IROS 2018 Workshop on Shape Changing Robotic Structures and Interfaces

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at the 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Madrid, Spain on 5 October 2018

This workshop brought together and encouraged collaboration between communities interested in soft robotics, reconfigurable mechanisms, human-computer interaction, haptics and beyond. Live demonstrations were shown!

Our workshop had >50% invited female speakers! #ResearchExcellence

The event was supported by

academy-of-medical-sciences-logoSpringboard award of the Academy of Medical Sciences (grant number: SBF003\1109)


Frontiers Research Topic – Submit your full paper NOW!


Shape-changing robotic structures and shape-changing interfaces (as known in the Human-Computer Interaction community) are transforming systems that physically change shape exploiting 21st century robotics, including soft robotics, reconfigurable mechanisms, but also hinges on research areas such as modelling, control and material science. The design and fabrication process makes use of elements found in the field of reconfigurable mechanisms or soft material robotics or in a combination of both. Change in physical geometry can add new capabilities to these systems making them ideal for application in areas such as healthcare, production, homecare, autonomous vehicles and for interfaces with computers and machines.

Discussions at the seminar will be based around three key themes: (1) The technologies involved in shape-change, including soft, modular and reconfigurable robotics, smart materials, and actuation systems; (2) the design of shape-changing systems, including their key application areas, and their industrial and interaction design; and (3) current and future application areas. We will explore the synergies that will arise from bringing together soft and reconfigurable robotics and identify the advantages that these shape-changing robotic structures and interfaces bring to different areas of application. We believe that the true power of shape changing systems can be magnified many-fold by bringing together those different fields of science. Through coordination of research, we can reach further and faster resulting in an acceleration of research.


09:00 – 09:15: Welcome Message, Dr Anne Roudaut and Dr Helge Wurdemann
09:15 – 09:35: Shape-changing interfaces in HCI, Dr Anne Roudaut
09:35 – 09:55: Frontiers of soft robotic structures, Prof. Kaspar Althoefer
09:55 – 10:15: Reconfigurable robotics, Prof. Jamie Paik’s researcher
10:15 – 11:00: Q/A and panel discussion with Profs Althoefer, Paik and Dr Roudaunt

Morning coffee break

11.30 – 11.45: Shape change in growing soft robots, Prof. Allison M. Okamura
11.45 – 12.00: M-Blocks Modular Robotics, Prof. Daniela Rus
12.00 – 12.40: Submitted contribution I: Teasers for live demos/posters

12.40 – 13.30: Interactive session

Lunch break

14.30 – 14.45: Artificial robotic “skin” made of hundreds of small hexagonal cells, Prof. Gordon Cheng
14.45 – 15.00: Soft robotics for minimally invasive surgery, Prof. Arianna Menciassi
15.00 – 15.15: Human-machine Interaction for autonomous vehicles, Dr Bani Anvari
15.15 – 15.40: Submitted contribution II: Teasers for live demos/posters

15.40 – 16.30: Round table discussions


roudautDr Anne Roudaut
University of Bristol, UK


Helge Wurdemann - UCL - web

Dr Helge Wurdemann
University College London, UK


Sanja Dogramadzi

Prof. Sanja Dogramadzi
Bristol Robotics Lab, University of the West of England, UK


Jamie Paik

Prof. Jamie Paik
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland


Lining Yao

Prof. Lining Yao
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA


Audrey Girouard

Prof. Audrey Girouard
Carleton University, Ontario, Canada


Ali-alazmani-370x370 new

Dr Ali Alazmani
University of Leeds, UK



Prof. Kaspar Althoefer
Queen Mary University of London, UK



Dr Pete Culmer
University of Leeds, UK



Sean Follmer

Prof. Sean Follmer
Stanford University, Stanford, USA


Van Ho

Dr Van Ho
Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Nomi, Japan



Professor Jonathan Rossiter
University of Bristol, UK