Biorobotics Laboratory BioRob

Project Database

This page contains the database of possible research projects for master and bachelor students in the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob). Visiting students are also welcome to join BioRob, but it should be noted that no funding is offered for those projects. To enroll for a project, please directly contact one of the assistants (directly in his/her office, by phone or by mail). Spontaneous propositions for projects are also welcome, if they are related to the research topics of BioRob, see the BioRob Research pages and the results of previous student projects.

Amphibious robotics
Computational Neuroscience
Dynamical systems
Human-exoskeleton dynamics and control
Humanoid robotics
Miscellaneous
Mobile robotics
Modular robotics
Neuro-muscular modelling
Quadruped robotics


Amphibious robotics

611 – Traversability pipeline for Krock 2
Category:semester project
Keywords:C++, Linux, Locomotion
Type:20% theory, 80% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1215, phone: 32602)
Description:This project combines the traversability pipeline developed at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA with amphibious hardware development at BIOROB. Traversability is calculated by generating a dataset through simulation, discerning which patches of 3D height maps the Krock 2 robot should be able to cross. After thoroughly sampling this space on a variety of rough terrains and outputting a binary success or failure, a neural network is trained on the dataset and used to extrapolate whether the robot should be able to cross larger maps. We will investigate several new directions: 1) Incorporating a more sophisticated closed-loop locomotion controller. Currently the simulated gait is open-loop with no feedback from any of the onboard sensors. 2) Feeding an expanded feature set to the neural network, incorporating sensor data rather than a binary success/failure measure 3) Using the output of these traversability maps to guide higher-level navigation of the robot across larger sections of terrain

Last edited: 25/09/2019
609 – Refactoring code base for control of amphibious robots
Category:semester project, internship
Keywords:C++, Computer Science, Control, Electronics, Linux, Programming
Type:10% hardware, 90% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1215, phone: 32602)
Description:The EPFL Biorobotics Lab (BIOROB) operates several robots on a control framework developed over several years. The latest iteration involves an amphibious, sprawling-gait robot intended for locomotion both in water and on land. The aim of this project is to refactor the functioning code base to improve usability and readability. Specifically, we aim to separate the general control framework from specific instance of the running robot and extensively document classes using Doxygen comments. Good knowledge of UNIX-like environments (e.g. Linux) and good C++ skills are a requirement. Previous experience with mechatronics projects and/or robotics is a plus. Applicants able to provide examples of past programming projects are strongly preferred. Code base located at: https://gitlab.com/biorob-krock/Krock2_RobotController

Last edited: 26/08/2019
599 – Porting control architecture to ROS
Category:semester project, bachelor semester project, internship
Keywords:C++, Control, Linux, Programming, Robotics
Type:20% hardware, 80% software
Responsibles: (MED 1 1611, phone: 34793)
(MED 1 1215, phone: 32602)
Description:We are investigating highly articulated, amphibious robots within the scope of NCCR Robotics towards search and rescue scenarios. These robots are to be demonstrated cooperating with other legged and aerial platforms within the program. https://nccr-robotics.ch/ Our system is currently controlled through a C++ program running on an Odroid XU4, though most other systems under our NCCR project run within the Robot Operating System (ROS). To facilitate cooperation (e.g. sharing sensor data while mapping environments), we would like to port the control of the robot to this common, "middleware" platform. https://www.ros.org/ The project would consist of the initial setup and test of ROS, further documentation of the current C++ code base, and working up towards the control of a quadrupedal robot, such as k-rock. Ultimately, this would help more easily integrate additional actuation, sensors, and control. https://actu.epfl.ch/news/k-rock-meets-his-cousin/ Student should have experience coding in C++. Please contact Matt Estrada with a description of previous projects worked on.

Last edited: 05/06/2019
598 – Amphibious hardware design
Category:semester project, master project (full-time), internship
Keywords:Bio-inspiration, C++, Control, Electronics, Locomotion, Mechanical Construction, Programming, Robotics
Type:10% theory, 80% hardware, 10% software
Responsibles: (MED 1 1215, phone: 32602)
(MED 1 1215, phone: 32602)
Description:Aquatic, undulatory locomotion is investigated in the lab by highly-articulated, robotic systems that require actuation, electronics, and hence waterproofing, throughout the body of the robot. The ability to rapidly iterate hardware design is hindered by the overhead in designing these water-resilient systems. An alternative approach being used in the lab is to use a dry-suit, creating a layer between the water and electronics inside. However, this suit can hinder mobility of the robot and wear at contact points when traversing the ground. We are working with a dry suit for the K-Rock robot, using a similar skeleton as the one shown below, but a different (i.e. less-bio) suit. Desired refinements include a better process to put on the suit and reinforcing contact points with the ground. https://actu.epfl.ch/news/k-rock-meets-his-cousin/

Last edited: 03/06/2019

Human-exoskeleton dynamics and control

602 – Design (Mechanics, Electronics, Human-machine interface) and improvement of a hand exoskeleton
Category:semester project, master project (full-time), internship
Keywords:C++, Data Processing, Electronics, Embedded Systems, Mechanical Construction, Radio, Robotics
Type:100% other activities
Responsible: (MED 0 1023, phone: 34183)
Description:

Impairments to hand sensorimotor functions are among the most common consequences of traumatic and neurological conditions affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems, such as strokes, spinal cord injuries, and cerebral palsies. Due to the fundamental role that our hands play during everyday living, deficits in arms and hand functioning are heavily disabling conditions that can drastically reduce the personal independence during daily life and the social participation of affected individuals.


At the CNBI and BioRob laboratories at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, we developed a novel hand exoskeleton with the main purpose of assisting independence and promoting intensive use during activities of daily living (ADL). The system was iteratively designed, developed and tested in collaboration with healthcare professionals and users with hand motor disabilities. Experimental results showed that the exoskeleton could help these users regain capabilities useful for independence in daily life that they had lost since their disabling accidents.


Short summary video


Journal paper


Tests with end-users


Images and short description



Within the framework of the hand exoskeleton, we have several opening for students semester and master projects:


(i) Industrial design

- Design for production

- Design for regulatory compliance

- Design for manufacturing and assembly

- Setup of supply chain

(ii) Electronics

- Microcontroller

- Radio communication

- Design for manufacturing and assembly

- Battery recharge

(iii) Human machine interface

- Electromyographic (EMG) control

- Software interfacing with commercial EMG device

- Development of subject-specific decoders

We’re interested in self-driven candidates, with background and experience in:

(i) Mechanical Design (e.g. Solidworks, Inventor, Catia, ...). Expertise in: 3D printing, Laser cutting, CNC, ...

(ii) Electronics design (e.g. Altium, Eagle, ...). Expertise in: breadboard prototyping, SMD soldering, ...

(iii) Software development (e.g. C, C++, Matlab, ...). Expertise in: software modeling (e.g. UML), signal processing, ...

Experience with any of the following is a plus:

- Design for production methods (DFMA)

- Worked with soft and wearable systems, fabrics and sewing

- Interest in assistive technologies and devices

- Passionate about product design

If you are interested in any of the previous topics, contact: luca.randazzo@epfl.ch



Last edited: 09/07/2019

Miscellaneous

583 – Simulation and control of a robotized wheelchair able to cross difficult terrains
Category:semester project, master project (full-time)
Keywords:Control, Dynamics Model, Locomotion, Optimization, Robotics
Type:20% theory, 80% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1226, phone: 32658)
Description:This project aims at extending a dynamic simulation and locomotion controllers for a robotized wheechair able to handle difficult terrains including stairs. The project is done in collaboration with Mr Christophe Cazali who invented and patented the wheelchair. The wheelchair has 4 legs with two 1-axis motorized joints. This mechanism enables the wheelchair to cross obstacles like stairs while keeping the seat always horizontal and statically stable. Currently, the movement is driven by a 3D camera and some position sensors, but we do not know how to handle hazardous events (ex : slipping wheels, wrong estimation of obstacle size or position, loosing ground contact at one wheel… etc) with a good safety level. In the medium term, this study should lead to the creation of a prototype, and in the long term to a product for persons with reduced mobility. The project consists in developing controllers for the simulated wheelchair in Webots and run simulation scenarios (ground scene, trajectory and hazardous events) in order to determine, for each hazardous event, the types of sensors and control algorithms necessary for achieving safe operation. The project will therefore involve modeling work (20% of the work), development of locomotion controllers (60%), and iterative exploration of the best combination of sensors and control algorithms (20%).

Last edited: 07/09/2019
577 – Novel robotic solutions for space exploration and colonization at JAXA
Category:master project (full-time)
Keyword:Robotics
Type:30% theory, 20% hardware, 50% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1226, phone: 32658)
Description:

Do you want to help unravel the mysteries of space? Do you have a keen interest in robotics and space sciences? Then why not join the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for a master project or a summer internship jointly supervised by the Biorobotics Laboratory? On the Sagamihara campus, right next to Tokyo, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS/JAXA) is working on innovative robotics projects for future space missions, including extraterrestrial environments colonization. Current projects include novel jumping rovers for lunar pit exploration, swarm of soft robots for Mars missions, modular robotic structures for autonomous outpost creation, reconfigurable satellites,... and so much more! We are offering a very stimulating environment, in which you will be able to work directly with researchers and engineers on concrete problems as well as on theoretical challenges. We are open to suggestions for potential new projects and are eager to explore new paths, so do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your ideas!

In terms of financing, ISAS can unfortunately not fully cover your costs of living (but case by case exception may be possible). We encourage you to check the financing opportunities at EPFL. A small budget will be allocated for the research project itself.

For more information on the various projects conducted at ISAS/JAXA, please have a look at our official website: http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/en/. For specific projects in robotics, you will find more information on the following website (we are currently updating it): http://robotics.isas.jaxa.jp/kubota_lab/en/

Contact at JAXA:

Dr. Stephane Bonardi
Kubota Laboratory, ISAS/JAXA
Email: stephane.bonardi@jaxa.jp



Last edited: 29/08/2019
601 – Multimodal controller design and characterization using somatosensory feedback for salamander locomotion
Category:semester project
Keywords:3D, Bio-inspiration, Control, Feedback, Locomotion, Programming, Simulator, Synchronization
Type:30% theory, 70% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1611, phone: 34793)
Description:A simulation model of the salamander is currently being developed for 3D simulations with the Bullet 3D physics engine. It has been implemented such that it could already simulate basic walking gaits using a network of oscillators based on CPGs. This project will consist in improving the walking gaits in simulation by upgrading the morphology and the oscillator networks. More precisely, the end goal of the project will be to explore how the combination of sensory feedback with CPG networks could improve walking in salamanders.

Last edited: 20/06/2019
578 – Implementation of an optimization framework
Category:master project (full-time)
Keywords:C++, Computer Science, Linux, Programming
Type:100% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1025, phone: 36630)
Description:

The EPFL biorobotics lab (BIOROB) has several servers that are used as computation nodes to run simulations. Currently, we use a custom optimization framework that allows users to easily distribute simulations (mainly running on Webots) on the nodes and to collect the results. The aim of this project is to (a) explore and document how to deploy SLURM (or a similar open-source well-maintained job scheduler) on such a setup, and to (b) implement an extensible optimization framework (in C/C++, with bindings at least for Python) capable of doing what our current setup can do, but on the top of SLURM.

Good knowledge of UNIX-like environments (e.g. Linux) and good C++ skills are a requirement. Previous experience with job schedulers and/or optimization (e.g. particle swarm optimization) is a plus.



Last edited: 14/11/2018 (revalidated 09/08/2019)

Neuro-muscular modelling

610 – Adapt morphology of biomechanical models to specific patients from marker placements
Category:semester project
Keywords:3D, Bio-inspiration, Biped Locomotion, Motion Capture, Muscle modeling, Programming, Simulator
Type:30% theory, 70% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1611, phone: 34793)
Description:The EPFL Biorobotics laboratory is using neuromuscular simulation to better understand the mechanisms behind the neural control of healthy and pathological human locomotion. Cerebral palsy is a diffused neural desease leading to gait deviations and mostly present in very young individuals. This project aims to generate a biomechanical model adapted to the shape of different children to allow more efficient predictive simulations of CP pathological gait. In collaboration with the Kinesiology Lab in Geneva, we have access to many patients recorded from there lab. Most of the patients are children with different age and body shape. The shape of the body will be estimated based on the marker positions recorded and saved in C3D files. Therefore, markers relative to specific anatomical frames will be used as reference for the estimation of length of body segments. Weight of segments will be estimated using existing anthropometric tables. The final outcome of the project is a tool able to take as input the marker positions and automatically return the model scaled according to the morphology of the patient in the OpenSim and Webots format. The work will partially done with open sim scaling tools and webots.

Last edited: 18/09/2019
607 – Sensitivity analysis of muscle reflexes on multiple parameters dimension
Category:semester project
Keywords:Biped Locomotion, Feedback, Programming, Reflexes
Type:30% theory, 70% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1611, phone: 36620)
Description:The EPFL Biorobotics laboratory is using neuromuscular simulation to better understand the mechanisms behind the neural control of human locomotion. These simulations have shown that a simple sensory driven controller is able to replicate healthy gaits stimulating reflexes based on stretch and force receptors and gained by specific constant parameters. Yet, it is still not clear which parameter or combination of parameters influence most the gait patterns. Previously, an OFAT (one factor at time) study was conducted to investigate the influence of single parameters This project aims to perform a sensitivity analysis studying the changing effect of combinations of reflex parameters extracting data from multiple simulations in Webots. The code is implemented in Python. Past experience with Webots is a plus, but not compulsory.

Last edited: 26/08/2019
608 – Matching healthy and pathological gaits with GA algorithm
Category:semester project
Keywords:Biped Locomotion, Computational Neuroscience, Feedback, Optimization, Programming, Reflexes
Type:30% theory, 70% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1611, phone: 36620)
Description:The EPFL Biorobotics laboratory is using neuromuscular simulation to better understand the mechanisms behind the neural control of human locomotion. These simulations have shown that a simple sensory driven controller is able to replicate healthy gaits stimulating reflexes based on stretch and force receptors and gained by specific constant parameters. This project aims to investigate whether our neuromuscular model is able to replicate gaits resulting from pathologies such as stroke, weakness and cerebral palsy matching joint trajectory obtained in simulations and experimental data using Genetic Algorithms. The code is implemented in Python. Past experience with Webots is a plus, but not compulsory.

Last edited: 18/07/2019
606 – Modeling spasticity behavior in human pathological locomotion
Category:semester project
Keywords:Biped Locomotion, Feedback, Programming, Reflexes
Type:30% theory, 70% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1611, phone: 36620)
Description:The EPFL Biorobotics laboratory is using neuromuscular simulation to better understand the mechanisms behind the neural control of healthy and pathological human locomotion. These simulations have shown that a simple sensory driven controller is able to replicate healthy gaits stimulating reflexes based on stretch and force receptors and gained by specific constant parameters. These reflexes are modulated by descending pathways coming from the brain. However, brain and spinal injuries may result in an abnormal modulaton of reflexes leading to spasticity. This project aims to reproduce the spasticity behavior in neuromechanical simulations of pathological human walking. Computational programming skills with Python are required. Previous experience with Webots is a plus, but not compulsory.

Last edited: 18/07/2019

13 projects found.