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Join us at BIYSC! Learn how to build a synthetic nervous system for robots.

By Marti Sanchez  (Computer Scientist with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, researcher in biologically constrained synthetic systems at SPECS UPF, Barcelona), coordinator of the BIYSC project  “Neuro-Robotics as a tool to understand the brain”

To understand brains we need to start from the simplest animals: take for example the worm C-Elegans with only 350 neurons, able to look for food, remember food locations and mate.

Brains originally evolved for movement: consider as an example phototaxis, the movement away or towards a stimulus or light that can be easily implemented with a robot by directly connecting sensors and motors. This behaviours are considered to be reactive a direct mapping from sensors to actuation.


At SPECS we use synthetic methods and robots to study, synthesize and embody the neuronal, psychological and behavioural principles underlying perception, emotion and cognition.

In this course we will address how we can build up more complex behaviours introducing learning and memory into play.

SPECS UPF_BIYSC 2You will be able to add more complex layers of behaviour following the structure of the Distributed Adaptive Control (DAC, biologically based control Architecture developed at SPECS).

The brain architecture DAC assumes that behaviour is organized in layers from reactive, to adaptive (simplest learning) and contextual (including memory and learning). Using robots, and by following the structure of a neuro-biological control strategy based on DAC, you will learn how to implement a series of increasingly complex tasks such as a foraging task ……your robot will be able to search for food like animals do, don’t miss this great opportunity !

Join us at BIYSC!  You will experience how to build new behaving artefacts using state of the art technology and knowledge in neuroscience, robotics and artificial intelligent, really embedded in a transdisciplinary environment. APPLY NOW!


BIYSC is an International Scientific Challenge programme, that aims to connect the most passionate science students with the best researchers in their field. Registrations are open, do not lose your place! If you like science and you are between 16-19 years-old you cannot miss BIYSC from July 11th to 22nd 2016 in ‪#‎Barcelona! 10 projects, 10 ‪#‎research centers, two weeks of practical courses to work in research centers side-by-side with researchers, ‪#‎scientific conferences, debates, visits to the research centers and much more! Are you in? www.biysc.org

The University Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is the youngest public university in Catalonia, being founded in 1990. UPF was the first university in Spain in formally adhering to the Charter and Code, and is strongly committed to promoting transparency, accessibility, equity and excellence in researcher recruitment. The proposed project will be implemented at the Laboratory of Synthetic Perceptive Emotive Cognitive Systems (SPECS). SPECS is part of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at the University Pompeu Fabra (UPF). SPECS mission is to understand mind, brain and behaviour through constructing synthetic perceptive, emotive and cognitive systems. SPECS performs interdisciplinary research in the domains of technology, cognitive science and humanities, and has a long-standing tradition in the domains of computational neuroscience, cognitive science and interactive systems.

Director of the center: Paul Verschure

Coordinator of the SPECS-UPF project at BIYSC:  Martí Sanchez

  • 2014 – SPECS received the award as a “Consolidated Research Group” by the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de catalunya).
  • 2014 – Paul Verschure, director of SPECS, was awarded for “Excellence in Knowledge Transfer” by UPF Social Committee for the achievement with the “Rehabilitation Gaming System” RGS.
  • 2014 – SPECS was awarded with an European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant for the “CDAC – The role of consciousness in adaptive behaviour: A combined empirical, computational and robot based approach” project.
  • 2012 – SPEC’s RGS research project received the “Finalist Award” by Pasion>ie (Insituto de Empresa Madrid).
  • 2012 – SPECS won the “Social Media and Creativity Award” during the Campus Milenio Event.

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