The Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne will be responsible for coordination of CURVACE and for carrying out the assigned tasks. The laboratory, which is part of the Institute of Micro-engineering, is directed by Prof. Dario Floreano and consists of approximately 20 PhD, postdocs, and engineers with the mission of extracting principles of biological organization and translating them into design principles of intelligent artifacts with adaptive intelligence. This includes development, integration, and prototyping of micro-mechatronic systems, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and study of biological systems in collaboration with biologists. The laboratory capitalizes on the support of a Micro-mechanical workshop and of a Printed Circuit Centre with 7 members engaged in the routing of electrical circuits, circuit printing, bonding of electronic microcomponents, embedding into micro-mechanical components, and 3D printing. The laboratory has developed several award-winning technologies related to the tasks assigned in this project, such asvision-based indoor flying robots, jumping and gliding micro-robots, insect-inspired vision systems based both on conventional CMOS imagers and on aVLSI adaptive chips, multi-cellular electronic tissues, and wearable sensors with adaptive and self-calibrating circuitry.
The involved laboratory Institute of Movement Sciences is a Joint Research Unit composed by Université de la Méditerranée and Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique-CNRS in this project. This JRU is located in the premises of UnivMed and using equipment purchased by UnivMed The ISM is divided in several research groups among which the trans-disciplinary Biorobotics Lab, headed by Dr. S. Viollet. For almost 30 years, this research group has acquired strong skills in the study of the visual system of invertebrates (especially fly and bee) and their behaviour and sensorimotor control feedback loops (such as optic flow regulation) which are hard-wired into their brains. The Biorobotics Lab was one of the first to propose a model of the Elementary Motion Detector of the fly (EMD) derived from electrophysiological analysis under single photoreceptor stimulation (Franceschini et al., 1989). The team built a variety of analog and digital electronic circuits, including aVLSI prototypes that realized an array of EMDs and also built several wheeled and flying robots. The results of this trans-disciplinary work are regularly published in major life sciences and robotic journals (such as Current Biology; Journal of Physiology; Autonomous Robots; Robotics and Autonomous Systems; Sensors and Actuators), in major IEEE conferences in robotics (BIOROB, ICRA, IROS and ICAR), and also received two IEEE conference awards. Furthermore, the team has patented two devices inspired by the fly with word-wide extension (Franceschini et al. 2004, Franceschini et al. 2005), one concerning an optic flow regulation principle and one concerning a novel scanning visual sensor. The Biorobotics Lab led a project called RETINAE funded by the French National Agency and participated in the European project FP5 FET Open MARVEL.
The research in the design and customization of the circuit layout of the aVLSI imagers to optimally match and complement the topological and optical properties of the compound optics will be performed by the Centre de Physique des Particules de Marseille (CPPM), which is also a JRU between Université de la Méditerranée d’Aix- Marseille II and CNRS.
The Fraunhofer Society for the Advancement of Applied Research (FhG) was founded in Munich in 1949 as a non-profit registered association. It is an autonomous organization with a decentralized organizational structure, which currently maintains 58 research institutes and a patent office in locations throughout Germany. While the administrative headquarters are in Munich, the legally non-independent research institutes operate from different locations in 15 of the German Länder, where they carry out their respective work in close partnership with industry. A staff of approximately 12.500, the majority of whom are qualified scientists and engineers, work with an annual research budget of about one billion Euro. Today FhG is the leading organization of institutes of applied research and development in Europe. The employees carry out research and development projects on a contract basis on behalf of industry, the service sector and government.
The Department of Micro-Optical-Systems in the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF), has more than 16 years experience in design and prototyping of microoptical systems and gained worldwide recognition in this field. In particular, micro-optical modules in glass, silicon, and polymer material were designed, fabricated and characterised. Essential subjects of conducted projects were e.g. wafer-scale replication technologies (casting and curing, hot embossing, injection moulding) and UV direct writing for single- and multi-mode waveguides, microlenses, prisms and refractive structures in polymers. Highly precise single and double-stage micro-optical arrays, e.g. for fiber array collimators, laser diode circularisation optics and hybrid (refractive/diffractive) modules were realized. A main research topic for the last few years is the realization of miniaturized imaging systems on wafer-scale. The Department has participated in the following European projects: FP4 Brite-Euram Strep Dondodem, FP5 IST Walori, FP6 Strep CellForce, FP7 ICT Strep Smarthies.
The Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen (UTUB) investigates visual processing and spatial cognition in rats, human and robots, focusing on the task dependency of spatial representations. Human spatial cognition is investigated with virtual reality technology and eye-movement recording, focussing on obstacle avoidance, the selection and use of landmarks for way-finding tasks as well as on the nature of metric knowledge in long-term spatial memory. In rats, visually guided behaviour is studied with a specially developed virtual reality running ball, allowing for complex manipulations of the environment as well as for place field recordings. Robotic and software models of visual and spatial behaviours are developed for various questions, including object localization and grasping, obstacle avoidance, self localization and autonomous navigation of flying robots, and software agents combining path integration, obstacle avoidance and course stabilization in joint architectures. The lab has been involved in the following European projects: FP6 IST Strep GNOSYS, FP6 IST Strep Wayfinding, FT6 EST PerAct, FP6 IST Strep μDRONES