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Robotics & AI

Soft and adaptive interactions of robots with Nature

Our bio-inspired robots are made of compliant materials. We create actuators and controllers for flexible and adaptive interactions of robots with objects and living beings.

In the Soft Robotics lab, we build robots that safely interact with Nature. Living organisms are flexible, versatile, and adaptive due to their soft, deformable, and integrative characteristics. These features inspire our robotic fish, walkers, hands, and flying machines. Our robots comprise soft and rigid functional materials, and they sense the world through intelligent and flexible electronics. They can move dynamically under internal fluidic pressure or electrostatic stimulation. Objects can be adaptively manipulated under and above water because the functional materials seamlessly integrate with intelligent controllers. The controllers consist of models and learning techniques that capture structural and fluidic behaviors and enable locomotion, object manipulation, and medical applications. We also make biohybrid robots by combining living materials, such as biological cells and tissue, with inanimate materials. Biohybrids are energy-efficient, biocompatible, and multifunctional.


Robert Katzschmann is an Assistant Professor of Robotics at ETH Zurich. In July 2020, Robert founded the Soft Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich to push robots' abilities for real-life applications. His work has appeared in leading academic journals, including Science Robotics. Robert is a member of the ETH AI Center, the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems (CLS), and the ETH Competence Center for Materials and Processes (MaP).

Soft Robotics Lab Robert Katzschmann +41 44 632 2240rkk@ethz.ch