Global Research, Global Impact

The National Robotarium is a global leader in advancing research and innovation in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. As a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and The University of Edinburgh, the centre promotes a vibrant ecosystem of research across three distinct themes; Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), Human-Robot Interaction (HRI); and Precision Laser Applications.

Many of our scientific staff are part of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. The Centre is also base to the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CDT-RAS), producing highly-skilled graduates who are trained to conduct responsible research with industry and market awareness.

A full list of research themes across the two institutions can be found at this link.

Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS)

The Robotics and Autonomous Systems lab focuses on the application of robotics and automation for industry. Through the testing and development of a range of mobile robotics, quadrupeds, underwater ROVs (remote operated vehicles), co-bots and autonomous all-terrain vehicles, our team of RAS Engineers and researchers are exploring ways that companies, from SMEs to large international conglomerates, can adopt robotic solutions to improve efficiency, staff safety and reduce costs.

Four men stand in front of a wall and look at a robot dog

SPRING: Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare

Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)

Our Human-Robot Interaction labs are specially-designed reconfigurable experimental spaces for studying how humans interact with and respond to robots. Research in the group ranges from conversational robots with multimodal language learning to the use of sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) to provide assistive living support and monitor wellbeing. The team address scientific and technical challenges that underpin the next generation of user-centred healthy ageing and independent living systems, including how to build human trust in robots to encourage adoption.

Precision Laser Applications (PLA)

The Precision Laser Application (PLA) labs research laser-based applications from a micro to macro scale. Research groups based within the labs are the Applied Optics and Photonics Group (AOP), with a focus on the development of novel processes ranging from fibre-optic sensors, laser surgery and laser-based manufacturing; and the Photonic Instrumentation Group (PHI), who investigate multidisciplinary light applications, including ultrafast laser inscribed waveguides, optical fibre probes, and single photon-sensing techniques. The PLA lab research can be applied to healthcare and astronomy, amongst other sectors.

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