Laboratories and robots

Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems (CRNS)


  • iCub Cognitive Robotics Lab, for access to the €200K iCub robot, the world benchmark platform for cognitive robotics with 53 DoFs, compliant actuators, and skin in forearms and hand palms for tactile HRI and fine object manipulation. The robot recently received an upgrade to its head and with the addition of new arms and skin sensors.
  • Human-Robot Interaction Lab, with 6 Nao robots, a Gypsy VI full-body motion capture suit, and Microsoft Sandpit interaction table. 
  • RobotHome, recently refurbished lab, with ambient intelligence setup and with Scitos G5 Mobile platform for experiments on assisted living. 
  • Baxter Robot Lab, for safe human-robot interaction. 
  • Robot Football and Education Lab, with 18 Plymouth designed (50 cm tall) humanoid robots used for research in locomotion, teaching in mechatronics and control, and school dissemination activities. Participation in International Robot Football (RoboCup) and Athletics (FIRA) competitions since 2007. A new 1m tall teen/adult sized robot has also been commissioned.
  • Swarm Robotics Lab, with 40 e-puck mobile robots with onboard cameras and Linux/WiFi for swarm and social robotics.
  • Motor Learning and Robotics Lab, with two vBOT manipulanda robots and a three-dimensional 3BOT robot for experiments on human motor control and learning.
  • Computational Neuroscience and Brain-Machine Interaction (BMI) Lab, with Linux Beowulf computer cluster with 80 cores and fast interconnect, Retina VSLI and National Instruments FPGA for BMI.
  • Apple P-ARTS for NVIDIA GPU Labs with the Apple-sponsored 'P-ARTS: Plymouth Advanced Robotics Training Suite' (cluster of 4 X-servers for robot training) and the NVIDIA’s sponsored GPU Centre (12 networked computers with 30 Tesla cards). Grant-in-kind from Apple Inc. and from NVIDIA Inc.


The CRNS has a range of state-of-the-art robots used in our cognitive, personal and brain-inspired robotics research. 

The iCub robot is a humanoid robot having the dimensions of a young child. Numerous Aldebaran/SoftBank Nao and pepper humanoid robots and are used for tutoring tasks and human-robot interaction studies. 

The SCITOS G5 mobile platform (aka Gioni5) and the Giraff robot are used for experiments on robot companions for the elderly. 

The Baxter robot is used for work on human-robot cooperation and for neurorobotics studies with the SpiNNaker neuromorphic hardware.

Nao robot and children
SoAIR logo

SoAIR Laboratory 

The SoAIR Laboratory is a multidisciplinary research laboratory focusing on the wide area of Human-Robot Interaction and Artificial Intelligence located in the Smeaton building (SMB 210) at the University of Plymouth.
Research themes include: 
  • Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) including the applications of robots to human social life (e.g. education, entertainment, helping children with autism, elderly care)
  • Cognitive and developmental robotics
  • Language and speech technologies
  • E-Health and healthcare technologies