The Sensory-Motor Systems Lab, Zurich

The Sensory-Motor Systems Lab is part of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich. Over the past 15 years, the Lab has conducted ground-breaking research on user-cooperative robotic platforms for neuromuscular rehabilitation and for motor learning. We are pleased to share our expertise in mechatronics and our skills to translate scientific evidence into practical application to support  small and medium enterprises in the field of health robotics.

This is us

We develop assistive technologies that are
tailored to the current needs of the user in order to achieve maximum progress in rehabilitation and motor learning. For this purpose we also use robots, which can support movements but also inhibit them. This allows people to play with or against each other without the need to have the same physical abilities.

Moving people and technology

Our projects are characterized by the fact that users of the target group accompany the development process right from the very beginning. Therefore, our team is highly interdisciplinary, including technicians, engineers, programmers and human movement scientists, and we share lab space with clinicians. Our developments have in common that the human-in-the-loop approach is applied: The users and the assistive technologies interact with each other to efficiently achieve the desired outcome. Current developments include robotic arm rehabilitation combined with virtual reality, automated beds for vestibular stimulation or treatment of sleep disorders, soft wearable robotics for the upper and lower limbs to support activities of daily life, and assistive technologies applied in sports to elaborate robot-aided trainings strategies.

„We want to move people and technology so that our developments result in efficient and sustainable technologies that can be made available to everybody. DIH HERO is an excellent opportunity to follow this idea as the platform connects academia, industry and entrepreneurship.

– Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. med. h.c. Robert Riener

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. med. h.c. Robert Riener
Director of the Hub

Arm rehabilitation robot which is incoorporating the knowledge of the therapist.

Rocking beds which monitor the state of the user and, if required, interact with them in order to improve sleep quality.

Soft exoskeletons which support users during activities of daily living.

Sport simulators to investigate multi-modal, user-cooperative strategies supporting learning of complex motor tasks.

Our main services



Test Infrastructures

Our university is a leader in the continuing education of specialists and managers with academic backgrounds. Its range of continuing education programmes extends from MAS, DAS, CAS to further education courses and focuses on technology, life sciences and engineering. You are very welcome!

Are you looking for a partner to identify, evaluate and implement technical solutions? We have many years of experience in the development of various prototypes in the field of human-robot interaction. Maybe our interests coincide and we realize a development together?

Our network includes facilities that are primarily specialized in measurements on and with humans (e.g. biomechanics, physiology, psychology) as well as in the characterization of robotic properties (sensor properties, material, etc.) and also in the interaction between humans and technology. We are happy to connect!

Did you know?
Prof. Riener initiated the CYBATHLON, a platform for exchange between people with disabilities, technology providers and the public in order to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those with disabilities and to promote the development of assistive technologies. Our lab is again involved in the organisation of the new global format of the CYBATHLON in autumn 2020, check


Peter Wolf