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Microtechnics - 07.10.2021
Flying High-Speed Drones into the Unknown with AI
Flying High-Speed Drones into the Unknown with AI
Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new approach to autonomously fly quadrotors through unknown, complex environments at high speeds using only on-board sensing and computation. The new approach could be useful in emergencies, on construction sites or for security applications. When it comes to exploring complex and unknown environments such as forests, buildings or caves, drones are hard to beat.

Microtechnics - 21.07.2021
New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots
New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots
For the first time an autonomously flying quadrotor has outperformed two human pilots in a drone race. The success is based on a novel algorithm that was developed by researchers of the University of Zurich. It calculates time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones' limitations. To be useful, drones need to be quick.

Microtechnics - 18.05.2021
Helping drone swarms avoid obstacles without hitting each other
Engineers at EPFL have developed a predictive control model that allows swarms of drones to fly in cluttered environments quickly and safely. It works by enabling individual drones to predict their own behavior and that of their neighbors in the swarm. There is strength in numbers. That's true not only for humans, but for drones too.

Microtechnics - Art and Design - 26.03.2021
Contemplate the nature of robotics at EPFL Pavilions
Contemplate the nature of robotics at EPFL Pavilions
EPFL Pavilions re-opens its exhibition Nature of Robotics which offers perspective on robotics in a human and organic environment. At the entrance of Nature of Robotics a couple of robotic snails slither around the floor, leaving behind slimy trails. Two visitors, young boys, enter the exhibit and squat next to the slimy creatures, trying to follow both of them at once.

Astronomy / Space Science - Microtechnics - 05.03.2021
Army of robots pushes the limits of astrophysics
Army of robots pushes the limits of astrophysics
One thousand newly-minted microrobots created in EPFL labs will soon be deployed at two large-scale telescopes in Chile and the United States. These high-precision instruments, capable of positioning optical fibers to within a micron, will vastly increase the quantity of astrophysics data that can be gathered - and expand our understanding of the Universe.

Microtechnics - 13.01.2021
How to Keep Drones Flying When a Motor Fails
How to Keep Drones Flying When a Motor Fails
Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably - even without GPS. As anxious passengers are often reassured, commercial aircrafts can easily continue to fly even if one of the engines stops working. But for drones with four propellers - also known as quadcopters - the failure of one motor is a bigger problem.

Microtechnics - Materials Science - 24.11.2020
Miniscule robots of metal and plastic
Miniscule robots of metal and plastic
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for manufacturing micrometre-long machines by interlocking multiple materials in a complex way. Such microrobots will one day revolutionise the field of medicine. Robots so tiny that they can manoeuvre through our blood vessels and deliver medications to certain points in the body - researchers have been pursuing this goal for years.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 11.11.2020
On the way to lifelike robots
On the way to lifelike robots
In order for robots to be able to achieve more than simple automated machines in the future, they must not only have their own "brain". Empa researchers postulate that artificial intelligence must be expanded to include the capabilities of a Physical Artificial Intelligence, PAI. This will redefine the field of robotics and the relationship between man and machine.

Environment - Microtechnics - 03.11.2020
Drones to monitor ecological changes
Drones to monitor ecological changes
A team of researchers from Empa and Imperial College London developed drones that can attach sensors to trees to monitor environmental and ecological changes in forests. Sensors for forest monitoring are already used to track changes in temperature, humidity and light, as well as the movements of animals and insects through their habitats.

Microtechnics - 23.06.2020
Deep Drone Acrobatics
Deep Drone Acrobatics
A navigation algorithm developed at the University of Zurich enables drones to learn challenging acrobatic maneuvers. Autonomous quadcopters can be trained using simulations to increase their speed, agility and efficiency, which benefits conventional search and rescue operations. Since the dawn of flight, pilots have used acrobatic maneuvers to test the limits of their airplanes.

Microtechnics - Computer Science - 19.03.2020
This Drone Can Play Dodgeball - And Win
This Drone Can Play Dodgeball - And Win
Using a novel type of cameras, researchers from the University of Zurich have demonstrated a flying robot that can detect and avoid fast-moving objects. A step towards drones that can fly faster in harsh environments, accomplishing more in less time. Drones can do many things, but avoiding obstacles is not their strongest suit yet - especially when they move quickly.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 16.03.2020
Allowing robots to feel
Allowing robots to feel
With the help of machine learning, ETH researchers have developed a novel yet low-cost tactile sensor. The sensor measures force distribution at high resolution and with great accuracy, enabling robot arms to grasp sensitive or fragile objects. We humans have no problem picking up fragile or slippery objects with our hands.

Microtechnics - Electroengineering - 18.12.2019
A soft robotic insect that survives being flattened by a fly swatter
A soft robotic insect that survives being flattened by a fly swatter
Researchers at EPFL have developed an ultra-light robotic insect that uses its soft artificial muscles to move at 3 cm per second across different types of terrain. It can be folded or crushed and yet continue to move. Imagine swarms of robotic insects moving around us as they perform various tasks.

Microtechnics - Physics - 06.11.2019
On the way to intelligent microrobots
On the way to intelligent microrobots
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have developed a micromachine that can perform different actions. First nanomagnets in the components of the microrobots are magnetically programmed and then the various movements are controlled by magnetic fields. Such machines, which are only a few tens of micrometres across, could be used, for example, in the human body to perform small operations.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 11.10.2019
DeepFly3D: the deep-learning way to design fly-like robots
DeepFly3D: the deep-learning way to design fly-like robots
EPFL scientists have developed a deep-learning based motion-capture software that uses multiple camera views to model the movements of a fly in three dimensions. The ultimate aim is to use this knowledge to design fly-like robots. "Just think about what a fly can do," says Professor Pavan Ramdya, whose lab at EPFL's Brain Mind Institute , with the lab of Professor Pascal Fua at EPFL's Institute for Computer Science, led the study.

Environment - Microtechnics - 12.09.2019
"Flying fish" robot can dive and fly
A bio-inspired bot uses water from the environment to create a propelling gas and launch itself from the water's surface. The robot had been developed by researchers at Imperial College London. It can travel 26 meters through the air after take-off and could be used to collect water samples in hazardous and cluttered environments, such as during flooding or when monitoring ocean pollution, report the team lead by Mirko Kovac, who also heads the joint "Materials and Technology Center of Robotics" at Empa, in the latest issue of "Science Robotics".

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 14.08.2019
A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots
A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots
Scientists at EPFL have developed a tiny pump that could play a big role in the development of autonomous soft robots, lightweight exoskeletons and smart clothing. Flexible, silent and weighing only one gram, it is poised to replace the rigid, noisy and bulky pumps currently used. The scientists' work has just been published in Nature.

Microtechnics - 08.08.2019
The world's smallest stent
The world’s smallest stent
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new method for producing malleable microstructures ' for instance, vascular stents that are 40 times smaller than previously possible. In the future, such stents could be used to help to widen life-threatening constrictions of the urinary tract in foetuses in the womb.

Microtechnics - Innovation - 12.07.2019
New dual-propeller drone can fly twice as long
New dual-propeller drone can fly twice as long
EPFL startup Flybotix has developed a novel drone with just two propellers and an advanced stabilization system that allow it to fly for twice as long as conventional models.

Microtechnics - 10.07.2019
Robot-ants that can jump, communicate and work together
Robot-ants that can jump, communicate and work together
A team of EPFL researchers has developed tiny 10-gram robots that are inspired by ants: they can communicate with each other, assign roles among themselves and complete complex tasks together. These reconfigurable robots are simple in structure, yet they can jump and crawl to explore uneven surfaces.
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