ROBIO2016(IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics),which Prof. Ma served as a gerenal chair, was held in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China on December 3rd-7th 2016, and it ended successfully. Prof.Kakogawa and Mr.Tian(D4) made research presentations.


20th Anniversary of Department of Robotics

The Department of Robotics, Ritsumeikan University was founded in 1996 as Japan’s first department that can learn robotics expertly. This year marks the 20th anniversary and commemorating this, the 20th anniversary lecture, tour and celebration were held on November5, 2016. Many visitors came to our laboratory. Thank you!





JIMA2016 @Tokyo

We have participated in JIMA2016 Synthesis Inspection Equipment Exhibition held at Tokyo Big Sight for 3 days from Sep.28 to Sep.30, 2016. We exhibited and demonstrated a pipe inspection robot. The demonstration that the piping inspection robot vertically moves up and down was attracting people.


By listening to the opinions of people working at the factory site, we were able get many opinions that we cannot hear simply by being in the laboratory.
Moreover, we were able to know problems such as durability of the robot. There are many people who want to use the robot immediately for inspection of infrastructure equipment and we feel that we have to tackle as soon as possible for practical application.

IMG_5763We don’t want our research to end in the laboratory. We would like to have many people see our research through exhibitions, etc. and conduct it that will be used somewhere in the future.

Two international students Thomas and Anthony from the University of Michigan have come back to the USA!

Two international students Thomas and Anthony from the University of Michigan have come back to the USA! We would like to publish the part of written description of their impressions.


During our stay, we lived in the International House that is located just a short walk from campus. The best thing about I-House is that all the residents can speak English, which makes things easier for us foreigners. Also, there were people from countries all over the world. It was very easy to make friends and share our unique experiences. The dormitory also planned trips and events for residents. We went on a trip sponsored by the mayor, and did zip lining, barbeque, and sightseeing. It was an amazing experience.

Since Ritsumeikan University is fairly close to Kyoto, we were able to go there during the weekends. We visited the many temples, such as the Nanzen-ji Temple and the Ginkaku-ji Temple. It was a very nice cultural experience, seeing the many artifacts that were left behind hundreds of years ago.

The majority of our time was spent in the lab under Professor Ma. The lab specializes in biological intelligent mechanics, or, more simply, robots that mimic animals, specifically snakes. We were assigned to work under PhD student Fabian Reyes, who tasked us with coding a framework for communication between Mathematica and robots. At first, we were clueless, since we never really interacted with hardware before. As time went on, we became more familiar with the tools and equipment. With the guidance of Fabian and many others, we were able to successfully complete our project (Link of project:

All in all, this journey was a very valuable experience to both of us. Not only did we learn how researchers in labs operate, we also learned about the Japanese language and culture. Our newly gained knowledge will certainly help us in the future, no matter what we decide to pursue. If given the chance again, we will definitely come back.

Finally, to everyone that helped us, whether in the lab or at our dormitory, we just want to say: ありがとうございました!(Arigatou gozaimashita!: means thank you very much)

Anthony and Thomas Huang.


Open Campus of Ritsumeikan University 2016

The Open Campus of Ritsumeikan University 2016 was held. We  opened our laboratories and explained about our research. Despite a hot sunshine day, many customers came to our lab.
(* ^
^ *) o ~ ♪



One room was full of long, thin robots. (snakes and in-pipe robots)
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Everyone was deeply interested in our trademark snake-like robots which moved wiggle and waggle!!


There were some troubles that the robot would not move,but we figured it out!

Lab experience for undergraduates (grade1, 2)

There was a laboratory experience for undergraduates (grade1, 2) in our lab on August 3rd!! The outline of the experience is as follows.

Laboratory: Bioinspired intelligent mechatronics laboratory (Ma Lab)
Theme: learning control program of snake-like robot
Teacher in charge: Prof. Ma, Prof. Kakogawa
Date: One day between late May and early July
Place: Bioinspired intelligent mechatronics laboratory (5th floor of East Wing)
Capacity: 14 people (minimum 3 people)
Content: Though the snake of the creature is a body such as one string, why can it move smoothly? Learn the principle of movement based on knowledge of trigonometric functions studied in high school mathematics and do programming using seven joint plane snake type robot. Finally, do a contest that competes for accuracy and time of movement within a given course.

The 4 undergraduates participated!  (More than we thought!)
They were divided into two groups and challenged the time trial using a snake-like robot. The both teams managed to complete the course by trial and error in  programing.


They copied a successful barometer and were thinking about strategies.


They tried to stabilize the motion of the robot by putting a weight on the head of the robot.(*^_^*)


Comments from participants

(1) I think that I was able to expand my view of robots by watching the movements of  the robot with no legs, trying programming, and experiencing that robots are not just moving with their legs.
And I have not fully understood the principle, but as for programming, there was a discovery that changing the value of α, ω, β (value in power point) etc. would change the meandering condition and the speed of the robot. It was interesting. And
I was touched by the fact that the robot can go so steadily without a leg. (grade1)

(2) In this experience, I learned about a mechanism and a program of the snake robot. Especially the mechanism was interesting. I thought that I would like to actually make it when watching to move by complicated process, which the wheels were attached to the bottom but the driving force was not there.(grade1)

Insect collection partⅡ!!@ BKC campus

Continuing from last year, we collected beetles and stag beetles this year!
Our university campus of the laboratory has rich forests, so we can find many insects every year. We began with previewing at 17 o’clock and took insects until 5 o’clock the following morning.(lol)

The 4 members of the laboratory including alumni took insects while being bitten by a large number of mosquitoes.




The results are these.(GREAT EXCITMENT !!) ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓


11 beetles, 1 stag beetle, 1 gigantic longicorn beetle and 1 frog etc!


The size of this beetle is about 8 cm!



This frog seems to be a very rare frog designated as an associate endangered species!



Please check the very impressive flapping of the beetle. (slow motion)


Unfortunately for the stag beetle, we could only discover about 4cm in size. We would like to try again soon.

And we were able to feel summer early in Shiga where the rainy season was just over.

We are looking forward to doing this next year.