subCULTron at Breaking the Surface 2017

At this year’s Breaking the Surface workshop LARICS and LABUST researchers demonstrated the functionality of the underwater heterogeneous swarm developed within project subCULTron. Demonstration gained a lot of attention, and we got many interesting questions and ideas from attendees.

After the BtS workshop, FER part of the subCULTron consortium stayed in Biograd na Moru to conduct further experiments with the swarm. Experiments included aMussel drifting freely in Biograd aquatorium and monitoring the environment, implementing consensus algorithms for underwater system using scheduled acoustic communication, autonomous docking and formation control. Experiments were successful, we gained a lot of insights into the functioning of the swarm and are looking forward to working on the project goals and challenges in the following year.

subCULTron Press Event in Venice

On 15th September 2017 subCULTron consortium jointly publicly presented subCULTron project as “the world largest diving robot test” in the waters in the Venice lagoon, at the Venice Arsenal. This was the first time that journalists and the public had the opportunity to see our project in action. Journalist from whole Europe participated in the event and transmitted the news about the project. Euro news feature on subCULTron can be found here.


subCULTron Assembly Workshop

At the end of July 2017 an “Assembly Workshop” for project subCULTron was held at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, with two laboratories from Zagreb participating – LARICS and LABUST. During the assembly workshop the project consortium assembled and tested 20 aMussel platforms and assembled the first aFish robot. This is the first step of the mass production of underwater heterogeneous swarm where the ultimate goal is to develop 150 robot platforms. The workshop was successful and we all enjoyed working on the platforms as well as spending quality time with members of the subCULTron consortium.


FER day at MIOC

fer_miocFER day was held at XV. gymnasium (MIOC) in Zagreb on March 2nd to introduce school’s students to activities and laboratories at FER. LARICS was represented with a booth where we had a Nao robot performing its usual dance routine and wowing the audience, and a Pioneer demonstrating its SLAM abilities to the students. Our colleagues from LABUST represented subCULTron project with an aPad and two aMussels, bringing attention to another aspect of robotics.

subCULTron “feature freeze” workshop at FER

IMG_4105LARICS and LABUST organized H2020 project subCULTron workshop under the title of “stress test workshop” at UNIZG FER on 9 – 13 January 2017 with all project partners representatives.

Overall goal of the workshop was to feature freeze new electronic design for mass production of 100+ aMussel units. Extensive testing on three newly produced aMussels in the pool as well as out of it validated the design and provided us with the data to make minor adjustments before taking the next step.

Winter school on AI and Robotics

IMG_3798Barbara Arbanas attended “Lucia 2016 – 3nd PhD school on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics”, held in Örebro, Sweden on December 12-16, 2016. The school provided a unique training and human experience. Lecture topics covered technologies at the forefront of research in AI and in Robotics, while some of these were applied through hands-on exercises on real robots. It also showed to be the opportunity to discuss the research work with top level scholars as well as other students, and to extend networks. Barbara also presented project subCULTron in an interactive poster session.


morus_consortuim_btsLARICS researchers participated in Breaking the Surface 2016 event in Biograd na moru. Prof. Stjepan Bogdan gave invited lecture “Unmanned system for maritime security and environmental monitoring“. As a part of demonstrations LARICS researchers participated in presentation of two projects – subCULTron ( Tamara Petrovic and Barbara Arbanas) and MORUS ( Orsag and Tomislav Haus). Both presentations were well attended and researchers from all over the world expressed interest in hardware and software developed in LARICS.

subCULTron review meeting

DSC02800First subCULTron review meeting was held in Zagreb on 28th of September. In the meeting participated our Prof. Bogdan and Assoc. Prof. Nikola Mišković from LABUST.

As a part of the meeting, we played a live demo for the reviewers which validated all of the efforts put into the project so far. Demo team consisted of LARICS (Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević, Barbara Arbanas) and LABUST members (Anja Babić, Ivan Lončar), accompanied by Daniel Moser from UNIGRAZ. All of the tasks within the demo  (autonomous docking, inductive charging of aMussels via aPad, environmental monitoring task, SMS communication, tweeting) were a complete success.

subCULTron testing the first ten aMussels

IMG_2948The subCULTron team had yet another successful workshop and general assembly in the first week of September 2016. This workshop was dedicated to reliability testing of first batch of ten aMussels. The workshop was held at the Brodarski Institute, Zagreb. The main focus of this workshop was to prepare for upcoming review and to identify possible weaknesses. Various tests such as autonomous docking, diving, interacting with humans via SMS, twitter etc were tested with very encouraging results.

LARICS featured in Jutarnji list

On May 23rd, Jutarnji list, one of the most prominent Croatian newspapers published an article about the subCULTron project. Featured on the front page, it encompasses an 242extensive interview with our own Prof. Stjepan Bogdan and Asst. Prof. Nikola Mišković from the Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies, LABUST. The article provided a great visibility to the project and yielded many positive reactions. Other LARICS members working on the subCULTron project are Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević and Barbara Arbanas.

subCULTron project “throw in” workshop in Venice

DSC_0219LARICS members Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević, Stjepan Bogdan and Barbara Arbanas participated in “throw in” workshop of project subCULTron, which was held in Italy. The first part of the workshop, which included the hardware and software integration, took place at the BioRobotics Institute of the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pontedera from the 4th to the 8th of April. Workshop concluded with field tests in the lagoons of Venice on the 11th of April.

During the workshop one aPad and several aMussel robots were assembled and tested. The workshop was a success and our team has already started redesign phase where we will make the hardware better for the upcoming review.

subCULTron kicked off

Kick-off meeting of the subCULTron project, which is a part of the H2020-FET-PROACTIVE initiative, was held on 26th and 27th of May in Pontedera, Italy. Project partners from Italy, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, and France gathered to share knowledge and ideas, and decide on the next actions.

The projectsubcultron_logo aims for achieving long-term autonomy in a learning, self-regulating, self-sustaining underwater society/culture of robots in a high-impact application area of Venice Lagoon, Italy. Partners aim to build a heterogeneous system that consists of 3 different agent types:

  • artificial mussels (on the sea-ground) with minimal movement capabilities, which act as the collective long-term memory of the system and monitor the natural habitat, including biological agents like algae, bacterial incrustation and fish
  • artificial lily pads (on the water surface), which interface with the human society, delivering energy and information influx from ship traffic or satellite data
  • artificial fish (Between the two layers), which move/monitor/explore the environment and exchange info with the mussels and lily pads.

The project aims to push forward the edge of knowledge with novel sensors (electric sense/electro-communication), novel bio-inspired algorithms (underwater hives) and novel energy harvesting in underwater scenarios.