UK’s largest robot lab opens

22 May 2012

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), the largest robotics laboratory of its type in the UK was opened on 10 May 2012. It is the result of a partnership between UWE Bristol (University of the West of England) and the University of Bristol, set up with the aim of understanding the science, engineering and social role of robotics and embedded intelligence.

BRL research projects include the CHRIS project on robot human interaction, energy autonomy, soft robots, robots that use whiskers to find their way around and small Unmanned Air Systems (UAS). It will also participate in the European project Mobiserv which is looking at ways of using robots in helping to care for older people, a project using robots to help reset broken bones, research that will look at the ethical, legal and social issues around robots and work in non-linear robotics control. The SYMBRION project looks at the way swarms of robots can evolve and adapt together into different organisms based on bio-inspired approaches.

Commenting on the opening of the laboratory, Professor Chris Melhuish, director of BRL, said: “We are on the threshold of an exciting new era in robotics in the UK and BRL is already making significant contributions in many areas. Our interdisciplinary research focuses on key areas of robot capabilities and applications ranging from human-robot interaction, medical robotics, soft robots with artificial muscles, giving robots a sense of touch to autonomous flying robots and robots that turn biomass into energy. By bringing together researchers, including biologists, electronics and mechanical engineers, surgeons, psychologists, aerodynamicists, computer scientists, mathematicians, material scientists as well as industry we are able to explore new exciting areas of research and new applications which have an impact on new businesses. Our success is underpinned by the excellent staff that make up the BRL."

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