Self-reconfiguration of a robotic workcell for the recycling of electronic waste


To date automatized industrial process using robotics support are all rigidly programmed. While automated processes are highly efficient, each time a change is made there are high costs for hardware modification and software reprogramming.

In ReconCycle project, these issues will be addressed by introducing the concept of robotic self-reconfiguration in the largely unconstrained domain of electronic waste recycling. This sector, because of the high variability of the tasks, is still dominated by manual labour.

The scientific objective of ReconCycle is to introduce in this sector self-reconfigurable hardware and software based on a reconfigurable robotic cell.

The project is realised using highly compliant soft robots and end-effectors and a combination of sensorimotor learning approaches and other AI techniques, this choice makes it possible to exploit the functional flexibility typical of soft robotics in combination with AI. It also makes the robotic cells shareable environments for humans and robots.

This reduces automation complexity and brings this project into a feasible regime for up to TRL 6.

Being able to implement the concept of robotic self-reconfiguration to carry out the recycling of electronic devices will allow solutions to be extended to many of the production sectors that have been labour intensive until now.

The last ReconCycle general meeting was at the University of Göttingen on September 30th, 2021.

The progress made during these first months of collaboration between the project partners were reviewed there.

Stay tuned…


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871352.

(The picture shows the basic components of a smoke sensor. When fully operational, the system will be able to recognise and separate each of the individual parts independently).