IROS 2016 – Virtual Neurorobotics in the Human Brain Project


Tutorial for IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, October 9-14, 2016 in Daejeon, Korea.

Neurorobotics is quite a young discipline that applies insights from research in computational neuroscience and medicine to robotics. The benefits from this interdisciplinary approach are two-fold. On the one hand, robotics provides embodiments that can be used to develop principles for and evaluate functional neural circuits or even models of whole brains. On the other hand, robotics research will also greatly benefit from neuroscience with respect to creating adaptive and robust control and perception principles. One of the problems researchers in this field are facing is the limited access to hardware (e.g., robots or novel neuromorphic technologies) which often come at high expenses or limited availability.


To deal with this problem, the Neurorobotics Platform (NRP) in the subproject Neurorobotics of the Human Brain Project has been developed and released to the public earlier this year. It provides access to state-of-the-art tools such as robot and brain simulators, designers for creating experiments, environments, and brain and robot models. Researchers can define and run closed-loop experiments entirely in a web-based application, which runs on many devices, without the need for neither local installations nor administration expertise. Running centralized on high-performance clusters, it also transparently grants its users access to computing resources that are not commonly available. While the NRP mainly targets neurorobotics, is also interesting for roboticists that look for an easy-to-setup virtual experimentation setup.


The objective of this tutorial session is to present this technology, inviting for a constructive discussion about virtual neurorobotics, and also to address further topics with respect to neurorobotics. The tutorial session is divided into invited talks about related topics (virtual neurorobotics, neuromorphic hardware and computational neuroscience and robotics) and a hands-on session in which participants are guided through a tutorial showing the capabilities of the Neurorobotics Platform.