Bella (2012-2015)


Project title: Bio-inspired control of electro-active polymers for next generation soft robots

EPSRC grant no: EP/I032533/1

Project objectives

There are two principle objectives of this project

  1. To develop a multi-degree of freedom robotic system that combines active vision and whisker based tactile sensing using novel dielectric elastomer actuation technology.
  2. To demonstrate the ubiquity of a novel adaptive-control algorithm in the coordination of soft robotic sensori-motor systems. We take inspiration from computational neuroscience models of the cerebellum, a region of the vertebrate brain associated with the development of fine motor control and sensori-motor coordination.


Candidate designs have been evaluated in the development of an array of “soft-actuated” whiskers as shown top right picture.

Prototype whisker module Vs2.5 (picture top left) has so far been selected in terms of affordability, robustness and kinematic capability. This structure has been designed in order to achieve high modularity, accessibility and safety, power management and sensors are currently under development.

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Page last updated 12 May 2016