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


Human-exoskeleton dynamics and control

639 – Mechanical D&D and V&V for a Hand Exoskeleton
Category:master project (full-time), internship
Keywords:Compliance, Mechanical Construction, Robotics
Type:20% theory, 60% hardware, 20% software
Responsible: (MED 0 1023, phone: 34183)
Description:

Introduction

At the BioRobotics laboratory at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), we developed a novel hand exoskeleton with the main purpose of assisting independence and promoting intensive use during activities of daily living (ADL). The device 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.

Click here for an overview of the project

M.Sc. Thesis Proposal

The hand exoskeleton is composed of three main stages: (i) a wearable actuation stage, (ii) a bi-directional motion transmission stage to transmit the mechanical energy from the actuation stage to the user’s hand, and (iii) a wearable exoskeletal layer to exchange the mechanical energy with the wearer’s fingers – enabling to actively control their movements.

The objective of this Thesis is to perform closed-loop Verification and Validation (V&V) and Design and Development (D&D) activities on the three stages, to verify adherence to input design requirements and to improve the functionalities of the device based on the results of V&V.

This work will leverage on the knowledge on medical devices lifecycle matured within the laboratory, on the existing exoskeleton hardware concept, and will draw inspiration from state-of-the-art soft robotic exoskeletons / grippers to improve the existing device exploiting mechanically-compliant structures, materials and manufacturing methods.

The Thesis will be divided into three main work packages (WP):

(WP1) Familiarization with existing hand exoskeleton, state-of-the-art literature, and medical devices lifecycle

(WP2) Mechanical Verification and Validation

(WP3) Mechanical Design and Development

Input design requirements are drawn from required performance during typical activities of daily living (e.g. autonomous eating with cutlery, grasping and holding a glass full of water, e.g.: fingertip forces ~10 N , ROM at fingers ~[70,100]° ), and from usability endpoints (easy and quick donning/doffing procedures, prolonged wearing, comfort, reduced bulk and weight).

Expected outcomes include: (i) implementation of novel/improved designs of (some of) the stages of the device, (ii) assessments of performance through solid methodological and patient-centered approaches.

The Thesis will be conducted at the EPFL, with access to the following facilities:

- Office location at the BioRobotics laboratory

- Personal access to manufacturing (e.g. Laser cutter; 3-axis CNC machine; ABS, PLA and Flexible FDM 3D printer; Thermoforming machine; Sewing machine; Lathe; SMD soldering equipment), and measuring (e.g. Vicon) tools

- On-demand access to EPFL services for professional manufacturing

Contact

If interested, please contact: luca.randazzo@epfl.ch



Last edited: 01/07/2021
640 – Electronics D&D and V&V for a Hand Exoskeleton
Category:master project (full-time), internship
Keywords:Electronics, Embedded Systems, Radio, Robotics
Type:20% theory, 60% hardware, 20% software
Responsible: (MED 0 1023, phone: 34183)
Description:

Introduction

At the BioRobotics laboratory at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), we developed a novel hand exoskeleton with the main purpose of assisting independence and promoting intensive use during activities of daily living (ADL). The device 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.

Click here for an overview of the project

M.Sc. Thesis Proposal

The objective of this Thesis is to perform closed-loop Verification and Validation (V&V) and Design and Development (D&D) activities on the the electronics components inside the device, to verify adherence to input design requirements and regulatory requirements, and to improve the functionalities of the device based on the results of V&V.

This work will leverage on the knowledge on medical devices lifecycle matured within the laboratory, on the existing exoskeleton electronics concepts, and will draw inspiration from state-of-the-art medical devices to improve the electronics of the device.

The Thesis will be divided into three main work packages (WP):

(WP1) Familiarization with existing hand exoskeleton, state-of-the-art literature, and medical devices lifecycle

(WP2) Electronics Verification and Validation

(WP3) Electronics Design and Development

Expected outcomes include: (i) implementation of novel/improved designs of the device electronics, (ii) assessments of performance and compliance to regulatory requirements through solid methodological approaches.

The Thesis will be conducted at the EPFL, with access to the following facilities:

- Office location at the BioRobotics laboratory

- Personal access to manufacturing (e.g. Laser cutter; 3-axis CNC machine; ABS, PLA and Flexible FDM 3D printer; Thermoforming machine; Sewing machine; Lathe; SMD soldering equipment), and measuring (e.g. Vicon) tools

- On-demand access to EPFL services for professional manufacturing

Contact

If interested, please contact: luca.randazzo@epfl.ch



Last edited: 01/07/2021
641 – Firmware D&D and V&V for a Hand Exoskeleton
Category:master project (full-time), internship
Keywords:Architecture, C++, Computer Science, Embedded Systems, Programming, Robotics
Type:20% theory, 20% hardware, 60% software
Responsible: (MED 0 1023, phone: 34183)
Description:

Introduction

At the BioRobotics laboratory at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), we developed a novel hand exoskeleton with the main purpose of assisting independence and promoting intensive use during activities of daily living (ADL). The device 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.

Click here for an overview of the project

M.Sc. Thesis Proposal

The objective of this Thesis is to perform closed-loop Verification and Validation (V&V) and Design and Development (D&D) activities on the the firmware components inside the device, to verify adherence to input design requirements and regulatory requirements, and to improve the functionalities of the device based on the results of V&V.

This work will leverage on the knowledge on medical devices lifecycle matured within the laboratory, on the existing exoskeleton electronics concepts, and will draw inspiration from state-of-the-art medical devices to improve the firmware of the device.

The Thesis will be divided into three main work packages (WP):

(WP1) Familiarization with existing hand exoskeleton, state-of-the-art literature, and medical devices lifecycle

(WP2) Firmware Verification and Validation

(WP3) Firmware Design and Development

Expected outcomes include: (i) implementation of novel/improved designs of the device firmware, (ii) assessments of performance and compliance to regulatory requirements through solid methodological approaches.

The Thesis will be conducted at the EPFL, with access to the following facilities:

- Office location at the BioRobotics laboratory

- Personal access to manufacturing (e.g. Laser cutter; 3-axis CNC machine; ABS, PLA and Flexible FDM 3D printer; Thermoforming machine; Sewing machine; Lathe; SMD soldering equipment), and measuring (e.g. Vicon) tools

- On-demand access to EPFL services for professional manufacturing

Contact

If interested, please contact: luca.randazzo@epfl.ch



Last edited: 01/07/2021

Modular robotics

663 – Prototyping of CPG networks on STM32 microcontrollers with various types of buses
Category:master project (full-time)
Keywords:Electronics, Embedded Systems
Type:5% theory, 60% hardware, 35% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1025, phone: 36630)
Description:

The goals of this project are:

  • To create a simple custom board with a STM32 microcontroller and a few peripherals, designed to be easily interconnected to create a chain mimicking a modular robot
  • To test the board prototype, and assemble several copies for experiments
  • To implement a distributed central pattern generator (CPG) on the microcontollers, and evaluate its performance on various conditions, e.g. the number of nodes on the bus, and the type of communication bus used (typical examples will be CAN and Luos/Robus)
  • To design and implement a point-to-point communication protocol allowing the nodes to automatically deduce their position in the chain


Last edited: 16/08/2021

Quadruped robotics

A small excerpt of possible projects is listed here. Highly interested students may also propose projects, or continue an existing topic.

652 – Integrating Learning-Based Control with MPC and CPGs
Category:semester project, master project (full-time), bachelor semester project, internship
Keywords:Bio-inspiration, Control, Learning, Locomotion, Optimization, Robotics
Type:40% theory, 60% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1024, phone: 37506)
Description:Recent years have shown impressive locomotion control of dynamic systems through a variety of methods, for example with optimal control (MPC), machine learning (deep reinforcement learning), and bio-inspired approaches (CPGs). Given a system for which two or more of these methods exist: how should we choose which to use at run time? Should this depend on environmental factors, i.e. the expected value of a given state? Can this help with explainability of what exactly our deep reinforcement learning policy has learned? In this project, the student will use machine learning to answer these questions, as well as integrate CPGs and MPC into the deep reinforcement learning framework. The methods will be validated on systems including quadrupeds and model cars first in simulation, with the goal of transferring the method to hardware.

Last edited: 08/06/2021

Mobile robotics

658 – Swarm Furniture Obstacle Avoidance for Smart-Living Environment Assisting Wheelchair Navigation
Category:master project (full-time)
Keywords:Control, Programming
Type:50% theory, 50% software
Responsibles: (MED 1 1016, phone: 41216939075)
(ME A3 395, phone: +41 21 693 10 6)
(ME A3 485, phone: +41 21 693 78 2)
Description:This project is a step towards the development of a modular control architecture for collaborative robots in smart-living environments. The goal is to develop a simulation environment of this fully smart home (mobile furniture) and implement a control framework for the modular robotic system to facilitate user’s navigation and obstacle avoidance through the smart home. The project will start by analyzing and drafting a swarm robot formation that could work in decentralised control based on LASA’s developed obstacle avoidance through modulated dynamical systems [1]. The resulting controller should plan motions either to move away or towards a person while respecting the environment’s constraints and avoiding collisions. The test-bed simulation with modular robotic furniture will operate autonomously for increasing the efficient navigation of a pedestrian user or a smart wheelchair robot user (simulated semi-autonomous driving Qolo [2]). The resulting simulator and controller will serve as a baseline for enabling further development of the human-robot interaction framework to control specific behaviours of the modular robot furniture, such as a user commanding furniture to get closer or move further away. This project is associated with the CIS Intelligent Assistive Robotics Collaboration Research Pillar. It is co-supervised by LASA and BioRob laboratories. Approach: 1. Develop a test-bed environment (in Unity or Rviz) containing robotic furniture that incorporates physical/computational constraints and velocity control. 2. Implement an obstacle avoidance DS-based algorithm on each robot object acting independently [1]. 3. Analyze the behaviour of the modular swarm acting independently and evaluate the performance of the swarm to provide a set of baseline results. 4. Formulate a swarm controller for enhancing group response towards enhancing/facilitating user motion in the smart environment. Expected Experiences for the Student: • Experience developing experimental test-bed for robot swarm simulation. • Learning state-of-the-art motion control through time-invariant dynamical systems for mobile robots. • Experience virtual robot motion planning for a robotic swarm. • Experience virtual robot dynamic control. References: [1] L. Huber, A. Billard, and J.-J. Slotine, “Avoidance of Convex and Concave Obstacles With Convergence Ensured Through Contraction,” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 1462–1469, 2019. DOI: 10.1109/LRA.2019.2893676 [2] D. F. Paez-Granados, H. Kadone, and K. Suzuki, “Unpowered Lower-Body Exoskeleton with Torso Lifting Mechanism for Supporting Sit-to-Stand Transitions,” in IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, (Madrid), pp. 2755–2761, IEEE Xplorer, 2018. DOI:10.1109/IROS.2018.8594199

Last edited: 18/06/2021
651 – Autonomous Drifting on Scaled Vehicle Hardware
Category:semester project, master project (full-time), bachelor semester project, internship
Keywords:C++, Control, Electronics, Embedded Systems, Experiments, Optimization
Type:10% theory, 60% hardware, 30% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1024, phone: 37506)
Description:Controlling vehicles at their limits of handling has significant implications from both safety and autonomous racing perspectives. For example, in icy conditions, skidding may occur unintentionally, making it desirable to safely control the vehicle back to its nominal working conditions. From a racing perspective, drivers of rally cars drift around turns while maintaining high speeds on loose gravel or dirt tracks. In this project, the student will build a (1/16-1/5 scaled) vehicle hardware test bed to validate dynamic vehicle maneuvers involving both sustained (i.e. donuts) and transient (i.e. skid-parking) drifting. The nonlinear MPC producing such maneuvers has been validated in simulation (ROS/Gazebo). The project will involve full stack development: selecting hardware components (i.e. chassis, motor, microcontroller), physically building the system (i.e. possible 3D printing, mounting), and control and software (running the MPC on the microcontroller in C++). Potential extensions include integrating machine learning with the MPC, for example to facilitate transfer to drifting on new systems, surfaces, and environments.

Last edited: 08/06/2021

7 projects found.