EU project Robocoenosis

An early Robocoenosis prototype observing a living mussel in its opening/closing behavior

The mussel after deployment to the habitat

The mussel after some time, becoming slowly a part of the biocoenosis around it at the deployment location

Creating Robots from Merging Mechatronic Technology with an Artificially Composed Biocoenosis

The aim of the EU FET project Robocoenosis is to create a novel agent for long-term environmental monitoring. This agent replaces some of its actuators and some of its sensors by living organisms that are naturally present in this environment and which provide sensor data to the robotic core system. These indications might come from these organisms growth (or lack thereof) or by specific behaviors that are exhibited in response to environmental stimuli or cues. The more robotic subsystems can be replaced the more bio-hybrid and the more organic the agent becomes. The project Robocoenosis is the first step towards a sustainable, bio-degradable, and living robot. The robot follows a specific life-cycle that consists of six phases, as they are depicted here:

1.) Deploy the agent to the habitat of interest.
2.) Adapt to the conditions of the mission habitat.
3.) Explore adaptively the environment to find a good observation spot.
4.) Monitor the environment by taking frequent measures of the living components of the biohybrid system.
5.) Return all mechatronic components to the human operators.
6.) Degrade all organic materials in their natural way.

The six phases in the life cycle of a Robocoenosis agent
(Artwork by Anouk Lewkowizc)

My research in the EU-FET project Robocoenosis is in cooperation with the following international and interdisciplinary partners: Dr. Ronald Thenius (University of Graz, Austria, coordinator), Prof. Farshad Arvin (University of Manchester, UK), Prof. Jean-Louis Deneubourg (Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium) and Prof. Cesare Stefanini (Scuola Superiore Di Studi Universitari E Di Perfezionamento Santa Anna, Pontedera, Italy). In my lab, Dr. Ronald Thenius, Dr. Joshua Varughese and Mag. Wiktoria Rajewicz do significant work in this project.