Josef's research lies at the intersection of neurobiology, biomechatronics and robotics and explores how animals control movement. Josef is particularly interested in sensory-guided control of insect walking and the design of novel, bio-inspired controllers for six-legged walking machines. He takes an inter-disciplinary approach, combining methods from neurophysiology and behavioural physiology with robotic simulations and robotic hardware implementations.
Josef studied Chemistry and Biology at the University of Kaiserslautern. He received his PhD in 1985 from Bielefeld University for his work on motor control in stick insects in the Department of Biological Cybernetics. Josef continued his research in the department, first as a research fellow, then as associate professor after obtaining his habilitation in Zoology in 1993. He has since collaborated with several well renowned research groups studying insect, cat and crayfish locomotion (Keir Pearson, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Francois Clarac, CNRS Marseille, France; Sasha Zill, Huntington, USA). He was member of two expert boards for the development of VDI-guidelines in ‘Bionic Information Processing’ and ‘Bionic Robots’. Josef has collaborated with engineers in several national and international research programs to design and build bio-inspired robots, such as the EU project Embodied Motion Intelligence for Autonomous Cognitive roBots (EMICAB, FP7-ICT). At present he is a responsible investigator at CITEC.