Welcome to the Aubert-Kato (Nat) Lab webpage

Our research interests are in black-box optimization, artificial life, molecular robotics, and all combinations thereof.

As the name implies, molecular robotics deals with robots build at the molecular level. The main challenge is thus to design all elements of a robot (structure, actuation, signaling, controller) directly from molecules or molecular interactions.

Due to the complex, non-linear mechanics involved in the behavior of such molecular systems, designing them by hand is both difficult and time-consuming. We instead rely on black-box optimization approaches, such as Evolutionary Strategies, to automatically design appropriate robotic controllers. By extension, we are also interested in designing black-box optimization algorithms and applying them to real-life problems.

Finally, Artificial Life, the research field of creating life-like systems, provides a large range of interesting problems to tackle, either with our own molecular systems or with more abstract models.

See the projects page for more details.

Molecular robotics

The field of molecular robotics is particularly active in Japan, with multiple research events organized throughout the year. Members of the lab are encouraged to join.

Learn More

Code repositories

The java code for the simulation and optimization of molecular systems is available on BitBucket.


Lab retreat

Every year, the lab and collaborators meet to present their recent research and exchange ideas. Location changes every year.

2021 program