New experimental platform powered by Sonceboz Robotics
The Blanke Lab at EPFL is delighted to announce a new partnership with world-leading mechatronics company Sonceboz SA. We are launching a custom-made research platform that merges a motion platform with vestibular stimulation as well as virtual reality technology and robotics.
We will study perception and consciousness and develop novel methods to induce such intriguing mental states as out-of-body experiences that have fascinated mankind since time immemorial.
Using a six-axis parallel robotic platform powered by Sonceboz motors and engineered by their robotics team, participants on the motion platform can be moved in all three directions and in many combinations, with high accuracy and speed. Following an initial design phase in collaboration with the Laboratory of Prof. H. Bleuler and Dr. M. Bouri of the group REHAssist, the system has since seen multiple improvements. In its current stage, the platform uses six connected CPM90 motors (Stewart-Gough design) for maximum strength and optimal energy consumption. Although not available for commercial use, and generously loaned by Sonceboz SA for research purposes, the platform is robust and safe. Several safety measures and system control procedures ensure the safety of our participants.
In order to study consciousness and out-of-body experiences, the platform has been combined with robotic stimulations as well virtual reality (VR) technology. Concerning VR, we have developed a real-time body scanning technology in collaboration with FCBG Campus Biotech. By integrating this reconstructed 3D representation of the participant’s body in an immersive virtual environment and the motion of the Sonceboz motion platform, the platform is unique worldwide.
The multisensory and multimodal platform allows us to address fundamental research questions on the mechanisms underlying human self-consciousness, impacting neuroscience, engineering, psychology and medicine.
Sonceboz Robotics Team
- Jean-François Ritty : Product Development Engineer
- Coline Lugaz : Innovation Project Manager
- Jonathan Queyranne : Electronic Development Engineer
- Anthony Mellere : Product & serial life manager
- Pierre Marcel : Deputy R&D Electronic Manager
- Jonas Monnin : R&D Development Engineer
- Florian Lance: Engineer
- Louis Albert: PhD Student
- Hsin-Ping Wu: PhD Student
- Jemina Fasola: Postdoc
- Sophie Betka: Postdoc
- Bruno Herbelin: Postdoc
360 Body Scanner Team
- Margaux Dubessy – Virtual Reality Engineer
- Gilles Reymond – Virtual Reality Senior Engineer