Research Projects

MiRo-E is a highly-featured and versatile platform for research in human-robot interaction that supports on-board (Raspberry Pi) and off-board control (via Wifi or Bluetooth) supported by a full-physics simulation environment. MiRo-E can be used in a variety of research projects spanning from Machine Learning, to Human Robot Interaction (HRI), to Robot Assisted Therapy (RAT), to Biomimetics and Swarm Robotics. Here is a brief list of a few of the research applications that we’ve noted for MiRo-E:

Designed to have an emotionally engaging personality by a talented development team led by the award-winning designer Sebastian Conran, and experts in biomimetic and 'brain-based' robots, Professor Tony Prescott and Dr Ben Mitchinson from the University of Sheffield. MiRo-E aims to accelerate research on next generation animal-like robot companions. Researchers are invited to collaborate in creating the functionality of tomorrow's companion robots by programming MiRo-E’s software to interface with our unique brain-inspired robot controller; or build your own control system (on-or off-board) expanding on our autonomous mode and show us how it should be done!

Our other programming interface, MiRoCODE, provides a more accessible interface designed for students of all abilities to use and program MiRo-E. MiRo-E’s autonomous mode is engaging, and organically animal-like based on our founders’ years of research in biomimetic robots. These additional features open up even more research possibilities for other departments, with little to no coding experience, to explore how MiRo and other companion robots could affect their discipline. For example; studying HRI with regards to MiRo in an elderly care environment, or testing the speed of learning in young students with a robot helper, or examining the responses of children with autism to companion animal-like robots such as MiRo. MiRo-E provides incredible public outreach and engagement opportunities including school partnerships, open days, University promotion and workshops. You’ll struggle to find anyone who is not drawn in by MiRo’s amiable autonomous mode and limitless programming potential.



ENTWINE (The European Training Network on Informal Care)

Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Research Programme

The aim of ENTWINE’s multidisciplinary and inter-sectorial team is to investigate the broad spectrum of issues concerning the development and use of innovative psychosocial and technology-based interventions that support willingness and opportunity to provide informal care.


Imagining Technology Disability Futures

Wellcome Trust Collaborative Grant between the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, Exeter and Dundee

Developments in assistive technology design promise huge benefits for better health. The project asks how this promise connects to the people living with disabilities today. Project partners will work with disability focus groups and family members, and develop prototype product designs and robot platforms.

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 10.44.08.jpg

SOCRATES (Social Co-Creation of Robotic Aging Technologies)

Funded by the Government of Canada, New Frontiers of Research Fund

The goal of the SOCRATES project is to create and test a novel approach to social robot development that addresses key adoption barriers using an interdisciplinary, co-design methodology.



Organisations with ongoing and upcoming projects



MiRo-E is a highly specified technical platform that we have enhanced and improved drastically from our previous Developer Platform MiRo-B whilst retaining the same charismatic personality. Vastly improved HD cameras, increased number of touch sensors, added sensors and an all new upgraded on-board Raspberry Pi.



Related published papers and articles

MiRo: A Versatile Biomimetic Edutainment Robot

E. Collins, T. Prescott, B. Mitchinson, S. Conran
Advances in Computer Entertainment, 2015.

MiRo: A Robot “Mammal” with a Biomimetic Brain-Based Control System

B. Mitchinson, T. Prescott
Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, Living Machines, 2016.

A Biomimetic Vocalisation System for MiRo

R. Moore, B. Mitchinson
Advances in Computer Entertainment, 2015.

A Personalised, Animal-Like Robot Companion to Support People with Dementia

B. Mitchinson, D. Camilleri, T. Prescott, G. Bridges, T. Power
The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association Vol. 14 (Issue 7) : p210, 2018.

Mammals and Mammal-Like Robots

T. Prescott
Living Machines: A Handbook of Research in Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, 2018.

MiRo: An Animal-like Companion Robot with a Biomimetic Brain-based Control System

Sheffield Robotics, T. Prescott, B. Mitchinson
ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, 2017.

MiRo: Social Interaction and Cognition in an Animal-like Companion Robot

B. Mitchinson, T. Prescott, S. Conran, T. Power, G. Bridges
Companion of the 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, 2018.

Saying It with Light: A Pilot Study of Affective Communication Using the MIRO Robot

E. Collins, T. Prescott, B. Mitchinson
Living Machines IV. Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, 2015.

Appropriate Voices for Artefacts: Some Key Insights

R. Moore
1st International Workshop on Vocal Interactivity in-and-between Humans, Animal and Robots, 2017.

Creating a Voice for MiRo, the World's First Commercial Biomimetic Robot

R. Moore, B. Mitchinson
Annual Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH, 2017.

Vulnerable Users: Deceptive Robotics

E. Collins
Connection Science, 2017.

A Robot Model of the Basal Ganglia: Behavior and Intrinsic Processing

T. Prescott, F. González, K. Gurney, M. Humphries, P. Redgrave
Article in Neural Networks Vol. 19 (Issue 1) : p31-61,

Layered Control Architectures in Robots and Vertebrates

T. Prescott, K. Gurney, P. Redgrave
Article in Adaptive Behavior Vol. 7 (Issue 1), 2000.

Towards a Child-Robot Symbiotic Co-Development: A Theoretical Approach

V. Charisi, D. Davison et. al.
AISB Convention, 2015.

Attachment to Assistive Technology: A New Conceptualisation

E. Collins, A. Millings, T. Prescott
Assistive Technology Research Series 33 : p823-828, 2013.

Using Multimodal Information to Support Spoken Dialogue Interaction b/w Humans and Robots

N. Campbell
FAIM/ISCA Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for Multimodal Human Robot Interaction, 2018.