Plenary talks

The conference programme will include 5 plenary lectures from leading international researchers in biomimetic and biohybrid systems.

Wednesday 9:00-10:00

Roger Quinn: Animals as models for robot mobility and autonomy:  Crawling, walking, running, climbing, and flying
Center for Biologically Inspired Robotics Research at Case Western Reserve University

Roger D. Quinn is a professor at the faculty of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He joined the department in 1986 as the General Motors Assistant Professor. He received the B.S. (1980) and M.S. (1984) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron and the Ph.D. degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, in 1985. He has directed the Biorobotics Laboratory at CWRU since its inception in 1990: three insect-inspired robots and one worm inspired robot have been developed. The second legged robot, RII, received an award at the 1995 IEEE ICRA. The third legged robot, RIII, is based upon a cockroach and was a finalist for the 1998 Discover Magazine's Technology Awards. Robot IV, now under development, will be even more similar to cockroach and will use muscle-like actuators. He is also directing the development of a two-inch autonomous robot that can walk and jump based upon crickets. He was also team leader for the Agile Manufacturing Project in the Center for Automation and Intelligent Systems Research at CWRU from 1994-98. His research is devoted to biorobotics and robotics for manufacturing. More information can be found at

Wednesday 16:30-17:30

Barbara Mazzolai: From plants and animals to robots: movement, sensing and control 
Center for Micro-BioRobotics (IIT@SSSA) of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) of Genoa, Italy.

Barbara Mazzolai is the Director of the Center for Micro-BioRobotics (CMBR) of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) of Genoa, Italy, since 2011, and Deputy Director for Supervision and Organization of IIT Centers Network, since 2012. From 2009 to 2011 she was Team Leader at CMBR and from 2004 to 2009 Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa (Italy). She graduated (MSc) in Biology (with Honours) at the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1995, and received the Ph.D. in Microsystems Engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Her current scientific research is in the fields of biorobotics and biomimetic robotics, focused on studying and understanding mechanisms, sensors, actuation solutions, and locomotion strategies inspired by Nature, especially by plants and soft animals. In 2010 she was awarded the “Marisa Bellisario Award” for her advanced research in the field of service robotics, and in 2013 the “Medal of the Senate of the Italian Republic” for her scientific activities performed in biomimetics and biorobotics. She has a long experience as Coordinator and Project Manager of European Projects in these fields. She is the Coordinator of the PLANTOID FET-Open European Project, aimed at developing a new generation of ICT hardware and software technologies inspired from plant roots, called Plantoids, endowed with distributed sensing, actuation, and intelligence for tasks of environmental exploration and monitoring. She is author of more than 150 papers appeared in international journals, books, and conference proceedings. She is member of the IEEE, and of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and of the Robotics and Automation Society.

Thursday 9:00-10:00

Ryad Benosman: Neuromorphic Event-based time oriented vision: A framework to unify computational and biological vision."  
Vision Institute, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6 (UPMC)

Ryad Benosman  is a full Professor with University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France, leading the Natural Computation and Neuromorphic Vision Laboratory, Vision Institute, Paris. He received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in applied mathematics and robotics from University Pierre and Marie Curie in 1994 and 1999, respectively. His work covers neuromorphic visual computation and sensing and event based computation. He is currently involved in the French retina prosthetics project and in the development of retina implants and cofounder of Pixium Vision a french prosthetics company. He also actively works on retina stimulation using optogenetics with Gensight Biologics. He is an expert in complex perception systems, which embraces the conception, design, and use of different vision sensors covering omnidirectional 360 degree wide-field of view cameras, variant scale sensors, and non-central sensors. He is among the pioneers of the domain of omni-directional vision and unusual cameras and still active in this domain. He has been involved in several national and European robotics projects, mainly in the design of artifcial visual loops and sensors. His current research interests include the understanding of the computation operated along the visual systems areas and establishing a link between computational and biological vision. Ryad Benosman has authored more than 100 scientific publications and holds several patents in the area of vision, robotics, event-based sensing and prosthetics. In 2013 he was awarded with the national best French scientific paper by the Journal La Recherche for his work on neuromorphic retinas and their applications to retina stimulation and prosthetics. 

Full affiliation R.B. Benosman, Professor, Neuromorphic Vision and Natural Computation, Vision Institute, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6 (UPMC), Sorbonne Universités, UMR S968 Inserm, UPMC, CHNO des Quinze-Vingts, CNRS UMRS 7210, 17 rue Moreau, 75012 PARIS

Thursday 16:30-17:30

Robert Richardson: Exploration Robotics
Leeds University, UK

Robert Richardson is a Roboticist at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, UK where he is Director of the Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation.  He is the Director of the government funded, EPSRC National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems - a facility dedicated to the physical creation of a new generation of robotic systems.  His research spans a broad range of robotic systems from exploration robotics, to medical robotics and the fabrication of complex robotic system. He has explored The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt using robotic technology and has discovered writing in the Great Pyramid that was hidden for thousands of years.  He was a finalist in the 2008 UK Ministry of Defence Grand Challenge where he developed novel air and ground robotic systems.  He is currently working on a broad range of funded research projects including robots to inspect the inside of high pressure live gas pipes, robotic exoskeletons to enhance human strength, intelligent lower limb prosthetics and robotic archaeology. His current research interests include: Exploration robotics for safety and security - Protecting life by accessing confined spaces to find trapped victims, gather information on terrorist and military threats, inspect inaccessible industrial plants or processes utilising enhanced sensing and networking. 
Surgical technologies for health and well-being - Lengthening life through new and less invasive procedures, improving recovery time and post-operative scarring.
Rehabilitation and prosthetics for health and wellbeing - Improving quality of life through restorative and assistive devices. Focus on small scale subsystems that form the larger devices.

Friday 9:00-10:00

Jose' Halloy: Collective intelligence in natural and artificial systems
Université Paris Diderot – LIED

José Halloy is Professor of Physics at Université Paris Diderot. His research pertains to the transition from individual capabilities to collective behaviours at different level of living and artificial systems as population of cells, organisms, robots or collections of networked machines. The aim is to understand the design principles and the dynamical properties of such populations that can produce emergent or self-organised properties at the collective level. His current research deals with new forms of collective intelligence in natural and artificial systems. He is working on experimental mixed societies, societies where animals and robots cooperate. Together with J.L. Deneubourg et al., he published in Science the first experimental demonstration of collective intelligence in a mixed society of robots and animals. His new research topics pertain to develop collective intelligent systems for the production and distribution of energy in human societies. This research aims at designing a modelling approach for the management of change strategies for sustainable energy consumption. Models should incorporate the interplay of, on the one hand, emergence of artificial norms of energy consumption among intelligent machines and, on the other hand, natural emergence of human social norms. He is in charge of developing research programme at the interface of complex systems sciences and the social sciences to foster governance of sustainability in food and energy global systems.

Invited talk: Living Machines and Design

Nimish Biloria:  InfoMatter
TU Delf University of Technology, The Netherlands

Dr. Nimish Biloria is an Architect, Researcher and an Educator. He currently operates as an Assistant Professor at the, Architectural Engineering and Technology Department (Chair: Hyperbody) at the Faculty of Built Environment and Design, TU Delft, The Netherlands. He firmly believes in digitally driven bottom-up methodologies for developing performance driven spatial solutions. He holds a PhD from the Delft University of Technology (specialising in Real-time interactive environments), a Masters in Architecture from the Architectural Association, London, UK (specialising in Emergent Technologies and Design) and a Bachelors in Architecture from The Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, India (specialising in the relationship between Media and Architecture).  He has lectured at several prestigious institutes globally and has also presented and published his research and design deductions in numerous international journals, design conferences, books and magazines. He is also currently operating as the editor of the Next generation Building Journal and is a part of the Master’s co-ordination committee and the PhD selection committee at the TU Delft.
His research and education interests in Non-Standard and Interactive Architecture are clubbed under the research umbrella ‘Info-Matters’, which investigates the intricate relationship between information flow and associative material formations. Investigations under this research umbrella include the following:
Performance driven design, with a focus on generating bottom-up, performance embedded formations via non-linear fully parametric modes of design and engineering.
Interactive Architecture, with a focus on multi-modal interaction, involving bi-directional communication between architectural space, embedded sensing, actuation, and control technologies, contextual dynamics and human behaviour.
Interaction Design and Cognitive Sciences for establishing scientific linkages between the disciplines of architecture, interaction design, computational design, cognitive sciences and experimental psychology.
Smart cities and Social Innovation involving the development of both methodological and technological frameworks for associatively binding heterogenous datasets for extracting glocal knowledge via the integration of ICT, distributed sensing networks and web crawling.