Inside UK's largest robotics lab

The largest robotics laboratory in the UK officially opened on Thursday - bringing together an array of humanoid, flying and intelligent robots under one roof.

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) houses 70 academics and businesses conducting research into nouvelle and service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bioengineering.

Research projects at the lab include developing robots that can power themselves using sugar or dead flies, unmanned flying bots and work to develop robotic muscle and organs.

Professor Chris Melhuish, director of BRL, said: "Our interdisciplinary research focuses on key areas of robot capabilities and applications ranging from human-robot interaction, medical robotics, soft robots with artificial muscles, giving robots a sense of touch, to autonomous flying robots and robots that turn biomass into energy."

The facility, which cost more than £1.65m ($2.65m), covers 2,400 square metres and includes two flying arenas and more than 300 square metres of specialised laboratory space. The lab is a partnership between UWE Bristol - the University of the West of England - and the University of Bristol.

Photo: Bristol Robotics Laboratory

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.