ICRA 2015 Workshop

Soft Robotics: Actuation, Integration, and Applications

Blending research perspectives 

In room 613/614

2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)


The emerging field of soft robotics holds great promise for bringing robots into all aspects our daily lives, especially areas previously forbidden to rigid robots. This workshop will analyze how promises of soft robotics can be fulfilled, broadly benefiting society. To address translation of soft robotics research, the first part of the workshop will ponder actuators and use of novel materials and the second, integration and applications.

The rise of soft actuators has caused the community to reevaluate motion generation from the ground up. New research directions emerge from novel materials: dielectric elastomers, carbon nanotube yarn and self-healing materials. New actuator technologies and fabrication approaches will bring about better force-speed operating points, variable impedance, more convenient form factors, and actuators without transmission mechanisms.

Growth of academic soft robotics research naturally occasions greater technological adoption. Integrating sensing and control will make soft actuators amenable to emerging industries. Softness in robotics can manifest itself by virtual and material approaches. Applications of soft robotics include wearable robotics, surgical robots, micromanipulation, search and rescue, and others.

The ultimate goal of the workshop is to point the way forward for “real world” soft robots by answering: “Where and how can soft robots outperform rigid robots?”

Important Dates:

Full-day Workshop: Date: May 30th, 2015

Poster abstracts and Live Demos submission deadline: March 2, 2015 March 11, 2015 (Extended Deadline!) Submissions Closed

Notification of acceptance: April 1st, 2015


  • Novel implementations of active and self-healing materials
  • Manufacturing processes for non-traditional actuators
  • Organization according to biological principles/ Bio-inspired soft mechanisms
  • Actuators whose stiffness and damping can be reconfigured in situ
  • Combining diverse technologies in a single actuation device
  • Autonomous soft robots
  • Wearable soft robots
  • Artificial skin and stretchable electronics
  • Physical human-robot interactions
  • Modeling of soft-bodied robots
  • Simulation of hyper-elastic bodies
  • Design of compliant mechanisms
  • Soft manipulation
  • Soft locomotion
  • Control of elastic soft robots
  • Robotic fabrics
08:30 Welcome and Workshop Agenda / Introduction
08:35 1 Cecilia Laschi Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Soft robotics: from research challenges to applications
08:55 2 Fumiya Iida University of Cambridge Variable stiffness and damping actuators
09:15 3

Bram Vanderborght


Vrije Universiteit Brussel Using self-healing materials for soft actuators

Preview for Poster Session 1  (each presenter has 3 minutes)

10:00 coffee break + poster session
10:30 4 Hyouk Ryeol Choi Sungkyunkwan University Applications of Dielectric Elastomers
10:50 5 Conor Walsh Harvard University Next generation soft wearable robots
11:10 6 Alin Albu-Schaffer DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics Variable Compliance Actuation for Robust and Energy Efficient Actuation
11:30 7 Yong-Lae Park Carnegie Mellon University Multi-material soft structures
11:50 8 Kyu-Jin Cho Seoul National University flexural buckling actuators
12:10 lunch break
13:30 9 Yigit Menguc Oregon State University Anatomy of Soft Robotics
13:50 10 Joshua A. Schultz The University of Tulsa Softness, Discretization, and Integration: Three Hallmarks of Muscle-like Actuators
14:10 11 Kaspar Althoefer King’s College London Soft and Stiffness-controllable robots for keyhole surgery

Preview for Poster Session 2  (each presenter has 3 minutes)

15:00 coffee break + poster session
15:30 12 Michael Tolley University of California, San Diego  
15:50 13 John Amend Empire Robotics The Versaball jamming gripper
16:10 14 Peter Whitney Disney Research Pittsburgh Rolling diaphragm soft actuators

Preview for Poster Session 3 (each presenter has 3 minutes)

17:00-17:30 coffee break + poster session

Poster Presentations

Session 1 Wang Michael Yu National University of Singapore A Dielectric Elastomer Balloon Actuator
1 Federico Renda KURI institute, Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Locomotion and Elastodynamics Model of an Underwater Shell-like Soft Robot
1 Seppe Terryn Vrije Universiteit Brussel Investigation of soft pneumatic actuators, constructed entirely out of self-healing polymers
1 Patrick Stelzer, Werner Kraus Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Kinematic Examination of an Upper Limb
Exoskeleton for Load-Carrying Augmentation
1 Dylan Drotman University of California San Diego Multiple Degree of Freedom Pneumatic Actuation for an Untethered Soft Robotic Quadruped
1 Van Anh Ho Ryukoku University Multimodal Flexible Sensor toward a Humanoid Robotic Skin 
1 Raphael Furnemont Vrije Universiteit Brussel MACCEPA design based on torsion spiral spring
1 Erik H. Skorina Worcester Polytechnic Institute Modeling and Control of a Two Degree of Freedom Joint Actuated by
Three Soft Pneumatic Actuators
1 Lee-Huang Chen University of California at Berkeley Soft Robots Using Compliant Tensegrity Structures and Soft Sensors
Sesssion 2 Huichan Zhao Cornell University Scalable Manufacturing of High Force Wearable Soft Actuators
2 Surya G. Nurzaman Monash University Malaysia A Jamming Gripper Based Solution for Sausages Packing in Food Industry
2 Ken Caluwaerts NASA Design and Simulation of Compliant Tensegrity
Robots for Planetary Exploration
2 Houman Dallali Italian Institute of Technology A Comparison Study on Link Control of
Elastic Joint Robots
2 Marco Vinicio Villalva Lucio Saltillo Campus Mexico Dexterous Dynamic Optimal Grasping and Pose Regulation of a
Dynamic Circular Object using Redundant Soft-fingertips with Rolling
2 Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Modeling and Control of Soft Body Underwater Fin Locomotion
2 Alexandre Brincalepe Campo Instituto Federal de São Paulo Hybrid Soft-Rigid Robot Leg Analysis
2 Raphael Bachega SENAI Roberto Simonsen A Soft Valve Design Using a Soft Robotic Toolkit
2 Jaeyeon Lee University of Texas at Dallas A new design for a flexible needle with high and multiple curvatures
Session 3 Chiara Lucarotti The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna A multilayer soft artificial skin for embodied tactile feedback
3 Glenn Mathijssen Vrije Universiteit Brussel Design of a Series-Parallel Elastic Actuator with self-closing and cylindrical cam mechanism
3 Efe Yamac Yarbas Boğaziçi University On the Design of a Continuum Robot with Extendable Balloons
3 Igor Gaponov KoreaTech (Korea University of Technology and Education) Twisted String Actuators in Wearable Robotics: Applications and Challenges
3 Jian Zhu National University of Singapore Development of Soft Robots using Dielectric Elastomer Actuators
3 Robert Katzschmann  Massachusetts Institute of Technology Autonomous Object Manipulation using a Soft Robot
3 Robert MacCurdy Massachusetts Institute of Technology Printable Hydraulics
3 Shuguang Li Massachusetts Institute of Technology Jumping-bouncing Locomotion of a Soft-bodied Robot


Steering committee

Asst. Prof. Yigit Menguc - School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering - Oregon State University

Asst. Prof. Joshua Schultz - Department of Mechanical Engineering - The University of Tulsa

Asst. Prof. Michael Tolley - Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - University of California, San Diego

Prof. Bram Vanderborght - Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Applied Sciences - Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Program Committee

Prof. Choi Hyouk Reol - School of Mechanical Engineering - Sungkyunkwan University, Korea

Prof. Cecilia Laschi - The BioRobotics Institute - Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Univ. Lect. Fumiya Iida - Department of Engineering - University of Cambridge

Asst. Prof. Jamie Paik - Institute of Mechanical Engineering - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Dr. Surya Girinatha - Bio-inspired Robotics Lab - ETH Zürich

Dr. Laura Margheri - The BioRobotics Institute - Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna