BioMorphic Intelligence Lab

Biologically inspired solutions for aerial robotics

Aerial robots are now ubiquitous. Thanks to their nimbleness, manoeuvrability and affordability, drones are used in many sectors to monitor, map and inspect. As a next step, flying robots offer more when they can interact with their surroundings via anthropomorphic-like manipulation capabilities. Some overarching challenges remain for this new class of aerial robots, and solutions inspired by biology can be implemented across three key areas for robot performance:
 
SENSE: Bio-inspired perception (e.g. visual or tactile feedback) can provide the drone with information on its environment, mimicking insects’ sensory feedback. Using retina-like event cameras, drones can avoid obstacles and detect objects at a fraction of the power and latency of conventional hardware and algorithms. Enhancing tactile feedback can also prompt different behaviours in response to different force stimuli.
 
THINK: Bio-inspired, brain-like models from Neuromorphic AI can help lower the computational load and speed up sensory data processing for navigation. This boosts real-time control and autonomy. Compliance embedded in the control of the robot also favours safe and robust interaction with unknown environments and targets.
 
ACT: Bio-inspired design and materials make the drone's body fit for interaction with unknown objects, and enable a safe response to external disturbances. Robot morphology can be inspired by flying animals’ shape, configuration and materials. Together, these features create embodied intelligence, and can partially offset the behaviour complexity handled by the brain.
 
The BioMorphic Intelligence Lab aims to tackle robustness and efficiency challenges for interacting drones, using biologically inspired solutions for both the 'body' and the 'brain' and applying techniques involving embodied intelligence and neuromorphic AI.

The BioMorphic Intelligence Lab is part of the TU Delft AI Labs programme.

The Team

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