Switzerland, often referred to as the “Silicon Valley of Robotics,” has become an international leader in robotics since 2010, with regards to its ability to recruit talent, innovative force, and competitiveness.
Switzerland has a long tradition of precision engineering in machine construction, microtechnology, optics, and watchmaking. Perhaps, that’s the reason why robotics is deeply rooted in the Greater Zurich Area.
Zurich economic region is home to some of the top robotics startups and companies, such as ANYbotics, FemtoTools, Ophthorobotics, Magnetbotix, Fotokite, Distran, Aerotain, Wingtra Verity Studios, Reha-Stim Medtec, QualySense, Nomoko, and embotech. In Zurich, Google has its largest campus outside California, employing nearly 2,500 engineers, including more than 250 artificial intelligence specialists, with the capacity to grow the total workforce to 5,000.
Our previous post presented some of the top robotics research institutions and labs in Slovenia. Today, we present the top robotics research institutions and labs in Switzerland.
The Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) of IRIS at ETH Zurich
The Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL), founded in 1996 at EPFL Lausanne, has been an integral division of IRIS (Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems) at ETH Zurich, since 2006. The lab is dedicated to create robots and intelligent systems capable of autonomously operating and adapting in complex and uncertain environments.
The lab conducts experiments with novel robot concepts suitable for acting on the ground, in the air, and in the water. The researchers are also keen on innovative methods and tools for perception, abstraction, mapping, and path planning, to give robots the intelligence to autonomously navigate in challenging environments.
Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich
Institute of Technology in Architecture, a pioneer in architecture and digital fabrication, is the world’s first architectural robotic research facility at ETH Zurich. Through its integrated research, the institute investigates the radical possibilities of architecture, creating a design process called ‘digital materiality,’ whereby architecture is precisely informed through to the level of material, thus enabling a higher and more sophisticated expression of sensuality.
The research also focuses on additive digital fabrication techniques used to build nonstandard architectural components on a full scale. The aim is to develop criteria for different constructive material aggregations that can be applied to architecture and are intrinsic to digital fabrication, ranging from 1:1 installations to the design of robotically fabricated high-rises.
NCCR Robotics is a national center by the Swiss National Science Foundation. It has internationally renowned experts from 26 research groups in Switzerland. They focus their research on wearable robotics for assistance and rehabilitation, development of the next generation of exoskeletons, mobile robots, and robotic furniture capable of supporting a variety of user’s needs and rescue robotics for monitoring and catastrophe mitigation. NCCR Robotics aims to develop an ecosystem of heterogeneous robots with extreme agility on the ground and in the air and capable of interacting with human users.