Published: 25 Sep 2023 | Last Updated: 25 Sep 2023 09:59:13

This week, Professor Richard Bomphrey, Professor of Comparative Biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) will lead a panel of experts at the United Nations’ (UN) next AI for Good event.

Taking place on Wednesday, 27th September at 3pm (BST), the webinar titled Biorobotics for emulating and studying animal locomotionwill explore how biorobotics, which draws on biological principals to design robots with sensorimotor skills of animals, can help further investigations into animal locomotion and adaptive behaviour.

The movements of animals are difficult to analyse and emulate because locomotion is the result of a complex interaction between several components, including the central and peripherical nervous systems, the musculoskeletal system and the environment. Previous studies have therefore, been somewhat limited in their exploration. However, by using biorobotics, researchers can test hypotheses about the underlying interactions of body, control and the environment in a way that wasn’t previously possible.

Drawing on their collective and diverse experience, the panellists, including Andrew Biewener, Professor of Biology and Faculty Director of the Concord Field Station at Harvard University; Auke Ijspeert, Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; Robert Full, Medical Institute Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Aimy Wissa, Assistant Professor at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Princeton University, will discuss a range of topics including:

  • The application of fundamental bioscience to developments in robotics and vice versa
  • How biological insights from experiments and simulations of animal movement have been incorporated into designs, including those from insects and birds within aeronautical engineering
  • How this approach can provide enhanced capabilities to autonomous vehicles, in terms of stability, robustness, safety, autonomy and efficiency
  • How the intersection of these two fields can help us better understand evolution and the diversity we see in the world around us
  • The positive impact biorobotics can have on animal welfare.

Professor Richard Bomphrey, Professor of Comparative Biomechanics at the RVC, said:

"This event promises to be a thought-provoking discussion with some of the world's leaders in bio-inspired robotics discussing the challenges and opportunities they see within the field.

“There are sure to be some intriguing examples that highlight how the state-of-the-art in modern robotics has resulted in greater impact by taking inspiration from nature, and also how biological investigations are acquiring a deeper understanding of the natural world by using novel robotic equipment.”

This event is organised as part of the Robotics for Good programming track, which includes a series of expert talks to explore the applications of intelligent autonomous systems to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It is also the latest event for the action-oriented, global and inclusive platform on AI, which involves collaboration with 40 UN sister agencies.

Notes to Editors

For more information about the event, and to register, visit:

For media enquiries, please contact:

  • Press Line: 0800 368 9520

About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London.
  • It is one of the few veterinary schools in the world that hold accreditations from the RCVS in the UK (with reciprocal recognition from the AVBC for Australasia, the VCI for Ireland and the SAVC for South Africa), the EAEVE in the EU, and the AVMA in the USA and Canada.
  • The RVC is ranked as the top veterinary school in the world in the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2023.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.  
  • The RVC is a research led institution with 88% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.

You may also be interested in:

Top of page