KURI works on bioinspired underwater robotics, capsule medical robots, exoskeletons and their design, modeling and control for underwater operations, robotics surgery and human joint rehabilitation.

Marine BioRobots

Bioinspired Underwater Robotics


The research in the field of underwater robots is triggered by highly demanding applications such as exploration, inspection, maintenance and repairing in submerged areas in which interventions are essential but extremely complex, dangerous or expensive for humans. Sea or extreme underwater environments can actually be compared to a near planet, where operation is prevented by hazardous or impractical environmental conditions and by range and communication limitations.

In this project, by taking inspiration from living marine organisms, we endow bioinspired underwater robots with elegant solutions overcoming the limitations encountered by traditional engineering approaches, ranging from the exploitation of flexible bodies to the use of autonomous neuro-inspired control. In this way, advanced prototypes can reproduce the energy efficiency, agility and adaptability of marine creatures, providing effective and safe interaction with the environment.

In particular, we investigate the interaction between soft, highly flexible materials (e. g. silicone) and the underwater environment, in order to produce efficient, smooth propulsion and dexterous manipulation underwater. Octopus-like and anguilliform structures are currently considered, not only with respect to morphology and mechanical properties of the body, but also for the implementation of possible neuro-inspired control algorithm like the Central Pattern Generator (CPG).

Collaboration: The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy

People: Dr. Federico RendaProf. Cesare StefaniniProf. Jorge DiasProf. Lakmal Seneviratne


  • F. Renda, F. Giorgio-Serchi, F. Boyer and C. Laschi, “Structural Dynamics of a Pulsed-Jet Propulsion System for Underwater Soft Robots” International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 2015, (accepted).
  • F. Renda, F. Giorgio-Serchi, F. Boyer and C. Laschi, “Locomotion and Elastodynamics Model of an Underwater Shell-like Soft Robot” in Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom., May 26–30, 2015, (accepted).

Capsule Robot

Visual-Inertial Localization and Control Methodologies for a Wireless Capsule Endoscopy


This project aims to design a new class of active capsule endoscopy device for easy use by medical staff and support mass screening of population on checking colorectal diseases such as colorectal cancer (CRC) that alone affects more than 600000 people yearly worldwide. The project aims to integrated autonomous robotic platforms for navigation of an endoscopic capsule capable to perform painless diagnosis. The project introduces vision and inertial sensing fusion to overcome most of the limitations of current devices and provide registered maps of the colon, captured along the navigation path. These capabilities will provide support for fast and effective diagnosis with use of active capsule endoscopy in clinical routines with the paradigm for painless endoscopy. Robotics, vision processing and human biology are synergistically employed to create dramatic leap forward in current technology, making the endoscopic capsule a solution for current needs in endoscopy and paving the way for a truly life-saving procedure for citizens.

Collaborations: The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy

Project Fund: Khalifah University Internal Research Fund (KUIRF) Level 1


Khalifa University: Yasmeen Abu-KheilDr. Harish BhaskarProf. Jorge DiasProf. Lakmal Seneviratne

The BioRobotics Institute at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna: Marco Mura, Dr. Gastone Ciuti, Prof. Paolo Dario


Shared Autonomous Mobile Robot Manipulation Using a Compliant Exoskeleton


This project aims at designing a new compliant exoskeleton arm to interface human intelligence in teleoperating and teaching robots in shared autonomous mobile manipulation with applications in hazardous environments, surveillance, and search and rescue scenarios. By designing new compliant joints, human-motion based mechanisms and integrating state of the art electronic and sensing technologies, the new exoskeleton will bring together human’s cognitive abilities and robotic systems’ robustness. This is a typical multi-disciplinary project covering topic from human motion to robots with knowledge from robotics, mechanical, biomedical, electronics and computer engineering.

Collaborations:The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy

Project Fund: Khalifah University Internal Research Fund (KUIRF) Level 2


Khalifah University: Dr. Dongming GanDr. Andrzej S. SluzekDr. Kinda KhalafProf. Lakmal SeneviratneProf. Jorge Dias, Mr. Mohammed Ismail Ahmad Awad

The BioRobotics Institute at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna: Prof. Paolo Dario


Reconfigurable Exoskeleton for Wrist-Ankle Training and Rehabilitation


This project uses a metamorphic parallel mechanism to develop a new reconfigurable exoskeleton platform with motion intension control strategies that will have the flexibility and ability to reconfigure for both wrist and ankle training and rehabilitation for patients after accidents or stroke. In the project, metamorphic parallel mechanisms are investigated to improve the current exoskeleton technologies and specially emphasize the human-robot adaptation with respect to user-requirements and application scenarios. Motion  intention  extraction  algorithms  of human joints  from  noninvasive  biosignals  and  control  strategies  of  the rehabilitation robotic device will also be developed. The reconfigurability of metamorphic mechanisms will be investigated and different mechanism structures will be synthesized and optimized according to the user case requirements. New implementation and control strategies will be developed with much work on motion intention based control.

Collaborations: Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea; Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Washington, US

Project Fund: KU-KAIST Project

People: Dr. Dongming GanDr. Kinda KhalafProf. Lakmal SeneviratneProf. Jorge Dias

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