Minister for Universities and Science comes to Bristol
Press release issued: 10 May 2012
The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, comes to Bristol today to open the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), a partnership between the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol, and to visit the EPSRC Bristol Chemical Synthesis Centre for Doctoral Training in the University’s School of Chemistry.
The BRL, the largest robotics laboratory of its type in the UK, is home to a community of 70 academics and businesses who are leading current thinking in nouvelle and service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering. The £1.65 million facility covers a total area of around 2,400 sqm, with over 300m of specialised laboratory space and two Flying Arenas.
David Willetts will see BRL research projects that include the CHRIS project on robot human interaction, the Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) project which is developing micro air vehicles that can fly around cluttered environments without a skilled pilot, and the Haptic Cow, a virtual reality simulator developed for veterinary training.
He will be welcomed by Professor David Clarke (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol) and Professor Steven West (Vice-Chancellor, UWE Bristol). He will also meet representatives from industry, the European Commission and the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).
David Willetts said: "Robotics has a whole host of everyday applications, from helping our ageing population to improving manufacturing processes. Bristol Robotics Laboratory will bring together the best expertise from industry and the academic community to spearhead Britain's efforts to be world leading in this fascinating and exciting area of science.”
Professor Chris Melhuish, Director of BRL said: “We are on the threshold of an exciting new era in robotics in the UK and BRL is already making significant contributions in many areas.
“Our interdisciplinary research focuses on key areas of robot capabilities and applications ranging from human-robot interaction, medical robotics, soft robots with artificial muscles, giving robots a sense of touch to autonomous flying robots and robots that turn biomass into energy.
“By bringing together researchers including biologists, electronics and mechanical engineers, surgeons, psychologists, aerodynamicists, computer scientists, mathematicians, material scientists as well as industry we are able to explore new exciting areas of research and new applications which have an impact on new businesses. Our success is underpinned by the excellent staff that make up the BRL.”
David Willetts will then visit the EPSRC Bristol Chemical Synthesis Centre for Doctoral Training where he will be welcomed by Professor Tim Gallagher, Head of the School of Chemistry, Professor Varinder Aggarwal and Professor Nick Norman.
A tour of the Centre and the opportunity to meet staff and students will be followed by lunch with the leadership and sponsors of the Centre.