Meet the scientist robotics – Robots took over Copenhagen
11th March 2016

The Society of Spanish researchers in Denmark, known as Spanske Forskere i Danmark (CED –SFD) was born in 2014 as a result of the increasing number of Spanish researchers in the area. The goals of this non-profit organization are not only to boost scientific collaborations between Denmark and Spain, but also put an important effort to promote the research carried out in Denmark by its members, worldwide. Soon CED-SFD started organizing successful outreach activities to communicate Danish research to the general public. These events called “Meet the scientist” were inspired by their sister association in the UK (SRUK). The association uses its network of researchers to invite international experts in a certain field and explain complex topics to the public. There has been five Meet the scientist organized in the area of Copenhagen; one about Biosustainability with the collaboration of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Computer Science, Beer Science at the Carlsberg Research Laboratory and Nanotechnology. The last one was about robotics, funded by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). It was held at the ITU University of Copenhagen amid of the Friday bar with an audience of fifty people.

The event was opened by the chairman of CED-SFD Darío Vázquez who called for increasing cross-disciplinary collaborations between researchers in different fields, and Guillermo Orts, scientific coordinator at the Embassy of Spain in Berlín, who remarked the support of FECYT to this kind of events.

“Robots can be built from individual modules, which perform relatively simple operations, by joining them together. Thus, these multi-modular robots can be deployed in few minutes to perform complex tasks” explained Andres Faíña, researcher at the ITU and member of CED-SFD. He summarized what are the basic hardware building blocks to create a robot and the algorithms that guide these robots, like evolutionary algorithms inspired in biological processes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAndrés Faíña, researcher at ITU and member of CED-SFD, presenting

Kasper Støy Associate Professor at the ITU, presented their work on a liquid handling robot to automate certain operations. Microbial Fuel Cells are systems where waste-degrading bacterial can generate electrical current that can be used as a renewal energy source. “This systems need to be regularly fed with water or waste. Our robot has been optimized to perform this mechanical operation when a drop of power is detected” indicated Kasper Støy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADesign lab room at the ITU University of Copenhagen

Finally, Jose De Gea, Team Leader at the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and member from the Society of Spanish Researchers in Germany (CERFA) explained the handful of robots they have developed during past years. Among the different examples, he showed prototypes of explorer robots able to navigate through irregular terrains with robust leg designs to tackle obstacles or robots that autonomously can decide what´s the best path to follow. “Some of these prototypes were developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Space Agency (DLR), however they still require years of work to qualify them for space missions” pointed out Jose De Gea. A particular robot called AILA, caught the audience´s attention. This woman-like android is able to autonomously manipulate objects and learn from human examples to perform new tasks.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJose De Gea, team leafer at  German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)
and member of CED-SFD, presenting
AILA, a robot developed by Jose De Gea´s team at the German Research Center of Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)

The event closed with a robot demo of the liquid handling robot developed by Andrés Faíña and Kasper Støy and answering the questions of a curious audience amazed by the field of robotics. This was only one of the exciting events the Society of Spanish researchers in Denmark, prepared for an international audience.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADemo of the liquid handling robot developed by Kasper Støy, Associate Professor,
and Andrés Faíña at ITU.

Find more information in an official source:


By: Darío Vázquez, chariman of the CED-SFD


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