All workshops will be held on the same day, April 14, 2019

Morning session: 9:00am ~ 13:00pm, with synchronized coffee break (10:30am ~ 11:00pm)
Afternoon session: 14:00pm ~ 18:00pm, with synchronized coffee break (16:00pm ~ 16:30pm)
WS1 (Full-day): Toward the Nature of Information Processing in Soft machines: Bridging Flexible Electronics and Morphological Computation

WS1 Website
Organizer Abstract

Kohei Nakajima
The University of Tokyo

Fumiya Iida
University of Cambridge

Koichi Suzumori
Tokyo Institute of Technology

Animals adapt to their changing environments with their soft bodies. Their ability to exploit their flexible bodies and their outsourcing of the functionality of the control to their deformable morphologies are referred to as “morphological computation.”
Conventional robotic systems are mechanically static, and they are unable to change their bodies to levels that are satisfactory for flexibility to achieve the adaptability and intelligence that is comparable to animals. In response to this situation, soft technologies are currently being studied simultaneously in different fields and many notable attempts have been reported worldwide. For example, various flexible sensors that do not damage the natural dynamics of the soft body have been reported. In addition, the body morphology can be designed using a novel three-dimensional printing technique, which works with soft materials. By integrating these soft technologies with morphological computation, we expect that the science of soft robots will further prove its potential to generate novel application domains. This workshop will focus on the recent advancement in material sciences, flexible electronics, and morphological computation, and provides an opportunity for active discussion about the state of the art technologies to take place, as well as for the sharing of common views about future challenges.

WS2 (Full-day): Soft Robots Design, Development, and Manufacture - Insights from Industrial Applications

WS2 Website
Organizer Abstract

Stephen T. Mahon
The University of Edinburgh

Benjamin Shih

Michelle C. Yuen
Purdue University

Michael T. Tolley

Adam A. Stokes
The University of Edinburgh

Soft robotics represents a new paradigm in terms of mechanics, control and power supply compared to traditional hard robotics. The potential for these systems is being explored where traditional industrial robots are unsafe for delicate interaction. Many innovative solutions have been developed in recent years to design soft systems; we have seen promising results in the areas of sub-sea manipulation, automation, and rehabilitative robotics. The impact of this technology has the potential to transform our work for the better.
In this workshop, we bring together the soft robotic community to talk about design, development, and manufacture from an industrial standpoint. We draw upon the cumulative knowledge and experience of academia and industry to highlight the future needs and potential applications of soft robotics and the gaps in translating lab-based demonstrations into real-world application. The field of soft robotics is in its infancy, and as we move towards realizing the industrial potential of this technology, we will need new design tools, control and instrumentation paradigms, and manufacturing processes that will allow soft robotics to thrive in the future.

WS3 (Full-day): Morphological Computation through Physical Adaptation of Soft Robots

WS3 Website
Organizer Abstract

Josie Hughes
University of Cambridge

Fumiya Iida
University of Cambridge

Perla Maiolino
University of Oxford

Thrishantha Nanayakkara
Imperial College

Matteo Cianchetti
Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Biological systems show an incredible ability to flexibly and dynamically adapt. This is achieved through their ability to change their mechanical bodies by growing, morphogenesis and self-healing. It can also be achieved by augmenting their bodies through tool-useage or tool creation. This approach is seen in nature, for example birds and insects use tools to find food and plant systems can rapidly reconfigure their structure to adapt to changing light conditions. These changes allow the emergence of behaviors to enable survival. Some of the computation is offload from the brain or controller to the physical body, such that the physical body is controlling some of the complex environmental interactions. To enable adaptivity and intelligence which is comparable to animals, robots must show physical changes which enables some of the computation to be offloaded to the physical body. Soft robots demonstrate the compliance necessary to achieve these physical adaptations making them uniquely positioned to take advantage of these approaches. Although this is a significant technological challenge, soft robots have already provided notable demonstrations of growing, morphing and self-healing behaviors. In this workshop we will address how soft robotics can leverage morphological computation to achieve the highly flexible and adaptive behaviors.

WS4 (Full-day Tutorial): DEFROST Platform: Modeling, Simulation and Control of Deformable Robots on SOFA Framework

WS4 Website
Organizer Abstract

Christian Duriez

Hugo Talbo
SOFA consortium

Damien Marchal

Alexandre Kruszewski

Olivier Goury

Eulalie Coevoet

Felix Vanneste

DEFROST (DEFormable RObotics SofTware) is a research team (Inria / University of Lille in France) that develops a platform based on SOFA that gathers algorithms for modeling, simulation and control of soft robots.
SOFA is based on Finite Element Methods and provide state-of-the-art solution to compute deformations and multi-contact response with friction in real-time. These last years, the DEFROST team built on this framework to provide a new numerical platform dedicated to the community of soft robotics. These tools are made freely available to the community for research purposes.
This tutorial is designed to provide a step-by-step approach, on a concrete robot to learn how to use our platform.

WS5 (Full-day): Aquatic Soft Robots

WS5 Website
Organizer Abstract

Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado

Markus Nemitz
Harvard University

Giuseppe Suaria
Institute of Marine Sciences

Simona Aracri
University of Edinburgh

The extraordinary and vastly unexplored capabilities of soft robots are attracting researchers from deeply heterogeneous branches. Marine soft robots place themselves in a niche hot topic with huge potential and vast applications. The workshop will focus on two fundamental yet not codified aspects of marine soft robotics: fabrication and application. On the fabrication side, sub-sea robots face the common challenges of terrestrial soft robots, e.g. minimizing the number of controls for infinite degrees of freedom, unconventional manufacturing, and untraditional materials. Marine robots also have to face the unfamiliar underwater environment. More over in salt water the materials currently used in the fabrication of soft robots degrade at a different rate when compared to the terrestrial environment. Sub-sea robots also experience fast bio-fouling, which does not constitute a problem on land, given the same time scale. Useful applications in the underwater sphere have the potential to revolutionise ocean sciences and marine engineering. The discussion will swing between current fabrication techniques and applications. The workshop aims to provide a definition of a common ground between marine and robotic sciences, define shared challenges and open a dialogue to define future direction of the fascinating marine soft robots research.

WS6 (Half-day): Eversion and Growing Soft Robots

WS6 Website
Organizer Abstract

Kaspar Althoefer
Queen Mary U of London

Jelizaveta Konstantinova
Queen Mary U of London

Barbara Mazzolai
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

Helge Wurdemann
University College London

This workshop provides an opportunity to discuss, and share ideas related to development and application of eversion and growing soft robots. Recent years have seen a surge in interest in creating soft robots, offering a high level of dexterity and being inherently compliant. A range of animals, such as the octopus, as well as plants that physically adapt to their environments have inspired researchers when creating soft robots. These robots are broadly superior to their traditional rigid-body counterparts and are ideal candidates to operate in constraining environments that require adaptation of their shapes to their surroundings.
Growing and eversion robots are a blend of soft robots that extend their length significantly to reach into difficultto-access spaces. Living organisms such as growing plants often inspire these kinds of robots. Research and industrial communities acknowledge that these features of eversion and growing robots have immense potential and are critical for applications in extreme environments.
This workshop aims to engage the soft robotic community into challenges associated with creation of soft growing manipulators. The workshop discussion will focus on the following core areas related to eversion and growing robots: (1) challenges in fabrication and manufacturing, (2) actuation and control, and (3) application areas