Interactive robotics: inventing the future of human-robot cooperation

The SMART Interactive robotics platform is home to CEA-List and partner R&D projects on cobots, exoskeletons, and other collaborative robots. The state-of-the-art technologies available at the platform support the design of innovative, safe, high-performance solutions, with a particular focus on human-robot interaction and enhanced robotic functions.


From teleoperation to exoskeleton development

The Saclay Manufacturing And Robotics Technology (SMART) platform is where CEA-List and its partners—academic institutions and companies—conduct R&D on:

  • Remote handling
  • Cobotics and collaborative robotics
  • Exoskeletons
  • Manipulation
  • Mobile robotics
  • Industrial process automation

Users come to SMART to develop breakthrough technologies in these fields and explore potential use cases. The platform’s equipment includes industrial robots, collaborative robots, cobots, inspection robots, exoskeletons, and autonomous mobile robots. Equipment manufacturers and end users work together to analyze and validate use cases in representative environments.

SMART addresses the manufacturing and other industries, as well as farming, construction, transportation, medicine, and more.

1 500 sq. m

of facilities




patents filed per year

Improve control and interactions

SMART is home to a wide range of CEA-List technologies and know-how. Our partners come to SMART to design new software architectures to support the development of innovative robot manipulation techniques and to build exoskeletons and the associated control systems, for example. Existing robots’ control and perception systems can also be optimized at SMART.

The software environments available at SMART include:

  • The CORTEX control environment for force and hybrid force/position control.
  • LIVA, ExpressIF®, and other software environments to provide all of the AI technologies needed to develop human-robot interaction and robot perception solutions.
  • Intuitive programming.
  • SCORE, for supervised 3D control.
  • Papyrus for Robotics for modelling.
  • Etc.

Safe robots

One of the major challenges in the field of robotics is designing robots with powerful interaction capabilities that are also safe to operate. CEA-List is tackling robot safety head on, and through the SMART platform, has earned recognition as an expert in the field. We have developed rigid, lightweight, low-inertia actuators with very low friction, for example. These actuators allow very fine force control, dramatically improving safety for operators working in close proximity to robots.

Ball screw and cable actuator

The cable and ball screw actuator, the result of many years of CEA research, is protected by several patents. It combines a high force multiplication factor and very low friction losses, making it ideal for lightweight, low-inertia robots designed to work with human operators. The actuator can estimate the force applied from measurements taken at the motor. No additional measurement sensors are needed.

One of our robotics labs, with three Cobomanip robots, a Staübli robot, and several other systems under development.

SMART has two larger robotics labs for 1:1 implementations of large robots. In the foreground, a Cobomanip operator-assistance robot for the precision movement of heavy loads.

Our other robotics labs

SMART’s robotics labs provide plenty of resources for testing different kinds of robots. We also have electronics and mechanical engineering workshops to support faster development cycles.

Some of the exoskeletons developed at SMART.

The topics covered include lower- and upper-limb exoskeletons, load-carrying assistance, and assistance with difficult tasks in industrial and medical (rehabilitation, personal assistance) scenarios.

The CORTEX software suite and some of the robots and other tools it can interface with.

The CORTEX software suite supports effective integration by quickly and efficiently interfacing large numbers of robots and master arms. It leverages hard real-time performance for simple implementation of a wide range of tools like robotic components, controller architectures, and business functions (skills).


Partners in all industries

SMART works with a wide range of partners.

Technology providers: Stäubli, Getinge La Calhène, ABB, UR, Isybot, Haption, CLEIA, COVAL, BA HealthCare, etc.

Corporate partners: Orano, Dassault Aviation, Safran, COLAS, Technip Energies, Stellantis, SADE, etc.

Success story

The CEA-List companion robot demonstrator

CEA-List’s companion robot demonstrator brings the institute’s early smart robotics research to life. The system can assemble, either independently or with the help of an operator, a set of around ten mechanical parts placed randomly in a bin. To complete the task, the system must coordinate several complex functions like planning, vision, grasping, assembly, and interaction with the human operator.

Learn more about our smart robotics research


  • Yann Perrot
    Head of the Interactive Robotics Department

    Paris-Saclay, Nano-INNOV site

See also

Research programs

Smart robotics

Creating smart interactive robots to serve humans.
Read more

The Factory of the Future

The pervasive use of digital technology in all areas of industry from product design to manufacturing is rapidly ushering in a new industrial era.
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Software development environments


SCORE: simplified robotic programming interface and supervised control system development.
Read more
Software development environments


CORTEX: simplify robot controller development.
Read more