‘Smart Surface’: Massively Parallel Actuator Array Controlled by Non-Linear Medium.

Investigators, Funding and support:

The project is being developed jointly by the International Center of Unconventional Computing and the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Laboratory at the University of the West of England, Bristol and funded by the EPSRC grant GR/S79640/01. The idea is supported by QinetiQ.


Project description:


Our long-term objective is to design a new type of  intelligent actuator for manipulation of objects, exploiting principals and phenomenology of space-time dynamics in non—linear media.

The control of actuator (‘Smart Surface’) is based on findings in the fields of non-linear physics, smart materials and structures, phenomenology of pattern formation and emergence of computation in optical, reaction-diffusion chemical and biological excitable media.

There are numerous applications for machines based on these principles. Thus, intelligent manufacturing would benefit since the ‘Smart Surface’ would allow non-sequential fabrication: objects on a smart table conveyor would be able move at different speeds and pass each other as well as being able to be positioned and oriented.  Such a system would allow the dynamic routing of transport paths.








CEMS, IAS Laboratory,

DuPont building,

Coldharbour Lane, Frenchay,

Bristol BS16 1QY


Phone: (0117) 328 39 21

E-mail: sergey.skachek@uwe.ac.uk