MIRobotics strives to invent and introduce modular, man-packable inspection and monitoring robots into cleantech, contributing to recycling 2.0 and a healthier environment. The flagship of the technological innovation is the bio-inspired, low disturbance and long endurance robot, SUMIR (surface and underwater monitoring and inspection robot). In for the long run, we will provide different sensor and actuation modules enabling agile adaptation to the inspection situation at hand.
As population and cities grow and expand on land, pollution, especially of our water, and ways how to deal with it become a more pressing issue. In the frame of protecting our environment, maintaining a good quality of our infrastructure and enabling the recovery of valuable resources through recycling, new paths must be taken to handle the increasing demand. One way would be to increase the quantity of recycling and number of water treatment plants as well as shorter maintenance intervals, resulting in a tremendous financial investment. Another is the precise detection and monitoring of pollution or plant-error sources, thus enabling an increase of efficiency in water or waste treatment and ensuring little to no downtime for infrastructure and quality control. This is where (semi-) autonomous marine and land vehicles are becoming essential tools. Environmental monitoring systems, for instance, can be used for data acquisition, remote sensing, and mapping of the spatial extent of pollutant spills and give means to counteract them. Our approach to this is firstly presented in unconventional bio-inspired autonomous and anguilliform robots, Envirobot and MAR as well as a future, modular robot based on their achievements and with the vision to extend application range to other realms than fluids.
Envirobot is a segmented swimming robot, with necessary adaptations regarding energy use and efficiency, control, navigation, and communication possibilities in comparison to earlier systems. To this end, and in contrast to its predecessors, Envirobot has been designed to have more endurance, higher computational power, long-range communication link, and versatile, flexible environmental sensor integration. The drawback of this computational flexibility is the complexity of the robot hardware. The robot consists of many modules that must be highly self-contained and redundant. An increase in the production cost, as well as complexity of assembly, becomes inevitable.
MAR was constructed to solve some of these issues. Having only one propulsion-module and inducing the anguilliform motion through a coupling mechanism, energy efficiency was increased, and complexity decreased. The drawback is a loss of flexibility in locomotion patterns and controllability. A head module with battery-compartment gives more degrees of freedom to the robot.
Our vision is to develop the commercially available and man-packable modular robot SUMIR (surface and underwater monitoring and inspection robot), which combines advantages of MAR and Envirobot whereas minimizing deficiencies. The modular architecture enables the robot not only to be used for a single application but have a versatile and broad application range. For example, one can change the propulsion module to gain more speed, reduce turbulence, or reduce the cost of transport depending on the task. A battery module can be swapped very rapidly to continue the mission of the robot, or different sensor modules can be used in water recycling plants versus drink water storage. In this proposal, we describe the outline of such a development and give an overview of applications with the focus on continuous, autonomous, precise, and spatial monitoring of chemical composition in water plants as the first reachable market.
April 15, 2018: We are featured at RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY news of Hannover Messe 2018 as "Robots help save the environment". MIRobotics is sharing the stand of the Swiss National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCR) at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to unveil a new eel-like swimming robot for environmental monitoring. read the complete news here.
April 10-22, 2018: We are excited that MIRobotics has been shortlisted to win the 2018 Global Meetup Wildcard!
March 1st, 2018: We will be at the 5th edition of Lausanne's Technology and Innovation Exhibition, Salon des Technologies et de l'Innovation de Lausanne, @SwissTech Convention Center, EPFL, Lausanne. Meet us there at BioRob booth.
Control engineer with Ph.D. in Marine Robotics. Eight years of experience and research in European scientific projects with distinctive contributions for autonomous underwater vehicles at IST, Dynamical Systems and Ocean Robotics Laboratory. Three years of experience contributing to the development, navigation, and control of bio-inspired swimming robots at EPFL, Biorobotics laboratory. He is enthusiastic about building efficient bio-inspired robots that co-exist with other species in the ecosystem.
After realizing his M.Sc. in Bio-Mechatronics lab. at TU Ilmenau, Peter pursued his Ph.D. at EPFL, Biorobotics laboratory. The development of small, low-cost and human-friendly quadruped robots, inspired by small mammals, deepened his knowledge of bio-inspired mechatronic designs. His passion is the integration of intelligent and often compliant mechanics with efficient solutions for electronics and control to create a harmonic mechatronic system. He is continuing the role of mechatronic designer and building on research work, to contribute keeping our environment safe and healthy.
Auke Ijspeert is a full professor at the EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne), and head of the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob). He has a B.Sc./M.Sc. in physics from the EPFL (1995), and a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (1999). He carried out postdocs at IDSIA and EPFL, and at the University of Southern California (USC). He then became a research assistant professor at USC, and an external collaborator at ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research institute) in Japan. In 2002, he came back to the EPFL as an SNF assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in October 2009 and to full professor in April 2016. His primary affiliation is with the Institute of Bioengineering, and secondary affiliation with the Institute of Mechanical Engineering.