Research beacons MPI-IS and ETH Zurich strengthen cooperation

  • 27 May 2020

Both world class research institutions in the field of intelligent systems have agreed to continue their research partnership, the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems, for a further five years. Meanwhile, senior scientists from the MPI-IS have been appointed as Affiliated Professors at ETH, intensifying the academic exchange.

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2019 RAS Award Recipients Announced!

  • 29 March 2019

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society recognizes and congratulates the following individuals for their outstanding accomplishments and service to RAS and the robotics and automation community. They will be honored during an award luncheon to be held during the IEEE International Conference on Robotics & Automation (ICRA 2019) on 22 May 2019 at the Montreal Convention Centre, Montreal, Canada. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding recipients!

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Student Representatives

  • 17 October 2018

The CLS community has elected our new student representatives for the period October 17th - January 17th, 2019. Our student representatives are the point of contact for the collection of matters that are of daily concern to the PhD students. All student representatives meet each other and the coordinator regularly.

Symposium Artificial Intelligence and Society

  • 14 September 2018

In honour of the 70th anniversary of the Max Planck Society, the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize award to Max Planck and Max Planck’s 160th birthday, the Max Planck Society will hold a Germany-wide Max Planck Day on September 14, 2018.

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Andreas Geiger receives the Young Researcher Award of the IEEE Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) Technical Committee

  • 20 June 2018

For the first time, the prestigious IEEE PAMI Young Researcher Award was given to a German researcher.

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Research Headlines: Alexis Block is teaching robots to give good hugs

  • 01 June 2018

Scientist working in the Haptic Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems receives great media feedback on her research

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John Lygeros receives European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant

  • 10 April 2018

Professor John Lygeros within the Center for Learning Systems has been awarded the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant to fund his research on computation and control.

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Peter Bühlmann receives European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant

  • 10 April 2018

Professor Peter Bühlmann within the Center for Learning Systems has been awarded the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant to fund his research on statistics, machine learning and bioinformatics.

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Peer Fischer receives European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant

  • 10 April 2018

Professor Peer Fischer, the head of the Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems was awarded 2.5 Mio Euro from the ERC.

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Nature-inspired soft millirobot makes its way through enclosed spaces

  • 24 January 2018

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems invented a magnetically controlled soft robot only four millimeters in size, that can walk, crawl or roll through uneven terrain, carry cargo, climb onto the water surface, and even swim in it. The inspiration comes from soft-bodied beetle larvae and caterpillars, and even jellyfishes posed as biological models. One day, this small-scale robot may enable targeted drug delivery or minimally invasive surgery, the researchers hope. Its multiple locomotion capability in complex environments is so unique that science journal Nature will publish the researchers´ findings in its February edition.

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Margarita Chli received the Prix Zonta

  • 14 December 2017

Margarita Chli, one of the world's most powerful women in robotics research, was awarded the Prix Zonta.

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Bernhard Schölkopf receives Leibniz Prize 2018

  • 14 December 2017

Germany's most prestigious research funding prize - €2.5 million each for outstanding research work

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Die Zahlenkünstlerin

  • 04 November 2017

Informatikerin Olga Sorkine-Hornung wurde mit 30 Professorin an der ETH Zürich. Ihre Algorithmen in 3-D-Modellierung gelten als die besten.

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«Oft entscheiden Menschen sehr schlecht»

  • 01 November 2017

Für Thomas Hofmann hat die künstliche Intelligenz ein gewaltiges Potenzial. Der ETH-Professor und Ex-Google-Manager erläutert im Interview, wie die neuen Technologien eingesetzt werden können und was dabei die Gefahren sind.

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Interdisciplinary insights and a marvellous mountain view

  • 23 October 2017

High above Lake Lucerne, the three-day CLS retreat took place at Stoos, a magnificent place in the heart of Central Switzerland.

Impressions from the CLS Retreat in Stoos

  • 21 October 2017

Have a look at the photo gallery of the CLS Retreat in Stoos!

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Der Schatzsucher

  • 21 October 2017

Die personalisierte Medizin ist ein boomendes Forschungsfeld. Einer, der ganz vorne mitmischt, ist der junge Informatikprofessor Karsten Borgwardt.

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“Our Master’s programme is in great demand”

  • 17 October 2017

Mathematics is the basis for all the new opportunities opened up by digitalisation. Statistics professor Nicolai Meinshausen discusses the increasing importance of his field and the challenges it faces.

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Data – the key to success

  • 16 October 2017

Data permeates every aspect of our lives and forms an integral part of any research work. Data scientists collect, analyse and process enormous volumes of data. ETH Zurich is focusing on three areas. One is learning systems. (see page 10)

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«Das Gefühl, mir schmelze das Hirn weg»

  • 15 October 2017

Die 36-jährige Olga Sorkine-Hornung über ihren Weg zur ETH-Professorin, zu wenig Frauen in der IT und den Wodka aus eigener Küche.

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Jeannette Bogh is one of 25 women in robotics you need to know about – 2017

  • 10 October 2017

On the occasion of Ada Lovelace Day on 10 October 2017, robohub presented their annual list of “25 women in robotics you need to know about”. Jeannette Bohg, alumni fellow of the CLS, is one of them. Congratulations!

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«In der Schweiz kommt es auf Sekunden an»

  • 27 September 2017

Sein Kosmos ist die ETH. Seine Heimat ist München. Dennoch schätzt Roboterforscher Robert Riener typische Schweizer Eigenschaften: Pünktlichkeit, Ordnung und nicht zuletzt die Schweizer Apéro-Kultur.

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Maschinen mit Gewissen

  • 16 September 2017

Viel wird erfunden, aber sollte alles davon erlaubt sein? Vor allem geht es um die Frage: Können und dürfen Roboter Entscheidungen fällen?

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«Die Medizin wird modellgetrieben»

  • 28 August 2017

ETH-Professor Joachim Buhmann beschäftigt sich als Informatiker intensiv mit Fragen des Gesundheitswesens. Im Gespräch mit ETH-News erklärt er, wie Computermodelle Einzug halten werden in die Medizin. Dabei spricht er von Modellen, die so kompliziert sind, dass wir Menschen sie uns nicht mehr selbst überlegen können.

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4D Movies Capture People in Clothing, Creating Realistic Virtual Try-on

  • 01 August 2017

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) have developed technology to digitally capture clothing on moving people, turn it into a 3D digital form, and dress virtual avatars with it. This new technology makes virtual clothing try-on practical.

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Can you feel me now? The Science of Digitizing Touch

  • 28 July 2017

Scientists are developing tools that allow you to digitally feel textures like wood and cotton. Listen to this twelve-minute radio show to learn about Katherine J. Kuchenbecker's research - incorporating the sense of touch into robotic and computer systems.

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Mobile Microrobotics

  • 11 July 2017

Progress in micro- and nano-scale science and technology has created a demand for new microsystems for high-impact applications in healthcare, biotechnology, manufacturing, and mobile sensor networks. The new robotics field of microrobotics has emerged to extend our interactions and explorations to sub-millimeter scales. Metin Sitti wrote the first textbook on micron-scale mobile robotics, introducing the fundamentals of design, analysis, fabrication, and control, and drawing on case studies of existing approaches.

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Vision algorithms teaching drones to 'see'

  • 10 July 2017

Prof. Margarita Chli and her team are developing computer vision algorithms to help drones 'see' and understand their environment.

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Olga Sorkine-Hornung wins Rössler Prize

  • 22 June 2017

Computer scientist Olga Sorkine has won this year’s Rössler Prize for her work in the field of computer graphics. The prize comes with a research award of CHF 200,000.

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The eyes have it

  • 21 June 2017

Patients with age-related retinal disease need regular injections in the eye. At the moment, these must be given by specially trained medical doctors, but a robot may well handle this task in the near future.

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Medicine is awash in data

  • 15 June 2017

Genomics, digital patient files and real-time health surveillance – never before have we had access to so much health data. Three ETH researchers explain how they extract relevant information from this sea of data and the potential benefits for personalised medicine.

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ETH medals for two excellent ETH-MPI Master theses

  • 13 June 2017

Cédric de Crousaz and Julian Viereck have recently received ETH medals for their excellent Master theses. Their theses are a result of very successful collaborations between the Autonomous Motion Department at MPI-IS and the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich, respectively.

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ICRA 2017 Awards

  • 02 June 2017

Several CLS fellows and members received awards at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)

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Programmable self-assembly

  • 01 June 2017

Scientists under the lead of Metin Sitti at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have recently constructed a material system that provides dynamic self-assembly.

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City model created from images alone

  • 17 May 2017

ETH scientists have combined millions of images and videos into a three-dimensional, living model of the city of Zurich. The new technology has many possible applications – for example, it can analyse where and when pedestrians are on the move and parking spaces become free.

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«Autonome Maschinen sind dem Menschen überlegen»

  • 02 May 2017

Der ETH-Forscher Roland Siegwart ­entwickelt intelligente Drohnen und autonome Roboter. Wie weit ihre Macht gehen darf, muss die Gesellschaft ausdiskutieren.

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Student projects on the website via SiROP

  • 08 March 2017

The Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems offers its members and associated members to use the database SiROP to publish their student projects directly to the center’s website. Read this quick guide:

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New drive for tiny vessels

  • 14 February 2017

Nanorobots and other mini-vehicles might be able to perform important services in medicine one day – for example, by conducting remotely-controlled operations or transporting pharmaceutical agents to a desired location in the body. However, to date it has been hard to steer such micro- and nanoswimmers accurately through biological fluids such as blood, synovial fluid or the inside of the eyeball. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are now presenting two new approaches for constructing propulsion systems for tiny floating bodies.

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„Ich fühle mich von Künstlicher Intelligenz überhaupt nicht bedroht“

  • 09 February 2017

Joachim Buhmann ist Leiter des Instituts für Maschinelles Lernen an der ETH Zürich. Im Gespräch erklärt er uns, warum ihn die Angstvorstellungen von Stephen Hawking kaltlassen, was der „Heilige Gral“ des maschinellen Lernens ist und warum Depressionen unausweichlich sind, wenn der Mensch lediglich als Denkmaschine gesehen wird.

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How Can We Use Machine Learning in the Search for Exoplanets?

  • 01 February 2017

Exoplanets are planets beyond our own solar system. Since they do not emit much light and moreover are very close to their parent stars they are difficult to detect directly. Using machine learning, observations of the brightness of the parent star can be used to train a system to predict the errors and correct the light curves.

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Peer Fischer wins World Technology Award 2016

  • 20 December 2016

Peer Fischer, head of the Micro- Nano- and Molecular Systems Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, has received the World Technology Award 2016. Together with his group, he has developed new 3D nanofabrication methods and nanorobots, made the first reciprocal microswimmer, and realized the first swimming soft microrobot that moves using only body shape changes.

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The Rise of Machine Learning (ft. Martin Jaggi)

  • 15 December 2016

This video presents the rise of machine learning as the leading approach to artificial intelligence. It features Martin Jaggi, assistant professor of the IC School at EPFL and alumnus of the CLS.

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Vom Geheimnis guter Lehre

  • 13 December 2016

Der ETH-Professor John Lygeros hat den CS Award for Best Teaching erhalten. Der Preisträger arbeitet stetig an innovativen Formen der Lehre. Das gefällt den Studierenden.

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Prof. Rätsch, welcome to ETH

  • 13 December 2016

Gunnar Rätsch develops machine learning algorithms for the analysis of biological and medical data. His research will be central in ETH’s initiative for personalized medicine.

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«Neue Technologien sollen helfen, unser Leben einfacher zu gestalten»

  • 05 December 2016

Prof. Dr. Margarita Chli, 33, forscht als Assistenzprofessorin auf dem Gebiet «Computervision für Robotik» an der ETH Zürich. Was sie an ihrem Beruf so fasziniert und wie sie die technologische Zukunft sieht, verrät sie im Interview.

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Der Crack

  • 04 December 2016

Bradley Nelsons Roboter sind so winzig, dass sie uns einmal in den Körper injiziert werden können. Dort sollen sie Krankheitserreger an Ort und Stelle bekämpfen.

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Raffaello D'Andrea: Der König der Drohnen

  • 02 December 2016

Der Kanadier ist Professor für dynamische Systeme und Regelungstechnik an der ETH – und verkörpert in vielerlei Hinsicht, wofür der Forschungsplatz Schweiz steht.

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Mini-Roboter heilen von innen

  • 21 October 2016

Sie transportieren im Inneren des Körpers Medikamente oder nehmen kleine Operationen vor: Mikro-Roboter könnten bald die Medizin revolutionieren.

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Shape-programmable miniscule robots

  • 26 September 2016

One day, microrobots may be able to swim through the human body like sperm or paramecia to carry out medical functions in specific locations. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have developed functional elastomers, which can be activated by magnetic fields to imitate the swimming gaits of natural flagella, cilia and jellyfish.

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ERC Starting Grant for Otmar Hilliges

  • 23 September 2016

The main objective of his ERC funded project is to develop computational tools to allow non-experts to create complex interactive technologies such as wearables, augmented and virtual reality, and personalised assistive technologies.

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CYBATHLON: Wettkampf für Athleten mit Behinderungen

  • 01 September 2016

Menschen mit körperlichen Behinderungen messen sich dank neuester technischer Assistenzsysteme in sechs anspruchsvollen Disziplinen.

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Die ETH forscht an einem Roboter für die Drecksarbeit

  • 11 August 2016

Der neue Roboter der ETH Zürich kann klettern und springen wie ein Tier und soll künftig in unwegsamem Gelände eingesetzt werden. Er könnte zum Beispiel nach einem Erdbeben helfen, verschüttete Menschen zu finden.

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"Skypen" wie bei Star Wars

  • 29 June 2016

In manchen Science-Fiction-Filmen "telefoniert" man schon lange per Hologramm. Forschende der ETH Zürich haben einen Prototyp gebaut, der Videochats dieser Vision ein Stück weit näher bringt.

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ETH bringt Computern das Sehen bei

  • 19 June 2016

Smartphones lernen, die Welt zu erkennen und dreidimensional zu vermessen. Google will damit die nächste digitale Revolution auslösen. Schweizer Hochschulen und Startups sind ganz vorne mit dabei.

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Jonas Peters new member of the German "Young Academy"

  • 13 June 2016

Young, excellent and motivated - Jonas Peters has been elected as one of new members in natural sciene / mathematics to the "Junge Akademie" and will contribute to the interdisciplinary work of this organization.

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When machines learn

  • 11 June 2016

Big data, artificial intelligence, industry 4.0- the new opportunities information technologies offer will change the world. Take a glimpse inside the world of researchers who teach machines how to think.

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«Bildung ist Arbeit an mir selber»

  • 10 June 2016

Thomas Hoffmann wollte schon als Kind Professor werden. Heute arbeitet er am Institut für Maschinelles Lernen der ETH Zürich. Der 25-jährige Patrick Frei studiert Informatik im vierten Studienjahr. Hier sprechen sie über ihre beruflichen Träume – und über die Realität.

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Call for applications: CLS Exchange Fellowships

  • 23 May 2016

The Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems (CLS) invites all associated PhD fellows of the center to apply for the new CLS Exchange Fellowships. This program will allow highly motivated PhD students with excellent track records to spend 3-12 months at the other institution, ETH Zurich and MPI Tübingen/Stuttgart, respectively. The aim is to foster cross-institutional collaborations within the center and to create an added value for the PhD students.

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Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Prize and RAS Early Career Award (Academic) for Ludovic Righetti

  • 19 May 2016

Medal-Marathon for Robotics Researcher: Tübingen – Stockholm – Berlin – Stockholm – Tübingen. Ludovic Righetti receives within 24 hours two renowned prizes for young researchers for his outstanding science on movements of robots.

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Switch and stick

  • 18 May 2016

Some adhesives may soon have a metallic sheen and be particularly easy to unstick. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are suggesting gallium as just such a reversible adhesive.

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The man who builds robotic animals

  • 12 May 2016

He develops walking robots that move like living creatures: Marco Hutter is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems and a fellow of the Society in Science. One day his machines might be able to carry out the menial and dangerous work human beings would rather avoid.

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Michael J. Black inducted as foreign member of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

  • 12 May 2016

Body Labs (, the provider of the world's most advanced technology for analyzing the human body's shape, pose and motion, announced that Michael J. Black, Body Labs co-founder and founding director leading the Perceiving Systems Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, will be inducted as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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Bernhard Schölkopf has been elected member of the "Leopoldina"

  • 30 April 2016

Founded in 1652, the Leopoldina is one of the oldest academies of science in the world. It is dedicated to the advancement of science for the benefit of humankind and to the goal of shaping a better future. With some 1,500 members, the Leopoldina brings together outstanding scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many other countries.

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Sanfte Kraft für Roboter

  • 26 April 2016

Ein weicher Aktuator aus elektrisch steuerbaren Membranen könnte Menschen die gefahrlose Interaktion mit Maschinen ermöglichen. Forscher des Max-Planck-Instituts für Intelligente Systeme in Stuttgart stellen nun ein Bewegungssystem vor, das für Menschen ungefährlich ist und sich platzsparend in Roboter integrieren lässt.

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Two Master’s students won the prestigious SemEval-2016 competition

  • 19 April 2016

Huge amounts of posts in social media are generated every day. People share their opinions and sentiments about what is going on in the world. To evaluate these opinions automatically computers can interpret and “understand” the content and also in particular the attitude of a writer. At one of the most important international competitions in text sentiment analysis two ETH Master’s students designed the most accurate algorithm worldwide. Jan Deriu and Maurice Gonzenbach won the 2016 SemEval text sentiment classification competition, placing first out of 34 teams from all over the world.

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Ludovic Righetti receives the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2016

  • 31 March 2016

The most important German prize for junior scientists is awarded annually by the German Research Foundation (DFG). One of the awardees is Ludovic Righetti from Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems. He is investigating how robots can be taught to walk. He models his ideas on movement patterns from nature such as the climbing skills of animals.

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Microrobots learn from ciliates

  • 25 February 2016

Ciliates can do amazing things: Being so tiny, the water in which they live is like thick honey to these microorganisms. In spite of this, however, they are able to self-propel through water by the synchronized movement of thousands of extremely thin filaments on their outer skin, called cilia. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are now moving robots that are barely perceptible to the human eye in a similar manner through liquids.

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Robots go to school

  • 07 January 2016

As domestic help, healthcare assistants or emergency response units: robots are suitable for these jobs only if they are capable of learning and acting independently, at least to a certain extent. Stefan Schaal and the members of his Autonomous Motion Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen are teaching machines to become flexible and autonomous.

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Diagnostics with a stomach pill

  • 07 January 2016

Gastroscopy usually requires patients to swallow an endoscope tube. Although camera-carrying capsules are also suitable for the task, it is still not possible to control them. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart plan to change all that. And their tiny capsule-shaped robots can do a lot more than merely take snapshots of the stomach’s interior.

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Cars open their eyes

  • 07 January 2016

A time may yet come when everyone has their own chauffeur-driven car – if robots take the wheel, that is. In order for autonomous vehicles to become a reality without huge technical outlay, however, computers will have to be able to assess complex traffic situations at least as well as drivers do. Andreas Geiger and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen are working to develop the necessary software.

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Teaching machines how to learn

  • 30 November 2015

Machines will become not just more intelligent in the future, but also more capable of learning. To promote research in this field, ETH Zurich and the Max Planck Society officially open the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems today. The scientists want to understand the theoretical principles of learning and how these can be applied to real machines.

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Machines learn how to learn

  • 30 November 2015

For humans, and for animals in general, it is normal; but machines have first to learn it: how to learn. To assist them in this process, the Max Planck Society and the ETH Zurich have set up the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems. The researchers at the Center want to understand what the principles of learning are - in theory as well as in real machines.

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