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Cutting-edge autonomous robots to be showcased at ALIFE conference

Published: 4 August 2008

Roke Manor Research Ltd is sponsoring a demonstration of robot technology on Wednesday at the International Conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE XI).

ALIFE XI, hosted by the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science, is being held at the University of Winchester’s West Downs Campus from 5 to 8 August.

The Roke Robot Demonstration will take place on Wednesday 6 August at 5.30pm (with a press preview at 4.30pm). As well as sponsoring the event, Roke Manor Research Ltd, (a Siemens company; will also present some of their own latest technology, including DORA.

Robots at the Roke Robot Demonstration will be:

• Roke’s robot DORA (demonstration of robot autonomy) - explores dull dark and dangerous environments. DORA represents a synthesis of Roke’s expertise in autonomous systems, AI, sensor exploitation, vision systems, tracking and navigation and SLAM (Simultaneous location and mapping). Exploring potentially dangerous indoor environments is one of the most dangerous activities undertaken by military and emergency services personnel and Roke’s research is leading the field. Exploiting Roke's feature-based structure-from-motion techniques, DORA builds up 3D information about objects and obstacles in its way. The current experimental system is entirely based on vision processing.

• A team of the world’s cheapest swarm robots developed and built by a group of undergraduate students at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS). These robots can be produced for as little as £24 each and swarms of up to 500 robots are envisaged, which could have long-term applications in earthquake or disaster scenarios as well as space exploration.

• The 14-inch long Miuro robot from Tokyo-based venture ZMP Inc. twists and rolls to music from an iPod in an intricate dance based on complex mathematics. Developers say this technology will enable robots to move about spontaneously instead of following pre-programmed motions.

• Self-assembling robots controlled by evolved neural networks which dynamically assign their own roles in a team, from the Free University of Brussels (ULB).

• Some of the world’s most advanced humanoid robots developed by Professor Ralf Der at the University of Leipzig.

All science, medical and technology writers are welcome to attend the Press Preview and public demonstration afterwards. This will be a highly visual presentation. If you wish to attend and/or arrange filming, photos, or an interview, please email Hélène Murphy on: or Joyce Lewis on

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