Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Robotics and MultiBody Mechanics Research Group

Our mission

The main research topics of the Robotics & Multibody Mechanics (R&MM) research group can be divided into physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) and cognitive HRI (cHRI). Core technology since 1995 is the design and control of variable impedance actuators for embodied intelligence principles as safety, energy efficiency and adaptability. Most of the prototypes build in the lab are designed and constructed in-house. Two new actuators were developed by the group: the Pleated Pneumatic Artificial Muscle, and the patented Maccepa. The bipedal walking robot Lucy and Veronica were built to investigate the use of compliant actuation for walking robots while. A manipulator-arm "Softarm", actuated with PPAM, is designed to be used in direct contact with a human. Both the actuation principle and control architecture are focused on a safe human-robot interaction. Probo is developed by R&MM as an intelligent huggable robot emotionally interacting with hospitalised children and serve as robotic test platform to study cognitive and physical HRI. Different experiments with Probo and children autism have been performed and showed a more efficient therapy compared to a human. The robot is powered by series elastic actuators to ensure intrinsic safety and the soft and huggable appearance. R&MM is also active in rehabilitation devices (step rehabilitation robot ALTACTO and KNEXO) and prostheses (ankle-feet prosthesis AMPfoot 1 and 2 and trans femoral prosthesis HEKTA). The group is in different EU and national projects.
Enjoy the visit, and feel free to contact us if you need further information.

Contact information

Prof. dr. ir. Dirk Lefeber
Prof. dr. ir. Bram Vanderborght

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Faculty of Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Building Z - Room ZW109
Pleinlaan , 2
B-1050 Brussels

Phone: +32 2 6292864
Fax: +32 2 6292865


Overview video

This video collects an overview of some of our robots:


We won the IROS 2012 Jubilee video award

Dissertation available in STAR book

Bram Vanderborght is author of the book Dynamic Stabilisation of the Biped Lucy Powered by Actuators with Controllable Stiffness in the Springer series "STAR-Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics". More info on the Lucy project can be found on our Lucy site.

More info

ISBN: 978-3-642-13416-6
Price: 119,95
2010. 307 p. 111 illus. in color. (Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics, Vol. 63) Hardcover

Order STAR book

Robotcontest RoboCup Junior Belgium 2010

Robotcontest for children between 8 and 18 years. http://www.robocupjunior.be/

Bram Vanderborght wint Campus Party Science Forum

Onlangs werd Bram Vanderborght tot winnaar uitgeroepen van de Winner Campus Party Science Forum 2010 . Campus Party is een van de grootste events voor technologie, creativiteit en online digitale cultuur ter wereld en werd deze editie mede georganiseerd door Spaans Ministerie voor Wetenschap en Innovatie. Bram presenteerde er het onderwerp The AMPfoot: An Ankle Mimicking Prosthetic Foot met volgende video. Jelle Saldien was finalist met het onderwerp Probo: the Intelligent Huggable Robot met volgende video. Beide projecten werden ontwikkeld door meerdere leden van de Robotica & Multibody Mechanica onderzoeksgroep van de vakgroep Mechanical Engineering.

Robotcontest RoboCup Junior Belgium 2009

Robotcontest for children between 8 and 14 years. http://www.robocupjunior.be/


We are pleased to anounce that the Robotics & Multibody Mechanics Research Group participates in the European 7th framework STREP-project titled Variable Impedance Actuation Systems Embodying Advanced Interaction Behaviours (VIACTORS), in cooperation with DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt), University of Pisa, University of Twente, Imperial College London and the IIT (Italian Institute of Technology).
VIACTORS addresses the development and use of safe, energy-efficient and highly dynamic variable impedance actuation (VIA) systems, which will permit the embodiment of natural characteristics found in biological systems, into the structures of a new generation of mechatronic systems.

Best Paper Award

The paper titled "Modeling Hysteresis in Pleated Pneumatic Artificial Muscles" by Michael Van Damme, Pieter Beyl, Bram Vanderborght, Ronald Van Ham, Innes Vanderniepen, Rino Versluys, Frank Daerden and Dirk Lefeber has received the Best Paper Award at the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics, Automation & Mechatronics (RAM 2008).

Best Paper Award

The paper titled "Energy-efficient humanoid walking with ankle actuation: Learning from biomechanics" by Rino Versluys, Bram Vanderborght, Ronald Van Ham, Pieter Beyl, Pierre Cherelle and Dirk Lefeber has received the Best Paper Award in the category of "Walking Robots" at the 11th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and the Support Technologies for Mobile Machines (CLAWAR 2008).  

Robotboek "Robots Binnenstebuiten"

Bram Vanderborght is author of the science popularizing book "Robots Binnenstebuiten" for children from 10 years. The book is written in Dutch and will launched in September 2008. More info

ISBN: 9789059320000
Price: 15.95

Order robotbook "Robots Binnenstebuiten"

Cover robotbook "Robots Binnenstebuiten" (pdf)

Workshop VIA actuation @ RSS 2008 Zurich (28.6.2008)

Design and Control of Variable Impedance Actuators for Physical Interaction of Robots with Humans and their Environment

This workshop is co-organised by Bram Vanderborght .


Dynamic Walking Conference 2008 @Delft (26-29.5.2008)

Dynamic Walking Conference 2008 is a conference that aims to help advance the understanding of two-legged dynamic walking.

This conference is co-organised by Bram Vanderborght .


CLAWAR 2006, 12 - 14 September 2006, Brussels

CLAWAR 2006 -- 9th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and the Support Technologies for Mobile Machines, 1214 September 2006 Brussels, Belgium.

CLAWAR 2006 was co-organised by Prof. Dirk Lefeber, head of the Robotics and MultiBody Mechanics Research Group.


Visit of His Majesty King Albert II

On March 7th 2006, His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium visited the Robotics and Multibody Mechanics lab.

Pictures of the visit can be seen here.


Altran Foundation for Innovation Award 2005

The jury has short-listed our project "ALTACRO" amongst the 6 finalists from the 110 projects submitted. more info
Altacro Step Rehabilitation Robot

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