23 Sep - 2016 (Last edit: 20 Jan - 2017)

We are now entering an era where it is finally possible to deliver on the promise of robotics, due to recent scientific breakthroughs. But it is important that the research results are brought into society, said Martijn Wisse during his inaugural lecture as professor of Biorobotics at Delft University of Technology.

“Since the introduction of the word ‘robot’ almost one century ago, it has emanated a promise still unfulfilled”, Wisse said in the Aula Building today. “The promise that robotic technology will eradicate all dull, dangerous and dirty manual tasks.” With the ageing problems, society could greatly use a much stronger robotic contribution to all the work that must be done in industry, logistics, food, household and healthcare.

Better moving robots
Delivering on that promise is now possible, thanks to the recent breakthrougs in Artificial Intelligence techniques carried by the continued increase in computation and data processing power. The core scientific contribution of the Chair of Biorobotics to deliver on that promise is to make robots move better. “Maximal use of eventually very affordable Artificial Intelligence should allow minimal use of robot hardware, leading to simple, efficient, and highly effectively moving machines”, stated Wisse.

"The intelligence can be embedded within the mechanical design, as demostraded with our earlier work on passive walking robots and underactuated robot hands, and it can also be added through powerful computer algorithms as shown in our intelligent factory robots."

According to Wisse, the strength of the research programme is the "combination of a fundamental understanding of dynamics, mechanical design, robot system integration, and intelligent decision-making software".

TU Delft Robotics Institute
The Chair of Biorotbotics is part of TU Delft Robotics Institute, where the knowledge of dynamic motions is combined with top research groups on robot perception, interactive intelligence, advanced manufacturing, micro aerial vehicles and many others. “Together, the chairs in TU Delft Robotics Institute have the knowledge and drive to approach one of the most fundamental questions: how to design the new generation of highly intelligent and very powerful robotic machines such that we obtain optimal collaboration between humans and robots.”

But, to truly deliver on the promise of robotics, the "research results must be brought into society", concluded Wisse. “With RoboValley, we have succeeded in bringing together researchers, governmental organisations, start-ups, large robotics-orientated companies and users.”

“The prediction is that such a bustling local focus point will fuel the dire-needed nation-wide and worldwide collaborations to bring forth the next generation of intelligent machines.”

Click here for a video of the inaugural address.



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