Morphological computation

From neuroscience to cognitive robotics

  • Wed 15 May 19

    16:00 - 18:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr. Thrisnatha Nanayakkara

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, School of

  • Contact details

    Vishwanathan Mohan

Computation that spans across neural, musculo-skeletal, and environmental circuits.

The neuroscience community has long been trying to understand how the central nervous system is managing the concurrent control of the whole body with many degrees of freedom to survive in situations that need fast responses, but with slow communication pathways.

The robotics community too has addressed the same problem of surviving in uncertain environments by efficiently solving the concurrent computation problems.

Morphological computation

In this talk, Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara will show some recent findings from his lab that show the physical structures in the body work in conjunction with neural controllers to solve control problems locally. We call this phenomenon -  “morphological computation” – the computation that spans across neural, musculo-skeletal, and environmental circuits. Dr. Nanayakkara will show how he tests some of these hypotheses using laboratory made robotic devices. 


Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara is a Reader in Design Engineering and Robotics, and the Head of the Robotics and Manufacturing Theme at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London.

Dr. Nanayakkara has been a senior lecturer in robotics at King’s College London, Radcliffe  Fellow, Harvard University, USA, research affiliate at the Computer  Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT, USA, and a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, USA. His research interests are in morphological computation, soft robotics, and human-robot interaction. Visit his research site for more information.

Related events