Speakers

Dario Floreano

Dario Floreano is director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Since 2010, he is the founding director of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Robotics, a research program that brings together more than 20 labs across Switzerland.

Prof. Floreano holds an M.A. in Vision, an M.S. in Neural Computation, and a PhD in Robotics. He has held research positions at Sony Computer Science Laboratory, at Caltech/JPL, and at Harvard University. His main research interests are Robotics and A.I. at the convergence of biology and engineering. Prof. Floreano made pioneering contributions to the fields of evolutionary robotics, aerial robotics, and soft robotics. He served in numerous advisory boards and committees, including the Future and Emerging Technologies division of the European Commission, the World Economic Forum Agenda Council, the International Society of Artificial Life, the International Neural Network Society, and in the editorial committee of several scientific journals. In addition, he helped spinning off two drone companies (senseFly.com and Flyability.com) and a non-for-profit portal on robotics and A.I. (RoboHub.org).

Gery Colombo

Gery Colombo graduated in electrical engineering and obtained a PhD in the field of biomedical engineering, both at the ETH of Zurich.

He worked as the head of the research lab in the spinal cord injury center of the university hospital Balgrist in Zurich from 1993 to 2002. During this time he invented the Lokomat, the first robot for gait rehabilitation.

In 2000 Gery Colombo co-founded the spin-off company Hocoma AG which he managed as the CEO from 2002 to 2020. Hocoma was a pioneer in rehabilitation robotics and became the global leader in the field of rehabilitation technology.

IISART, the International Industry Society in Advanced Rehabilitation Technology was also initiated by Gery Colombo and he was the president for the first 8 years.

Today he is assisting F&P Robotics in building up their sales and marketing team and is also active in boards of directors and advisory boards of different companies and societies in the field of technology and healthcare. He received several awards for his innovations and for management.

Georg Rauter

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Georg Rauter is Assistant Professor for Medical Robotics and Mechatronics at the Bio-Inspired Robots for MEDicine-Lab (BIROMED-Lab) at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the University of Basel. As head of the BIROMED-Lab, he leads one of the four research groups of the Department’s flagship project on Minimally Invasive Robot-Assisted Computer-guided LaserosteotomE (MIRACLE Project).

Georg Rauter received his Ph.D at the ETH Zurich in the field of robot-assisted multimodal human motor learning and has a background in Mechatronics in Mechanical Engineering (Dipl.-Ing.at TU Graz) and Mathematical and Mechanical Modeling (Ing. Dipl. at the Université Bordeaux).

Herbert Shea

Herbert Shea is a professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where he leads the Soft Transducers Lab (EPFL-LMTS).

His research is centered on elastomer-based actuators for wearables haptics and soft robotics. He is the president of the EuroEAP Society.

Herb holds a PhD in physics from Harvard University, and worked for 7 years at IBM Research and Bell Labs prior to joining EPFL in 2004.

Joël Mesot

In 2007 Joël Mesot received the titel of ETH-​Zurich Professor. In 2008 he was named full Professor for Physics at ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne, and became Director of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Villigen. Since January 1, 2019 he is the President of ETH Zurich.

Joël Mesot studied physics at ETH Zurich. After receiving his diploma, he performed his PhD on high-​temperature superconductors. During his thesis work he spent 2 years at the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL/France). Between 1992 and 1997 he conceived and co-​realized the time-​of-flight spectrometer FOCUS at the neutron spallation source SINQ of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). He then spent two years at the Argonne National Laboratory (USA) to perform angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) experiments, before taking over the neutron spectroscopy group at PSI. Since 2004 he was heading the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering of ETH Zurich and PSI.

His main research interests are in the field of strongly correlated materials exhibiting close bonds between electrons, spins and lattices, such as superconductors, metal oxides and quantum magnets. By means of neutron scattering and ARPES experiments realized at the large-​scale facilities SINQ (neutrons) and SLS (light) of PSI, the elementary excitations in relevant compounds can be measured and compared to existing theoretical models. The measurements take place at the PSI’s large-​scale research facilities, at the SINQ Spallation Neutron Source and at the SLS Synchrotron Light Source Switzerland.

For his research work he was awarded the 1995-​IBM prize of the Swiss Physical Society and the 2002-​Latsis prize of ETH Zurich. From 2003 to 2006 he was chairman of the subcommittee “structural and magnetic excitations” of ILL and since 2003 he is the main Editor of “Neutron News”. In 2007 he became chair of the PSI research commission.

Liliana Paredes

Liliana Paredes is the Head of Robotics and Sports in the Rehaklinik Zihlschlacht AG.

Liliana holds a PhD in Human Science in Medicine from the Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany and did her Master studies in Biomedical Engineering at the Technische Universität Wien in Austria.

Liliana has more than 5 years of experience in neurorehabilitation and is passionate about working with rehabilitation robotics in clinics.

Originally from Colombia, she loves coffee, mountains, jogging and pilates.

Marco Hutter

Marco Hutter is an associate professor for robotic systems at ETH Zurich and co-founder of two NCCR Robotics spinoffs: ANYbotics AG and Bota Systems AG.

He studied mechanical engineering and completed his doctoral degree in robotics at ETH.

Marco’s research interests are in the development of novel machines and actuation concepts together with the underlying control, planning, and learning algorithms for locomotion and manipulation.

Marco is part of NCCR Robotics since its start and worked on advancing the technology of quadrupedal robots.

His work in this field has been recognized with a number of awards and prestigious grants such as the Branco Weiss Fellowship, ETH medal, IEEE/RAS Early Career Award or ERC Starting Grant.

Marina Bill

Marina Bill is the Global Head of Marketing and Sales for ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business. She has held this role since 2019.

Since joining ABB in 1997, she has held various positions of in-creasing responsibility including Global Head of Marketing and Sales for ABB’s Robotics and Motion Division, Product Group Manager for ABB’s Power Generation Automation Products business line, Global Marketing and Sales Manager ABB Auto-mation business line, Global Project Excellence Manager of ABB Power Systems division, Marketing Manager and Regional Sales Manager, ABB Network Management.

As of 2020, Marina is a member of the IFR (International Feder-ation of Robotics) Executive Board, currently serving as Chair of the IFR Robotic Suppliers Committee. She is also a board mem-ber of PIAB AB, a Swedish automation company specialized on gripping, lifting and moving solutions.

Marina has lived and worked in Sweden, the UK, Germany and the Philippines. She is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Marina holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management, specializing in thermodynamics from the Royal institute of Technology in Stockholm. She is a graduate of the In-ternational Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) Sen-ior Leadership Development Program in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Robert Riener

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Robert Riener is Full Professor for Sensory-Motor Systems at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich. He has been Assistant Professor for Rehabilitation Engineering at ETH Zurich since May 2003. In June 2006 he was promoted to the rank of an Associate Professor and in June 2010 to the rank of a Full Professor. As he holds a Double-Professorship with the University of Zurich, he is also active in the Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Balgrist University Hospital (Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich).

Robert Riener studied mechanical engineering at TU München and University of Maryland, USA, from 1988 till 1993. He received the Dipl.-Ing. degree and the Dr. degree from the TU München in 1993 and 1997, respectively. In 1993 he joined the Institute of Automatic Control Engineering, where he has pursued research into neuroprosthetics. After postdoctoral work at the Centro di Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano from 1998 to 1999, he returned to the TU München, where he finished his Habilitation in the field of Biomechatronics about multi-modal VR applied to medicine in January 2003. Since his activity in Zurich Riener develops robots and interaction methods for motor learning in rehabilitation and sports.

His current research interests involve human motion synthesis, biomechanics, virtual reality, man-machine interaction, and rehabilitation robotics. He authored and co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles and 24 patents. He is a member of several scientific societies (e.g., IEEE/EMBS, DGBMT/VDE, IFESS) and an associate editor of several scientific journals. For his development of the arm therapy robot ARMin, he was awarded with several prizes including the humanTech Innovation Prize and the Swiss Technology Award. He was awarded also with the IEEE TNSRE Best Paper Award 2010 and the euRobotics Technology Transfer Awards 2011 and 2012. Riener is initiator and organisator of the CYBATHLON, which was honored by the European Excellence Award and the Yahoo Sports Technology Award. In 2018 Robert Riener received an honorary doctoral degree from the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel.

 Serena Maggioni

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Serena Maggioni graduated in Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano and moved then to Zurich to carry out an industrial PhD between Hocoma AG (Volketswil, Switzerland), ETH Zurich (Sensory-Motor Systems Lab) and the Spinal Cord Injury Center of University Clinic Balgrist. She graduated in 2019 with a thesis on the development and testing of an assessment of walking function using a robotic gait trainer, the Lokomat, and on assist-as-needed control of rehabilitation robotic devices.

Since 2017, Serena works at Hocoma as Clinical and Scientific Affairs Manager and she is responsible to collect clinical and integrate feedback for the development of devices for upper limb rehabilitation and to promote the interaction between clinicians, engineers and researchers for improving the Hocoma rehabilitation devices.

Simon Johnson

After a BSc in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering from University College London, Simon started his career with Hewlett-Packard, earning his sales and marketing experience as a manager for Africa and the Middle East.

A serial entrepreneur, Simon left HP to create a satellite positioning, navigation and tracking systems company. He then co-founded and was CEO of a Softbank funded company, which provided the first premium content on mobile phones for companies including Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Simon produced and presented a primetime Swiss television program showcasing technologies that will change our daily lives (TTC).

Simon also supports the World Bank’s future mobility project in Africa ADF, a senior advisor of Alpana Ventures, co-founder of the Drone Industry Association Switzerland DIAS and was the acting secretary general of the Global UTM Association GUTMA.

A mentor and investor in Swiss tech start-ups, he consults for the Swiss Innovation Agency, Innosuisse, and advises the Swiss National Centre for Robotics NCCR. His latest venture, OpenStratosphere, is about high-altitude solar powered unmanned vehicles that will end the dominance of satellites.

Aude Billard

Aude Billard is Full Professor and head of the LASA laboratory at the School of Engineering at the Swiss Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). She is Vice-President of Publication Activities for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and the Head of the National Theme Network in Robotics.

Dr. Billard holds a B.Sc and M.Sc. in Physics from EPFL (1995) and a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence (1998) from the University of Edinburgh. She was the recipient of the Intel Corporation Teaching award, the Swiss National Science Foundation career award in 2002, the Outstanding Young Person in Science and Innovation from the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and the IEEE-RAS Best Reviewer Award.

Her research spans the fields of machine learning and robotics with a particular emphasis on learning from sparse data and performing fast and robust retrieval. Her work finds application to robotics, human-robot / human-computer interaction and computational neuroscience. This research received best paper awards from IEEE T-RO, RSS, ICRA, IROS, Humanoids and ROMAN and was featured in premier venues (BBC, IEEE Spectrum, Wired).

Stéphanie Lacour

Stéphanie P. Lacour holds the Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology at the School of Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from INSA de Lyon, France, and completed postdoctoral research at Princeton University (USA) and the University of Cambridge (UK).  She joined EPFL in 2011.

Since January 2017, she is full professor in Microengineering and Bioengineering at EPFL. She is a co-founding member and current director of EPFL Center for Neuroprosthetics, located at EPFL satellite – Campus Biotech in Geneva.

She is the recipient of the 2006 MIT TR35, the 2011 Zonta award, and she was selected as one of the 2015 WEF Young Global Leaders. She was awarded the ERC Starting Grant (2011), ERC POC Grants (2016 & 2018) and the SNSF Consolidator grant (2016).

Aparna Rao

Aparna Rao is an indian artist, indissociable from Søren Pors (Denmark) who together have founded Pors & Rao. Since 2002, they work with objects and installations often incorporating physical animation and responsive behaviors. Many of their works are conceived as a kind of ‘being’ with basic behavior traits such as shyness, fatigue and dependency; highlighting involuntary aspects of human behavior and relationships. Some works imply a kind of pre-conceptual way of perceiving the world, where emotions and thoughts are projected onto the things around us — as if everything was conscious. 

Being a research based practice, developing their own language in physical animation (animatronics), Pors & Rao were invited as artists in residence to pursue their own research project PATHOS at ETH Zurich in March 2017. Their main aim with the lab is to address the hostilities encountered in Robotics as a medium of personal/ artistic expression. 

In 2020, they founded the Robotics Aesthetics & Usability Center at ETHZ, a 2 year pilot to open all the animatronic tools extracted from their artwork and freely share with Swiss art and design institutions and professionals.

Sara Ibrahim

Sara Ibrahim is a journalist at SWI swissinfo.ch, the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, which provides independent reporting in ten languages. She writes about the impact of new technologies on society: are we aware of the revolution in progress and its consequences?