July 9  10:00   – 16:00   
The Living Machines Workshops will be held at the Kasugano International Forum in Nara, Japan.

1 - Closing Vico’s Loop: Addressing Challenges in Science and Society with Living Machines.  
Paul Verschure and Tony Prescott

2 - Bioprinting  


1 – Closing Vico’s Loop: Addressing Challenges in Science and Society with Living Machines

The Living Machines approach asserts that an important element of our science is to instantiate our theories of biological systems as embodied models or machines. The step of building a physical model helps us to explain the biological phenomena of interest, make predictions at multiple levels of description and control physical devices.  This strategy has many antecedents, but one that should be more widely known is the work of the 18th century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico who famously proposed that we can only understand that which we create. This workshop will explore how the path proposed by Vico can lead not only to better science (understanding), and useful engineering (new life-like technologies in form and function), but can also guide us towards a richer view of human experience and of the boundaries and relationships between science, engineering, and art.  Each of the contributions to the workshop will look at efforts to create physical model systems that close “Vico’s loop”— helping to understand our natural world whilst creating life-like artefacts with the potential for beneficial societal impact.

Reference: Formal Minds and Biological Brains II: From the Mirage of Intelligence to a Science and Engineering of Consciousnesssee Consciousness (2013) Verschure, Paul FMJ IEEE Intelligent Systems, 28(5), 35-8.


Tony Prescott, University of Sheffield,

Paul Verschure, ICREA and IBEC Barcelona,



9:30 -10:00 Registration and Welcome

10:00 -11:00 Minoru Asada, University of Osaka, Japan—Limits and future perspectives of a constructive approach to artificial minds

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 -12:30 Tony Prescott, Sheffield Robotics— Biomimetic robots as neuroscientific models and therapeutic tools

12:30-13:30 Scott Simon, UC Davis—From neutrophil biology to living micro-machines

13:30-14:30 Lunch

14:30-15:30 Tom Shibata, Kyutech—Assistive technologies

15:30-16:30 Takuya Umedachi, University of Tokyo, Japan—Soft-bodied caterpillar-like testbed developed with digital fabrication to close Vico’s loop

16:30-17:30 Paul Verschure, ICREA/IBEC— From brain science to the real-world and back: Vico’s loop as a strategy for impactful science

17:30-18:00 General Discussion




Bioprinting has been proposed as a technique to enable the fabrication of various soft robotics and other sorts of living systems and machines. Through the controlled deposition of cell-containing bioinks or silicones, micro-robots and other functional tissues can be fabricated. We will discuss how bioprinting and other bio-fabrication techniques can be utilized to fabricate these micro-robots and living tissues and how bioprinting can enable this future and mass production of these living constructs.




Talks and Hands-on

In this workshop Cellink will offer a Session on 3D bioprinting, offering participants to get hands-on experience with bioinks and bioprinting.

9:30 -10:00 Registration and Welcome

10:00 -13:00 “Introduction to Bioprinting
Patrick Thayer, PhD, Cellink

10:30 -11: 00 “What are Biomaterials

11:00 – 11:30 coffee break

11:30 -12: 30 “Trying different Bioprinting Protocols-Infill
                         Bioink calibration, Printability optimization, Multimaterial printing

12:30 -13: 30 Advanced printing: vasculature network printing

13:30 -14:00 General Discussion