From January 12 to 14, 2016, we organized a winter school on the topic “From bio-inspired to bio-hybrid (robotic) systems”. The school was in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
The goal of the winter school was to present the transition from bio-inspired systems, that are focused on developing technology, to bio-hybrid systems, where technology is in symbiosis with living systems. These bio-hybrid systems can make the best use of the properties of both components: biological and technological. For this, both systems and their interactions need to be modeled, in a more detailed way than for bio-inspired systems. During the school, examples came from hybrid systems involving robots and bees, fish and plants.
The school consisted of four main parts: preparation (article reading), lectures, practicals, and a reporting phase after the winter school for students who would like to submit the result of their practical work for evaluation. A lab visit completed the winter school.
Among the 6 lectures, 5 were given by members of the ASSISIbf project, one was given by members of the Flora Robotica project. Each lecture was mainly associated with a practical, but participants had to follow the same practical during the whole winter school, for a duration of 17 hours. Lectures and practicals were ensured by a total of 13 people.
We had 13 participants registered and attending the winter school, with academic positions spanning from PhD students to professors. The high interest for the topic made the practicals extremely constructive and productive. Among the participants, 4 decided not to write a report on the practical and 9 used this opportunity to get a feedback from the lecturer.
Moreover lectures and practicals were highly appreciated, as illustrated by the evaluation done with the participants:
We look forward to organize another training hoping to get people as interesting and passionate than the ones of this year!