot of which have turn out to be worldwide leaders and generated greater than 400 jobs
  • Enhancing consciousness of gender stability in robotics and considerably growing the proportion of ladies in robotics in Switzerland
  • Kick-starting massive outreach packages, similar to Cybathlon, Swiss Drone Days, and Swiss Robotics Days, which is able to proceed to extend public consciousness of robotics for good

It’s not the top of the story although: our accomplice establishments – EPFL, ETH Zurich, the College of Zurich, the College of Bern, the College of Basel, Università della Svizzera Italiana, EMPA – will proceed to collaborate by means of the Innovation Booster Robotics, a brand new nationwide program aimed toward growing know-how switch actions and sustaining the community.


The analysis programme of NCCR Robotics has been articulated round three Grand Challenges for future clever robots that may enhance the standard of life: Wearable Robotics, Rescue Robotics, and Instructional Robotics.

Within the Wearable Robotics Grand Problem, NCCR Robotics studied and developed a wide range of novel prosthetic and orthotic robots, implantable sensors, and synthetic intelligence algorithms to revive the capabilities of individuals with disabilities and neurological issues.

For instance, researchers developed implantable and assistive applied sciences that allowed sufferers with utterly paralyzed legs to stroll once more because of a mix of assistive robots (similar to Rysen), implantable microdevices that learn mind indicators and stimulate spinal twine nerves, and synthetic intelligence that translate neural indicators into gait patterns.

In addition they developed prosthetic palms with gentle sensors and implantable neural stimulators that allow individuals to really feel once more the haptic qualities of objects. Alongside this line, additionally they studied and developed prototypes of an additional arm and synthetic intelligence that might permit people to manage the extra synthetic limb together with their pure arms for conditions that usually require multiple particular person.

Researchers additionally developed the MyoSuit textile gentle exoskeletons that permit individuals on wheelchairs to face up, take a number of steps, after which sit again on the wheelchair with out exterior assist.

Within the Rescue Robotics Grand Problem, researchers developed and deployed legged and flying robots with self-learning capabilities to be used in catastrophe mitigation in addition to in civil and industrial inspection.

Among the many most notable outcomes are ANYMal, a quadruped robotic that gained the primary prize within the worldwide DARPA problem, by exploring underground tunnels and figuring out numerous objects; Okay-rock, an amphibious robotic impressed by salamanders and crocodiles that may swim, stroll, and squat beneath slim passages; a collision-resilient drone that has turn out to be essentially the most broadly used robotic on the planet by rescue groups, governments, and corporations for inspection of confined areas, bridges, boilers, and ship tankers, to say a number of; a complete household of foldable drones that may change form to squeeze by means of slim passage, defend close by individuals from propellers, carry cargo of assorted dimension and weight, and twist their arms to get near surfaces and carry out restore operations; an avian-inspired drone with synthetic feathers that may approximate the flight agility of birds of prey.

As well as, researchers developed highly effective studying algorithms that enabled legged robots to stroll up mountains and grassy land by adapting their gait, and flying robots that be taught to fly and keep away from high-speed transferring objects utilizing bio-inspired imaginative and prescient techniques, and even discovered to race by means of a circuit beating world-champion people. Researchers additionally proposed new strategies to let inexperienced people and rescue officers work together with, and simply management, drones as in the event that they have been an extension of their very own physique.

Within the Instructional Robotics Grand Problem, NCCR researchers created Thymio, a cellular robotic for educating programming and components of robotics that has been deployed in additional than 80’000 models in school rooms throughout Switzerland, and Cellulo, a smaller modular robotic that permits richer types of interplay with pupils, as wells as a broad vary of studying actions (physics, arithmetic, geography, video games) and coaching strategies for educating academics combine robots of their lectures.

Researchers additionally teamed with Canton Vaud on a large-scale challenge to introduce robotics and pc science into all primary-school lessons and have already skilled multiple thousand academics.


Communication, data (and know-how) switch to society and the financial system

Over 12 years, NCCR Robotics researchers revealed roughly 500 articles in peer-review journals and 500 articles in peer-reviewed conferences and filed roughly 50 patents (one third of which have already been granted). In addition they developed a tech-transfer help programme to assist younger researchers translate analysis outcomes into commercially viable merchandise. Because of this, 16 spin-offs have been supported, out of which 14 have been included and are nonetheless energetic. A few of these start-ups have turn out to be full scale-up firms with merchandise bought everywhere in the world, have raised greater than 5 instances capital than the overall funds of the NCCR over 12 years, and generated a number of tons of of recent high-tech jobs in Switzerland.

A number of initiatives have been aimed on the public to speak the significance of robotics for the standard of life.

  • For instance, through the first section NCCR Robotics organized an annual Robotics Pageant at EPFL that attracted at its peak 17’000 guests in someday.
  • Within the second section, Cybathlon was launched, a world-first Olympic-style competitors for athletes with disabilities and supported by assistive gadgets, which was later taken over by ETH Zurich that may guarantee its continuation.
  • Moreover, NCCR Robotics launched the Swiss Drone Days at EPFL that mix drone exhibitions, drone races, and public shows, and have been later taken over by EPFL and most not too long ago by College of Zurich.
  • NCCR Robotics additionally organized the annual Swiss Robotics Day with the purpose of bringing collectively researchers and business representatives in a full day of high-profile know-how shows from prime Swiss and worldwide audio system, demonstrations of analysis prototypes and robotics merchandise, carousel of pitch shows by younger spin-offs, and several other panel discussions and networking occasions.

Promotion of younger scientists and of educational careers of ladies

The NCCR Robotics helped develop a brand new grasp’s programme and a brand new PhD programme in robotics at EPFL, created change programmes and fellowships with ETH Zurich and prime worldwide universities with a program in robotics, and issued a number of awards for excellence in examine, analysis, know-how switch, and societal affect.

NCCR Robotics has additionally been very energetic in addressing equal alternatives. Actions aimed toward bettering gender stability included devoted change and journey grants, awards for supporting profession growth, grasp examine fellowships, outreach campaigns, promotional motion pictures and surveys for steady evaluation of the effectiveness of actions. Because of this, the proportion of ladies within the EPFL robotics masters virtually doubled in 4 years, and the variety of girls postgraduate and assistant professors doubled too. Though a lot stays to be completed in Switzerland, the preliminary outcomes of those actions are promising and the notice of the significance of equal alternative has turn out to be pervasive all through the NCCR Robotics group and in all its analysis, outreach, and academic actions.

Past NCCR Robotics

So as to maintain the long-term affect of NCCR Robotics, EPFL launched a brand new Heart of Clever Techniques the place robotics is a significant analysis pillar and ETH Zurich created a Heart for Robotics that features massive analysis services, annual summer time colleges, and actions to favor collaborations with business.

Moreover, EPFL constructed on NCCR Robotics’ academic applied sciences and additional programmes to create the LEARN Heart that may proceed coaching academics in using robots and digital applied sciences in colleges. Equally, ETH Zurich constructed on the analysis and competence developed within the Wearable Robotics Grand Problem to create the Competence Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Science with the aim of restoring and sustaining independence, productiveness, and high quality of life for individuals with bodily disabilities and contribute in the direction of an inclusive society.

Because the challenge approaches its conclusion, NCCR Robotics members utilized for added funding for the Nationwide Thematic Community Innovation Booster Robotics that was launched in 2022 and can proceed supporting networking actions and know-how switch in medical and cellular robotics for the subsequent 4 years. Lastly, a Swiss Robotics Affiliation comprising stakeholders from academia and business will probably be created so as to handle the Innovation Booster programme and provide a communication and collaboration platform for the reworked and enlarged robotics group that NCCR Robotics has contributed to create.

NCCR Robotics


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