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.

Search filter: only projects matching the keyword Experiments are shown here. Remove filter

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

Human-exoskeleton dynamics and control

735 – Hip exoskeleton to assist walking - multiple projects
Category:semester project, master project (full-time), bachelor semester project, internship
Keywords:Bio-inspiration, C, C++, Communication, Compliance, Control, Data Processing, Dynamics Model, Electronics, Experiments, Inverse Dynamics, Kinematics Model, Learning, Locomotion, Machine learning, Optimization, Programming, Python, Robotics, Treadmill
Type:30% theory, 35% hardware, 35% software
Responsible: (MED 3 1015, phone: 31153)
Description:Exoskeletons have experienced an unprecedented growth in recent years and hip-targeting active devices have demonstrated their potential in assisting walking activities. Portable exoskeletons are designed to provide assistive torques while taking off the added weight, with the overall goal of increasing the endurance, reducing the energetic expenditure and increase the performance during walking. The design of exoskeletons involves the development of the sensing, the actuation, the control, and the human-robot interface. In our lab, a hip-joint active hip orthosis (“eWalk”) has been prototyped and tested in recent years. Currently, multiple projects are available to address open research questions. Does the exoskeleton reduce the effort while walking? How can we model human-exoskeleton interaction? How can we design effective controls? How can we optimize the interfaces and the control? Which movements can we assist with exoskeletons? To address these challenges, the field necessitates knowledge in biology, mechanics, electronics, physiology, informatics (programming, learning algorithms), and human-robot interaction. If you are interested in collaborating in one of these topics, please send an email to with your CV, previous experiences that could be relevant to the project, and what interests you the most about this research topic (to be discussed during the interview).

Last edited: 19/04/2024


729 – Robotic paleontology: tail strike defense
Category:master project (full-time)
Keywords:3D, Biomimicry, Embedded Systems, Experiments, Mechanical Construction, Programming
Type:20% theory, 60% hardware, 20% software
Responsible: (MED 1 1226, phone: 32658)

We offer an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated graduate student in Mechanical Engineering to undertake a thesis project focusing on designing and constructing a robotic apparatus to test and validate the impact force of a dinosaur tail strike. This project spans approximately 6 months and requires a combination of mechanical design expertise, force plate measurements, innovation in biomimetic structures, and proficiency in data analysis.

Project Description

The thesis project revolves around designing, building, and controlling a life-sized robotic tail capable of replicating the striking force of a dinosaur’s club-shaped tail. The aim is to accurately measure impact force and velocity using a bone-like material reproduction sourced from fossils we have at the Palaeontological Institute and Museum of the University of Zurich. This endeavor will involve close collaboration with a multidisciplinary team and conducting experiments at our facilities at Empa Dübendorf by Zurich.


  • Utilize mechanical design skills (3D modeling) and motion control (microcontroller designing and programming) to create a functional life-sized Glyptodont's tail.
  • Conduct tests to measure impact force and velocity, meticulously documenting experimental procedures and results.
  • Employ data analysis techniques, including statistical tools or software, to interpret experimental findings.
  • Demonstrate creativity in problem-solving, proposing enhancements to the biomimetic tail design where necessary.
  • Collaborate effectively within a team, communicating ideas and contributing to the project's success.


  • Background in mechanical designing with proficiency in 3D modeling.
  • Expertise in motion control, including microcontroller designing and programming.
  • Ability to collect, analyze, and interpret experimental data using statistical tools or software.
  • Strong problem-solving skills with a demonstrated ability to innovate in design and testing.
  • Excellent communication skills to collaborate within a team and articulate ideas effectively.
  • Expected Outcomes

  • Successful creation of a fully functional life-sized Glyptodont's tail within the thesis duration.
  • Execution of tests to accurately measure impact force and velocity.
  • Comprehensive documentation of experiments and results.
  • Recommendations for potential enhancements or modifications based on findings.
  • If you are a Master's student passionate about pushing the boundaries of robotics, biomimicry, and mechanical engineering and are looking for an engaging thesis project, we encourage you to apply. Please submit your resume/CV along with a cover letter detailing your relevant experience and why you are excited about this exceptional thesis opportunity to Auke Ijspeert as well as Ardian Jusufi.

    Last edited: 22/12/2023

    Mobile robotics

    651 – Autonomous Drifting on Scaled Vehicle Hardware
    Category:semester project, master project (full-time), internship
    Keywords:C++, Control, Electronics, Embedded Systems, Experiments, Learning, 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 compare several approaches for high speed, dynamic vehicle maneuvers, including NMPC with a standard dynamic bicycle model, NMPC with a dynamic bicycle model + GP residuals, NMPC with learned dynamics (i.e. a NN), and lastly a pure model-free reinforcement learning approach. All approaches will be tested in both simulation as well as on a scaled vehicle hardware platform. To apply, please email Guillaume with your motivation, CV, and briefly describe your relevant experience (i.e. with machine learning, software engineering, etc.).

    Last edited: 09/01/2024

    3 projects found.