Inventor: Dr. Fumiya Iida, Cambridge Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab, Engineering
Mentor: David Foster

The research interests of the Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab lie at the intersection of robotics and biology. Through abstraction of the design principles of biological systems, Dr. Iida’s team have developed core competences in the design and control of dynamic mechatronic systems, bionic sensor and actuator technologies, and computational optimization techniques. Their main goals are to contribute to a deeper understanding of adaptivity and autonomy of animals through the investigation of dynamic robots, and to engineer novel robotic applications which are more adaptive, manoeuverable, resilient, and energy efficient.

The first commercial product to be based on the Lab’s work is the “Chairless Chair”, which uses specially designed hinge joints to deliver on the product concept and is marketed as an ergonomic workplace product. The concept is that it is lightweight enough to be worn throughout the day and provide chair-like support whenever and wherever needed.

Dr. Iida would like to build on his experiences with the Chairless Chair to develop new products for additional market segments. This gives the i-Teams several questions to consider, firstly which markets have need of this type of technology (including relevant industrial sectors as well as other applications such as supporting disabled or elderly people), whether incorporating additional technologies from the Robotics Lab’s repertoire would improve the range of uses of the product and how to best assess the performance and benefits that are provided by these types of ergonomic solutions.