Technical University of Munich


Gordon Cheng

Key Question

How can we design a future in which humans and robots work together?

What We Did

Developed a tactile “skin” for robots made of many hexagonal touch receptors which work together to respond to outside stimuli.

Can we envision a future in which robots and humans can work together?

TUM’s Gordon Cheng envisions a future in which robots and humans can work together. Instead of taking our jobs, Gordon believes robots should be doing the work that humans don’t want to do anymore. As founder of TUM’s Institute for Cognitive Systems and a robotics scientis, Gordon is fascinated by the potential of robotics—a passion which harkens back to his boyhood days. As a child in front of the television, Gordon noticed that robots in cartoons always seemed to enhance human life, and he became captivated by the possibilities of the future. Gordon’s work has spanned across the globe, reaching Australia, Asia, and Europe. 

At the opening ceremony of the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil a paraplegic Brazilian man kicked off the first ball of the tournament himself. The young man was wearing an exoskeleton whose movements he controlled using his thoughts. Two years later the researchers of the “Walk Again” project published a spectacular study: Training at the human-machine interface helped the patients’ healing process. Prof. Gordon Cheng played a decisive role in the development of the exoskeleton. 

“We have only touched the tip of the iceberg. To develop better medical devices, we need to dig deeper in understanding how the brain works and how to translate this into robotics.”

Gordon cheng, Phd, humanoid robotics and computational neuroscience

To learn more about Gordon’s work with “The Walk Again Project”, go here.

More Work

Livermore takes implantable microsystems to the next level

Research proposal: Building a brain that speaks – programming the auditory-motor interface

Georgetown neuroscientists design a model to mirror human visual learning