Tom Keighley

Member Article

UK robotics hub opens in Bristol

The largest robotics laboratory of its type has been opened in Bristol by Minister for Universities and Science.

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory is a partnership between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol, and strives to understand the science, engineering and social role of robotics and embedded intelligence.

It is home to community of 70 academics and businesses who are leading current thinking in robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering.

£1.65m has been spent on the new facilities, which include two flying arenas and specialised lab space.

Mr Willetts said: “Robotics has a whole host of everyday applications, from helping our ageing population to improving manufacturing processes.

“Bristol Robotics Laboratory will bring together the best expertise from industry and the academic community to spearhead Britain’s efforts to be world leading in this fascinating and exciting area of science.”

BRL research projects will 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.

The European project Mobiserv will also look at ways of using robots in helping to care for older people.

Elsewhere, research will look at the ethical, legal and social issues around robots and 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.

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.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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