Since it’s launch in early 2017, universities and research labs across the UK and around the globe have been using MiRo for research. MiRo’s accessible architecture and biomimetic morphology make it an attractive platform for research in fields such as biomimetic robotics, human-robot interaction and robotics in general. Read how some researchers have used MiRo to advance their understanding and scroll down to view the full list of universities using MiRo today.
Sheffield Robotics has a keen interest in building living machines on biomimetic principles - mirroring or imitating some of the features and characteristics of animals found in nature. As a biomimetic robot, Miro was created to be more 'lifelike' in its behaviour and architecture. Developed to be like other animals with a sophisticated brain structure, MiRo has basic motor functions and sensory perceptions implanted in a network of circuits that are akin to mammalian brain stem. Miro’s programming also roughly mirrors the functions of the basal ganglia - the part of the brain that controls emotions, routine behaviours and voluntary functions.
Since MiRo’s brain architecture is like that of a small mammal, it has undoubtedly attracted the interest of many researchers into brains, particularly those involved in the flagship European Human Brain Project. Many researchers (for example, Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the Institute of Biophysics in Palermo) are hoping to model certain brain functions - such as some of those of the hippocampus - through Miro. Miro's existing 'brain' structures make it easy to add certain features, such as memory or aspects of learning, so that researchers can learn more about those parts of the brain, how they function in certain animals (including humans), and how to build models that simulate those functions.
MiRo developers are also working on features such as speech and facial recognition, and more sophisticated machine learning that means each individual Miro will not only respond to its environment but also learn from it.
Whilst coloured light displays offer rich expression and low cost; the changing patterns of lights - in contrast to body language, do not have a direct biological analogue (though see cephalopods). Can such patterns of lights serve to communicate mood? Researchers E. C. Collins, T. J. Prescott, and B. Mitchinson used MiRo to investigate this question directly in their study: "Saying it with light: A pilot study of affective communication using the MIRO robot," in Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, 2015, p. In Press.
It's widely known that cultural associations exist for parameters such as colour. For example, red, amber and green are an almost universal contemporary code for traffic lights. However, a clear picture on universal responses to colour has not emerged. Moreover, it is not clear in what way colour associations would translate to the perception of the affective state of a robot, nor whether these perceptions would be reliable in a naïve user. The researchers used MiRo to further their understanding of human-robot interaction.
Along with the above, MiRo is being used as a development platform to research laboratories worldwide, facilitating contributions to the development of MiRo’s functionality.
Join the list of universities and research laboratories using MiRo today by contacting us here.
The University of Bristol
The University of West of England
North Carolina State University
Bristol Robotics Lab
University of Hertfordshire
TU Dortmund University
Sheffield Hallam University
University of Surrey
University of Glasgow
Birkbeck, University of London
The University of Sheffield
Università degli Studi di Genova
Technische Universität München
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Trinity College, Dublin
RWTH Aachen University