23 March 2016 – The European Robotics Forum 2016 (ERF 2016) has announced the winners of the Georges Giralt PhD Award in Robotics, the 2016 euRobotics Technology Transfer Award and the Entrepreneurship Award 2016. The winner of the 1st TechTransfer Award, seen as one of the ERF’s most prominent activities, is the project “Robirds: from an idea to an animal-friendly revolution in bird control”. Robirds are remotely controlled robotic birds of prey, with the realistic appearance and weight of their living counterparts. Robirds use flapping wing flight as a means of propulsion, with a flight performance comparable to real birds.

The aim of euRobotics Technology Transfer Award, now in its 13th edition, is to showcase the impact of robotics research and to raise the profile of technology transfer between science and industry.

First TechTransfer Award was granted to the authors of “Robirds: from an idea to an animal-friendly revolution in bird control”, namely Geert Folkertsma and prof. dr. Stefano Stramigioli from the University of Twente, the Netherlands, and Wessel Straatman and Nico Nijenhuis from Clear Flight Solutions.

The Second TechTransfer Award: “From legged robots to walking excavators – active balancing of an all-terrain chassis” was granted to Marco Hutter, ETH Zurich, Stefan Tagmann, Menzi Muck AG, and Gonzalo Rey, Moog inc.

The Third TechTransfer Award was awarded to the project “POINT: The tool for risk analysis and cost effectiveness of HRC workplaces and the generation of safe motions for robot assistants” (two brothers Sami Haddadin and Simon Haddadin from Kastanienbaum GmbH and Alin Albu Schäffer, Institute of Roboticsand Mechatronics, German Aerospace Center).

The Entrepreneurship Award is granted to small innovative companies or start-ups and this year’s winners are:
First Prize of the Entrepreneurship Award: Ricardo Tellez, The Construct – Robot simulations with a web browser
Second Prize of the Entrepreneurship Award: Alexander Enoch, Robotical – A low cost walking robot that’s more than a toy
Third Prize of the Entrepreneurship Award: Riccardo Tornese, Tactile Robots – Designed to serve humans

The winners of the Georges Giralt PhD Award in Robotics were Alexander Dietrich from Technische Universität München, Germany, for the thesis „Whole-Body Impedance Control of Wheeled Humanoid Robots”, and Mark Müller, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, for the thesis „Increased autonomy for quadrocopter systems: trajectory generation, fail-safe strategies, and state estimation”. The award is given to (this year exceptionally to two authors) the best robotics-related PhD thesis defended during the year 2015 at a European PhD-awarding institution.

The European Robotics Forum 2016

European Robotics Forum 2016 took place between 21 – 23 March and was attended by 760 European robotics experts, most of them from Germany, Slovenia, England and Italy. The Forum featured more than 60 workshops and a robotics exhibition presenting a number of companies, including Yaskawa Europe, ABB, Fanuc, IDMIND, incubed IT, iniLabs, Joanneum Research, GC tronic, KUKA, NCCR Robotics, Nova Labs, Optoforce, Ortelio Ltd, PAL Robotics, Robotnik, Schunk, Shadow, Robot Company, Taurob, The Biorobotics Institute – Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, University in Zagreb – Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Slovenian companies: Daihen Varstroj, Kolektor, L-TEK, RLS Merilna tehnika, and others.

ERF 2017 will take place in Edinburgh, UK, 22–24 March 2017.