Bristol Robotics Laboratory is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) and the University of Bristol, and is the largest academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. The Robotics Innovation Facility is housed in BRL’s state-of-the-art laboratory, which covers an area of over 3,000 square metres, and is located on UWE’s Frenchay Campus to the north of the city of Bristol. The RIF is equipped with a number of robots, vision systems and other items of automation. BRL also houses laboratories and spaces for work in areas of assisted living, machine vision, human robot interaction, sensor development and sensor applications in surgery, swarm robotics, microbial fuel cells etc. One of the largest European indoor arenas for flying Miniature UAVs is located within BRL. A well-equipped workshop with additive layer manufacturing machines, machine tools and electronic benches etc. provides support for many of the research projects. Three dedicated personnel service the RIF and support its offerings with additional assistance provided by the BRL technical support team and other engineers and scientists employed in the laboratory, and the university at large, as and when required. Bristol Robotics Laboratory is also responsible for the coordination of activities of RIFs in SSSA, Pisa, CEA, Paris and BRL, Bristol.
Key areas of research and engagement
Bristol Robotics Laboratory’s RIF provides access to equipment and expertise to assist with:
Estimating and analysing market size for new products, services or a processes
Design of novel end-effectors and sensors
Proof of concept demonstrations in novel robot application areas
Integration of robotic systems in manufacturing, health, training, entertainment etc.
Human/machine interface and robot programing
Requirement analysis and concept demonstration in the field of Assisted Living and Medical Robotics
Application and demonstration of robotics in agriculture, horticulture and food production
The facility provides the following hardware and software:
A Rethink Robotics Baxter Robot with associated conveyor (this machine may also be mounted on a mobile platform for use in applications requiring a mobile robot)
A 80kg payload capacity 6 axis industrial robot with integrated force/torque sensor
A large twin arm gantry robot with payload capacity of 200kg per arm
A 3 kg payload IRB 120 ABB industrial robot
A mobile platform mounted fully sensored robot for medical and assisted living applications
National Instrumnet data logging and instrumentation equipment
Computer aided design and analysis software
Robot simulation software
Data logging and statistical analysis software
Modelling software for control
Access to workshops and rapid prototyping equipment
A 360 degree tour through the facility is available on YouTube
Background to BRL RIF
Bristol Robotics laboratory is located in the South West of England. This area has one of the largest concentration of aerospace industries in Europe. Moreover, the microelectronics sector plays a significant role in employment and commerce in and around Bristol. The area also has three major universities and a number of colleges. This locale therefore has access to a large research and development capacity supported by a large population of highly trained engineers and scientists. Bristol Robotics Laboratory is home to over 150 researchers and engineers supporting robotics and automation research.
The laboratory is situated close to three motorways and is within a short walk from the mainline train station at Parkway and about half hour car travel from Bristol International airport.