Science of Soft Robots – Interdisciplinary integration of mechatronics, material science, and bio-computing

IEEE ICRA 2020 Workshop: Beyond Soft Robotics: Pioneer Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Date and Time:

Full-day, on 31st May, 2020.


Soft robotics is a strongly interdisciplinary branch of robotics where synergies from chemistry, material science, biology and mathematics merge to develop new robotics design principles. In the last decade, large research projects on soft robotics have been undertaken worldwide with unprecedented results in the form of new actuators and sensors, new mobile platforms, new kind of grippers, and novel modelling approaches. Soft robotics has reached a sufficient degree of maturity that it is now time to address the question of what will be the next steps in soft robotics and how interdisciplinary collaborations will contribute in shaping this evolution. In this workshop, two different types of talks will be designated to provide a frame for discussion on the future of soft robotics. One type is “Pioneers’ Perspective Talks” where established pioneers in soft robotics will provide their vision on the future soft robotics from various thematic perspectives. The second type, “Interdisciplinary Collaborative Talks”, will focus on examples of successful joint research projects to demonstrate the positive impact of cross-discipline and cross-cultural fertilization in soft robotics. The insightful vision and innovative collaboration examples presented in this workshop will shed light on the future directions of soft robotics.


9:00-9:10 Opening & Introductory talk by the organizers
The organizers will explain the purpose, contents and schedule of the workshop.

9:10-9:50 Pioneer’s perspective talk 1
Koichi Suzumori (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan): Future soft actuator based on E-kagen engineering. (Confirmed)

9:50-10:15 Interdisciplinary collaborative talk 1 (by the Organizers):
Vito Cacucciolo (EPFL, Switzerland) & Shingo Maeda (Shibaura Inst. Tech, Japan): A stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots (Confirmed)

10:15-11:00 Coffee break and demo session

11:00-11:25 Interdisciplinary collaborative talk 2:
Subramanian Sundaram (Boston University & Wyss Institute, Harvard University, USA) & Petr Kellnhofer (MIT, USA): Learning the Signatures of the Human Grasp using a Scalable Tactile Glove (Confirmed).

11:25-11:50 Interdisciplinary collaborative talk 3 (by the Organizers):
Francesco Giorgio-Serchi (U. Edinburgh, UK) & Hiromi Mochiyama (University of Tsukuba): A pulsed pump by snap-through actuation (Confirmed)

11:50-13:20 Lunch Break

13:20-14:00 Pioneer’s perspective talk 2
Gregory Chirikjian, John’s Hopkins University: Mathematical Modeling of Soft Robots (Confirmed)

14:00-14:25 Interdisciplinary collaborative talk 4:
Cosimo della Santina (MIT, USA) & Ryan Truby (MIT, USA): Control theory for soft robots (Confirmed).

14:25-14:50 Interdisciplinary collaborative talk 5 (Open Invitation):
A selected paper resulting from a successful research collaboration will be presented.

14:50-15:15 Second coffee break and demo session

15:15-15:55 Pioneer’s perspective talk 3:
Herbert Shea (EPFL, Switzerland): Future Soft Transducers (Confirmed)

15:55-16:20 Interdisciplinary collaborative talk 6 (Open Invitation):
A selected paper resulting from a successful research collaboration will be presented.

16:20-17:00 Pioneer’s perspective talk 4:
Jonathan Rossiter (University of Bristle, UK): Future Soft Robot Applications (Not yet confirmed)

17:00-17:30 Wrap up and Closing by the organizers.


Hiromi Mochiyama (University of Tsukuba, Japan)

Shinichi Hirai (Ritsumeikan University, Japan)

Vito Cacucciolo (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland)

Francesco Giorgio-Serchi (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Shingo Maeda (Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan)


IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Soft Robotics

JSPS KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (2018-2022), Japan.