ERC Stories

  • Microrobotics meets nanomedicine for improved eye surgery

    May 2015
    Microrobotics meets nanomedicine for improved eye surgery
     May 2015

    With an aging population, Europe sees a rapid increase in the number of people affected by visual disorders requiring surgical intervention. Funded by the ERC, a team of scientists based in Zürich are currently designing innovative microrobotics tools to overcome the particular difficulty of manual-performed eye surgery.
    © ETH Zurich – IRIS – MSRL Portrait: © ETH Zurich – IRIS – MSRL

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  • A step forward to the service robots of the future

    May 2015
    A step forward to the service robots of the future
     May 2015

    Why should people waste their time executing some repetitive time-consuming everyday tasks which do not require creativity and intellectual capacity? Such a reasoning stands behind Professor Bruno Siciliano’s ERC funded project aiming at the creation of a new generation of service robots.
    © Ciro Fusco, ANSA Portrait: © Bruno Siciliano, PRISMA Lab

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  • Flocking drones, swarming pigeons

    May 2015
    Flocking drones, swarming pigeons
     May 2015

    Not only living organisms, but also robots can move in certain collective patterns. But what rules underlie such behaviour? The study of the patterns of group motion in pigeons motivated Professor Tamás Vicsek to develop a swarm of drones being able to reproduce analogous collective motion behaviour.

    © Mátyás Lőrincz

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  • Broken hearts may be repaired

    May 2015
    Broken hearts may be repaired
     May 2015

    Prof. Michael Schneider is a leading authority in the field of cardiac molecular biology. In 2008, he obtained an ERC grant to identify the mechanisms governing self-renewal of cardiac progenitor cells, a population of stem cells located in the heart itself that might be exploited to play a key role in regenerating this vulnerable organ in heart disease. With his team at Imperial College London, he has now identified a stem cell injection that could mend broken hearts, a discovery in the field of regenerative medicine published this week in Nature Communications.

    Written in collaboration the British Heart Foundation

    Portrait: © Academy of Medical Science

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  • Geometry at the service of robotics

    May 2015
    Geometry at the service of robotics
     May 2015

    Embodied intelligence is a very dynamic research field. With this ERC project, Doctor Jean-Paul Laumond intends to contribute to the advancement of basic research in this field bridging the gap between robot engineering and neuroscience thanks to geometric models.
    © LAAS-CNRS - Portrait: © LAAS-CNRS

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  • How to equip robots with senses

    May 2015
    How to equip robots with senses
     May 2015

    Compared to humans, the sensing and dexterity of current robots is extremely limited. Reproducing these fundamental human abilities in robotics systems requires a new scientific and technological approach, according to Professor Danica Kragic.

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  • Robotics: Spotlight on ERC projects

    May 2015
    Robotics: Spotlight on ERC projects
     May 2015

    The idea of automated machines that can perform tasks autonomously dates back to ancient times but robotics is a relatively new research domain  less than 60 years old. Today, this broad, interdisciplinary scientific field combines mechanical and electrical engineering, computational studies, communication engineering, but also neurosciences and cognitive sciences.

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  • Towards simpler, smarter artificial hands

    May 2015
    Towards simpler, smarter artificial hands
     May 2015

    Will robots ever have the same dexterity as humans? Professor Antonio Bicchi is working on the next-generation of artificial hands that can be programmed to adapt to different tasks and environments. The  promising results of his research could have a strong impact on engineering robotics as well as on rehabilitation technologies.
    Portrait: © Studio Brega

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  • Poppy, the 3-D printed robot set to inspire innovation in classrooms

    May 2015
    Poppy, the 3-D printed robot set to inspire innovation in classrooms
     May 2015

    It has long been a sci-fi dream to have a humanoid robot in our everyday life. Soon that dream may seem even more vivid, thanks to Dr Pierre-Yves Oudeyer’s ERC-funded project. His team has developed the first complete open-source 3D printed humanoid robot, called “Poppy”. Poppy is a robot that anybody can build – its body is 3D printed and its behaviour programmed by the user. The technology will be of benefit to the fields of science, engineering, education and even the arts.

    © Inria - Photo Poppy Project, M. Lapeyre Portrait:© Inria / Photo J.M. Ramès

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  • Engineering safer cities

    April 2015
    Engineering safer cities
     April 2015

    How can we guarantee the integrity of existing buildings while continuing to develop urban spaces? Professor Debra Laefer's ERC-funded project tackles fundamental problems at the interface between new engineering undertakings and building conservation. The research team will draw on a largely unmined data source to create a system to predict the degree of damage likely to be sustained by buildings as a result of tunnelling.

    Credits: courtesy of Debra F. Laefer

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