Topic Area Spike Based Robotics

Group Members:

  • Jorg Conradt, TU Munich
  • David Mascarenas, Los Alamos National Labs
  • Daniel Lofaro, Drexel University
  • Garrick Orchard, Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology SINAPSE
  • John Harris, University of Florida
  • Mounya Elhilali, Johns Hopkins University
  • Michele Rucci, Boston University
  • Jennifer Hasler, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Ryad Benjamin Benosman, University Pierre and Marie Curie
  • Ralph Etienne-Cummings, JHU/ECE Department
  • Sergio Davies, The University of Manchester
  • Shih-Chii Liu, Institute of Neuroinformatics, UNI/ETHZ
  • Steve Kalik, Toyota Research Institue
  • Tara Julia Hamilton, The University of New South Wales
  • Timmer Horiuchi, University of Maryland
  • Tobi Delbruck, Institute of Neuroinformatics, UZH/ETH Zurich

Organizers: Jorg Conradt, Matthew Runchey (from 2nd week)

See wiki:2010/results/rob for results of this topic area.


  1. Tara Julia Hamilton (full time),  http://www.ee.unsw.edu.au/staff/tara/profile.htm
    1. 'Janet Wiles' (27/6 - 3/7),  http://www.itee.uq.edu.au/~janetw
    2. Lana SINAPAYEN (9/7 - 17/7),  http://www.qbi.uq.edu.au/index.html?page=52793
  2. 'Tobias Glasmachers' (full time, might leave some days in between),  http://www.idsia.ch/~glasmachers/
  3. 'David Lester' (second half,  http://intranet.cs.man.ac.uk/apt/people/dlester/)
    1. Sergio Davies (full time,  http://intranet.cs.man.ac.uk/apt/people/)
    2. 'Cameron Patterson' (full time,  http://intranet.cs.man.ac.uk/apt/people/)

Focus and Goals

This topic concerns Spike-Based Robotics. What exactly do we mean by this? The spike/event- based algorithms produced by the neuromorphic community are getting ever more sophisticated and reliable. Event based algorithms should soon be able to fill the entire pathway from sensory input to motor output in a variety of robotic contexts. The goal of this topic area is to make “soon” happen this coming summer. This is what we intended to convey with the title Spike-Based Robotics.

Event-based sensors, event-based information processing, and event-based control of actuated systems have received much interest in the recent past and have proven to be valuable alternatives to traditional technology. In each of these areas there exist a small number of examples to demonstrate the power of event-based systems (e.g. the silicon retina/cochlea, visual tracking algorithms, some high-speed reactive robots), but the whole field is still in the early stages and we expect significant progress to occur in the upcoming years. In this topic area we propose to investigate event-based systems at multiple levels, ranging from theoretical work (formalizing event-based information processing), to simple processing algorithms, up to closed-loop systems with event-based operated robots interacting with their environment. Participants are encouraged to participate at various levels.

Possible projects

  1. Develop a formalism for event-based processing.
  2. Develop concepts for higher level event-based reasoning, complex decisions, control of multiple DOF systems.
  3. Event-based control of robotic arm: provide robot arm with neuromorphic sensors (such as silicon retina, cochlea) to perform precision grasping (e.g. have a silicon retina mounted in the gripper hand of robot arm).
  4. Control of driving and/or flying robots as event-based systems. Various robotic devices have been developed over the past years, that include omni-directional driving robots, fast driving (“monster truck”), unstable driving
  5. See wiki:2010/rob10/slotcar - Slot car racer - we will watch a slot car track from eye-of-god using a DVS, and control the car's speed to race around the track as fast as possible.

Equipment that will likely be brought to Telluride

Equipment we are likely to bring:

  1. Katana robotic arm, currently in Zurich
  2. Omni-directional driving robots, equipped with DVS, wireless PC communication, currently in Munich
  3. Large toy motor-bike with gravity sensor, DVS retina, possibly silicon cochlea, currently in Zurich
  4. Electric helicopters, currently in Telluride storage
  5. Improved pencil balancer, currently in Munich
  6. Slot car racing set - ordered from towerhobbies.com to be delivered to workshop. See wiki:2010/rob10/slotcar.