Bioinspired Machine Intelligence

We aim to design energy-efficient algorithms that learn from fewer data, and yield solutions that are interpretable and explainable. We tackle these challenges through fundamental research mainly inspired by biological organisms.

Research groups

News and highlights

Photo of a honey bee about to land on a flower

Honeybees can solve maths tests without using numbers

Honeybees can solve a type of maths test without any need for numbers - a discovery that could be used to develop smarter artificial intelligence - according to new research from the University of Sheffield.

News story

Stock image depicting points of light connected by lines

Robotics distance learning project could close skills gap and boost economy

A new distance learning project that will enable more people to develop skills in robotics and autonomous systems, to help close the skills gap and drive forward productivity in the UK, is being launched by researchers from the University of Sheffield.

News story

Our impact


Based on eight years of research led by Professor James Marshall and Dr Alex Cope from the University’s Department of Computer Science and funded by EPSRC grants  Brains on Board and  Green Brain, Opteran is pioneering lightweight, low cost silicon brains to enable robots and autonomous vehicles to see, sense, navigate and make decisions.

Opteran website

Consequential Robotics

Founded by the leading UK consumer product designer, Sebastian Conran, Professor Tony Prescott, Director of Sheffield Robotics, and biomimetic roboticist Dr Ben Mitchinson, the company’s main focus is developing assistive robotic systems that will enhance quality of life as people age.

Consequential Robotics website

Making the case against fully autonomous weapons

Professor Noel Sharkey's research into the capabilities and ethics of artificial intelligence has fuelled debate at national and international levels on the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems. Evidence from his research prioritised the issue on the UN agenda and ensured that technological issues were fully understood and considered by member states.