151-0073-20L  SARA

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersR. Katzschmann
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentThis course is part of a one-year course. The 14 credit points will be issued at the end of FS2024 with new enrolling for the same Focus Project in FS2024.

For MAVT BSc and ITET BSc only.

Prerequisites for the focus projects:
a. Basis examination successfully passed
b. Block 1 and 2 successfully passed


151-0073-20 ASARA Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.
Permission from lecturers required for all students.
210s hrsby appt.R. Katzschmann

Catalogue data

AbstractStudents create a biomimetic underwater system capable of the autonomous collection of information about biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. The students learn to work in teams, structure problems, identify solutions, perform system analysis, and present. They have access to rapid prototyping facilities and the latest engineering tools.
ObjectiveThe various objectives of the Focus Project are:
- Synthesizing and deepening the theoretical knowledge from the basic courses of the 1. - 4. semester
- Team organization, work in teams, increase of interpersonal skills
- Independence, initiative, independent learning of new topic contents
- Problem structuring, solution identification in indistinct problem definitions, searches of information
- System description and simulation
- Presentation methods, writing of a document
- Ability to make decisions, implementation skills
- Workshop and industrial contacts
- Learning and recess of special knowledge
- Control of most modern engineering tools (Matlab, Simulink, CAD, CAE, PDM)
ContentSURF-eDNA integrates an environmental DNA (eDNA) filter, camera, and swimming autonomy into a biomimetic soft underwater robotic fish (SURF). The goal of the project is to create a biomimetic underwater system capable of the autonomous collection of information about biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. The system has to be minimally invasive and disruptive to the ecosystem it will be deployed in, therefore it has to employ a nature-mimicking locomotion modality.

The project is run by a team of eight students in their third year of bachelor at MAVT/ITET at ETH Zürich. The team is managed by team from the Soft Robotics Lab. The target date for a successful research demonstration is end of May 2023. The project is split into three work packages: 1) design a robotic fish for underwater sampling; 2) manufacture several robotic prototypes; and 3) provide the system with Autonomy and data collection capability.

If you like to learn more about this project, please email Prof. Robert Katzschmann (Link).
Prerequisites / NoticeBasics of control theory, machine design, and dynamics. Previous exposure to mechatronics or robotic systems will also be helpful.

Participation in the Focus Rollout is part of the Focus Project.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Media and Digital Technologiesassessed
Project Managementassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkassessed
Customer Orientationassessed
Leadership and Responsibilityassessed
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityassessed
Creative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsassessed
Self-direction and Self-management assessed

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits0 credits
Typeno performance assessment

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


General : Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers
Permission from lecturers required for all students

Offered in

Mechanical Engineering BachelorFocus Projects in Mechatronics and RoboticsWInformation