The Neurorobotics Platform for Teaching – Embodiment Experiments with Spiking Neural Networks and Virtual Robots

Juan Camilo Vasquez Tieck, Jacques Kaiser, Lea Steffen, Martin Schulze, Axel von Arnim, Daniel Reichard, Arne Roennau and Rüdiger Dillmann

2019 IEEE International Conference on Cyborg and Bionic Systems (CBS),

September 2019 · doi:


Understanding the brain is an interdisciplinary effort spanning over the fields of computational neuroscience, machine learning and robotics. The collaboration between researchers across these fields should be encouraged by comprehensive simulation platforms. The Neurorobotics Platform (NRP) developed by the Human Brain Project enables such collaboration by allowing researchers to define virtual experiments in which brain models are connected to simulated robots. In this paper, we present how we use the NRP as an education tool to introduce master students to neurorobotics. The students are given the task to define, implement and solve three virtual neurorobotics challenges related to perception, arm motion and locomotion. Without any previous knowledge on neurorobotics, the students completed this task within the course of one semester. We present the challenges, which are now open-source benchmarks available online, as well as example solutions from the students to these challenges. This paper gives a glimpse of what new users are capable of by using the NRP to simulate their neurorobotics experiment. Aside from educating the students, this initiative also allowed to collect their direct feedback on the NRP. This feedback is valuable for the Human Brain Project as a whole since it helps identify how new users interact with the platform.

subject terms: neurorobotics, neuromorphic, neuromorphic computing, HBP, NRP, virtual, robotics