Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UWE
The United Kingdom’s leading and largest academic center for multi-disciplinary robotics research was founded in 2004 and is a joint venture between the University of West England (UWE) and the University of Bristol (UoB). The Bristol Robotics Laboratory has 25 core members and 25 associate staff that help the lab conduct cutting edge and state-of-the-art research geared towards the development of autonomous robot systems.
Armed with the mission to understand the engineering and social roles of robotics and embedded intelligence through research, BRL intensively conducted research at its workshops, rapid prototyping facilities, and wet laboratories.
A spinoff from the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Laboratory (IAS) also at UWE, the BRL has pioneered advances in the development of autonomous robots with implanted intelligence from IAS core competencies. Here it is the lab’s goal to further translate these systems into social and commercial reality.
At the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, researchers are involved in various projects funded by national and international sources studying human-robot interaction: groups of robots, aerial robotics, neuro-inspired control, haptics, control systems, energy harvesting and self-sustaining systems, rehabilitating robotics, soft robotics, and biomedical systems, to name a few.
The lab also shares links with several robotic manufacturing communities and maintains steady contact with large international organizations that are also interested in the field of robotics.
Among the projects that BRL has accomplished are the sugar-powered autonomous robot called the Ecobot I, the Ecobot II that operates on flies, and the robot with fluid circulation that is called the Ecobot III. Here Microbial Fuel Cell, or MFC, research has been utilized fully in order to make this series of robots operate and run. To make them work, the MFC extracts energy from refined and unrefined foods using electrons from the microbial metabolic processes.
Another project that the BRL has undertaken is the Cooperative Human Robot Interacting System, or the CHRIS, robot. Here BRL aims to address the basic problems that hinder easy human-robot interaction.
Aside from these projects, BRL has also developed swarm robots and morphing multi-modal robots, has researched medical robotics, has contributed to the medical field through its rehabilitation studies for the hand and reduction of joint fractures, and has researched Bio-inspired transportation.
At the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, they believe that their researchers are the lifeblood of the lab and that their work is the force behind the success they have achieved.