Thomas Buhrmann

Research InterestsEducationExperiencePublications

Personal info

Position PostDoc
Email thomas.buehrmann AT gmail DOT com
Website Personal blog
Phone 0034987123654
Address EHU-UPV, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, Avenida de Tolosa 70, 20018 Donostia – San Sebastián


Thomas Buhrmann
My main research interest concerns the widespread assumption that skilled motor coordination is the result of homuncular computational control of the body by the brain. According to this robotics-inspired view, the complexities of the control problem (redundancy, feedback delays, noise, non-linearities) require the brain to build detailed internal models (forward and inverse) of the body “plant”. On the other end of the spectrum (synergetics, morphological computation, passive dynamics), it is becoming clear that the body itself might be structured such as to allow for self-organisation of useful motor patterns. My work explores the extent to which a particular embodiment allows for motor coordination to arise without the need for detailed internal models.

Find a short CV below. A more complete version can be found at linkedIn.

Research interests

  • Biological Autonomy
  • Non-linear dynamics and synergetics
  • Morphology and motor coordination


D.Phil. in Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence – University of Sussex

Thesis: “On the intrinsic control properties of muscles and reflexes: Exploring the interaction between neural and musculoskeletal dynamics in the framework of the equilibrium-point hypothesis”

M.Sc. in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems – University of Sussex

Thesis: “Model-free robot control. Incremental evolution of dynamic neuro-controllers for visually-guided movement”

B.Sc. in Cognitive Science – Universität Osnabrück

Thesis: “Cognitive aspects of 3d interaction in virtual environments”


2011 – Today: PostDoc – Ikerbasque Foundation

Based in the University of the Basque Country and part of the european project “Extending Sensorimotor Contingencies to Cognition

2007 – 2011: Lead Behaviour Engineer – NaturalMotion

Development of euphoria, the next-generation physical and adaptive character simulation technology.

2003 – 2006: Teaching Assistant and Webmaster

Assisted University of Sussex courses such as Adaptive Systems, Animal and Machine Intelligence, Formal Computational Skills and Non-Symbolic AI. Created and administrated website for the CCNR lab.

2001 – 2002: Research Assistant – Fraunhofer Institute

Programming of virtual reality environments and interaction for psychophysical experiments conducted in the Institute for Media Communication.



Buhrmann, T., & Di Paolo, E. A. (2014). Spinal circuits can accommodate interaction torques during multijoint limb movements. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 8, 144. doi:10.3389/fncom.2014.00144
Buhrmann, T., & Paolo, E. D. (2014). Non-representational Sensorimotor Knowledge. In A. P. del Pobil, E. Chinellato, E. Martinez-Martin, J. Hallam, E. Cervera, & A. Morales (Eds.), From Animals to Animats 13 (pp. 21–31). Springer International Publishing. Retrieved from
Di Paolo, E. A., Barandiaran, X. E., Beaton, M., & Buhrmann, T. (2014). Learning to perceive in the sensorimotor approach: Piaget’s theory of equilibration interpreted dynamically. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 551. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00551


Buhrmann, T., Di Paolo, E. A., & Barandiaran, X. E. (2013). A dynamical systems account of sensorimotor contingencies. Frontiers in Cognition, 4, 285. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00285


Izquierdo, E., & Buhrmann, T. (2008). Analysis of a dynamical recurrent neural network evolved for two qualitatively different tasks: walking and chemotaxis. In S. Bullock, J. Noble, R. Watson, & M. Bedau (Eds.), Artificial Life XI: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems (pp. 257–264). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved from


Frenz, H., Lappe, M., Kolesnik, M., & Buhrmann, T. (2007). Estimation of travel distance from visual motion in virtual environments. ACM Trans. Appl. Percept., 4(1). doi:10.1145/1227134.1227137


Buhrmann, T., & Paolo, E. (2006). Biological Actuators Are Not Just Springs. In S. Nolfi, G. Baldassarre, R. Calabretta, J. C. T. Hallam, D. Marocco, J.-A. Meyer, … D. Parisi (Eds.), From Animals to Animats 9 (Vol. 4095, pp. 89–100). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Retrieved from


Lappe, M., Frenz, H., Buhrmann, T., & Kolesnik, M. (2005). Virtual odometry from visual flow. Proceedings of SPIE, 5666(1), 493. doi:doi:10.1117/12.610863


Buhrmann, T., & Di Paolo, E. A. (2004). Closing the loop: Evolving a model-free visually guided robot arm. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems 9 (pp. 63–72). Presented at the Artificial Life IX, Boston, Massachusetts: MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.