Helping Health


The FEATHER (Facilitating health and wellbeing by developing systems for early recognition of urinary tract infections) project is developing AI and robotics to enable earlier identification of UTI symptoms. Led by The University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics in collaboration with the National Robotarium, researchers are working with social care and residential homes to develop smart sensors and data systems that can alert individuals and carers of potential infection. Earlier diagnosis of UTIs, affecting 150 million people worldwide each year, can reduce requirement for emergency care, ensure the appropriate prescription of antibiotics and improve patient care.



The novel Neurorobotics Model of Parkinson’s Disease project, led by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics in the UK and Digital Metropolis Institute in Brazil, combined the use of humanoid robots with neuroscience to better understand the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease. Using the National Robotarium’s iCub, a 1m tall open-source humanoid crafted to mirror the sensory and physical attributes of a young child, researchers replicated the intricate dynamics of both healthy and Parkinsonian brains, inducing varying degrees of motor disruption during the execution of behavioural tasks. These future models could conceivably pave the way for ground breaking advancements in Parkinson’s disease therapies, offering an even more promising alternative to animal testing. The Neuro4PD project received backing from The Royal Society and the Newton Fund.

Fourier Intelligence

Through an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with international medical technology company Fourier Intelligence, researchers at the National Robotarium are utilising its sophisticated therapeutic equipment to improve understanding of the use of robotics and AI for assisted living, movement and patient rehabilitation. One study is focused on the effectiveness of socially assistive robots to support physical rehabilitation and cognitive exercises, using technology donated in-kind by Fourier.

Helping People


The Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare (SPRING) project is developing Socially Assistive Robots (SARs) that can speak to humans naturally within complex and busy environments. With a focus on the use of SARs for elderly adults in healthcare settings, such as hospital waiting rooms, it is facilitating more natural interactions between humans and robots, enabling trust in robotics as a point of information, and providing social support to people in scenarios that can often be overwhelming.

Amazon Simbot Challenge

A team of students from Heriot-Watt University have developed a sophisticated embodied AI agent that can accurately respond to people’s demands and commands online. Team EMMA created the bot for the 2023 Amazon Alexa Prize SimBot Challenge, a challenge to help advance the next generation of virtual assistants, and successfully made it through to the final five in the global competition, the only non-US team to do so.

Helping Industry


Supported by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), the £1.4m Underwater Intervention for Offshore Renewable Energies (UNITE) project is developing electric remotely operated vehicles (eROVs) to perform maintenance and repair tasks on offshore wind turbines. Delivered with indstury partners Fugro, the world’s leading Geo-data specialists, the eROVs aim to dramatically improve health and safety for workers, reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiency.

Manufacturing Lasers

Scientists in the Precision Laser Applications (PLA) labs are exploring the potential use of robotics to assist in manufacturing lasers. In a three-year project funded by the UKRI EPSRC, the team are working with optical components manufacturer Gooch & Housego, aerospace giants Leonardo and laser makers Luxinar, to test the use of robots to undertake time-consuming and repetitive assembly and alignment steps. If successful, it will allow humans more time to concentrate on the important testing and quality-control steps.

Helping the Environment


Smartrawl is an AI-empowered fishing net designed to prevent marine bycatch by trawlers. The brainchild of Heriot-Watt Professor and marine technology expert Paul Fernandes, the National Robotarium are helping to develop the efficacy of the device’s smart-patented gate system that will ensure that fishers catch only the fish they’re targeting, allowing other animals to be released back into their natural environment quickly and without harm.

Helping Society

AI to tackle Gender-Based Violence online

Researchers at the National Robotarium are developing advanced ‘machine learning’ algorithms that will significantly improve the detection, intervention and prevention of online gender-based abuse.

The project has been awarded £1 million of funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and will create state-of-the-art AI tools that use a broad variety of viewpoints, perspectives and experiences to improve the detection of online abuse. The project has been set up by researchers at the National Robotarium in response to a recent report published by Glitch, the UK’s leading charity against online abuse.

Helping Society

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