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Spring 2024 GRASP SFI: Raphael Zufferey, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, “Flying robots: exploring hybrid locomotion and physical interaction”

January 31 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This was a hybrid event with in-person attendance in Levine 307 and virtual attendance… This week’s speaker was virtual.


Autonomous flying robots have become widespread in recent years, yet their capability to interact with the environment. remains limited. Moving in multiple fluids is one of the great challenges of mobile robotics, and carries great potential for application in biological and environmental studies. In particular, hybrid locomotion provides the means to cross large distances and obstacles or even change from one body of water to another thanks to flight. At the same time, they are capable of operating underwater, collecting samples, video and aquatic metrics. However, the challenges of operating in both air and water are complex. In this talk, we will introduce these challenges and cover several research solutions which aim to adress these in different modalities, depending on locomotion and objectives. Bio-inspiration plays a crucial role in these solutions, and the topic of flapping flight in the context of physical interaction will also be presented.


Raphael Zufferey

Raphael Zufferey

Dr. Raphael Zufferey received his PhD in Aeronautics from Imperial College London, UK in 2020. He is currently a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at EPFL, Switzerland.His main research interests are in novel, integrated robotic systems that aim to address difficult locomotion and interaction tasks, covering questions relating to fluid dynamics, mechanical design, embedded electronics and control. In particular, hybridizing flight in small-scale robots has been one of his core topics of investigation. Raphael was also a researcher at Harvard and University of Seville. He was awarded the best PhD in Robotics UK award for his accomplishments.


January 31
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Levine 307
3330 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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