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The University of Southampton

ELEC6212 Biologically Inspired Robotics

Module Overview

This module lies at the intersection of robotics and biology. Through the abstraction of design principles from biological systems, it is possible to develop a range of core competences, including mechatronic systems, sensor and actuator technologies. By taking this module students will get an understanding of adaptivity and autonomy of animals through robotics, and have the opportunity to design, build and test novel robotic applications which are more adaptive, maneuverable, resilient, and energy efficient than current designs. Previous robots developed have included the Formica swarm robot, mobile platforms, swiming and flying robots, robotic heads and a range of advanced sensors.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide an overview of biological inspired robotics

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work effectively as a group in a professional manner
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Complete a self-directed design and build project relating to biologically inspired robotics.
  • Develop skills related to the design, construction and testing of advanced robotic systems
Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Have a deep understanding of bilogically inspired robotics and its current impact on robotic research.


A number of introductory lectures will cover the following, prior to students developing their own designs. - What is a biologically Inspired Robotic System, and its advantages and disadvantages - Mobility systems (legs, swimming and flying system) - Sensors (tactile, vision, electronic nose, etc.) - Swarm robotics - Control architectures - Emerging fields of study. The purpose of the 3-4 introductory lectures is to give the students an appreciation of the scope of the subject and provide the knowledge and understanding to allow the groups to undertake research to allow the definition of the individual projects.

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice48
Preparation for scheduled sessions4
Follow-up work4
Completion of assessment task86
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Students will, on the completion of risk assessment forms, have laboratory access and the use of specialist ECS fcailities including 3D printers and laser cutter.. 

Other library support required. All students will be expected to undertake a literature review related to Bilogically Inspired Robotics, including directed reading


Assessment Strategy

There is no referral opportunity for this syllabus in same academic year


MethodPercentage contribution
Contribution 20%
Documentation 30%
Individual reflection 5%
Quality of the Initial Plan 5%
Technical Execution 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: ELEC3201 OR ELEC3205 OR ELEC3206 OR COMP6238

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