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Robots Get Ready For Mass Markets


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retro robot

Credit: Nassau Library System

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory, Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory, and the Biorobotics Laboratory are collaborating to launch the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR), which is aimed at designing robots based on nature. NCCR also will work with ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, and the artificial intelligence institute ISDIA. The researchers want to design robots that can adapt as well as cooperate.

LIS director Dario Floreano recently had a breakthrough involving robotic evolution, in which basic building blocks of software are selected for as they succeed, which led to the emergence of a type of intelligence. Floreano's evolutionary robotics research is focusing on the synthesis of analog electrical circuits, of neural controllers that learn, the reverse engineering of genetic and metabolic networks, and biomedical signal processing.

Floreano's researcher team is developing insect-like robots, working with Lausanne University entomologist Laurent Keller. They have developed a fly-like robot that weighs less than 10 grams, equipped with cameras and sensors.

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