RAM Special Issue Call for Papers

Special Issue on Open Source and Widely- Disseminated Robot Hardware
IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine (RAM)

The open-source movement has already revolutionized a number of industries by empowering end-users to contribute to the products that they need and want, and fueling grass-roots development of projects in completely new areas, as well as their continual improvement. While there have been innumerable successes in software and electronics hardware, open mechanical hardware is taking longer to catch on, in large part due to the complexity and expense associated with fabricating mechanical systems. However, rapid fabrication technologies have improved to the point of being able to produce parts that are strong, robust, and precise enough for practical robotic systems and the many of these machines are available in fabrication facilities at most universities. With these and other technologies, users can more easily fabricate and improve upon open-source mechanical hardware without requiring large commitments in terms of cost, time, and domain expertise. This special issue seeks a collection of papers that address topics in open mechanical robot hardware, including issues related to design, fabrication, and dissemination, among others. Lessons learned in both development and in operation are pertinent to the discussion. Experimental results are strongly encouraged.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
- Novel open hardware for research, education, or commercial applications that has been specifically developed for easy and widespread fabrication, assembly, customization, and/or repair
- Projects that combine substantial mechanical hardware with open software/electronics hardware
- Research results that strongly rely on open mechanical hardware, such as performance results
- Novel fabrication techniques that facilitate open hardware fabrication and dissemination

Additionally, it is suggested that papers include, in addition to technical content, discussion of challenges and lessons learned as a result of their efforts in open-source or widely-disseminated research hardware such that researchers can learn from them for future efforts. Topics that do not speak to issues specific to open-source mechanical
hardware are out of scope, including:
- Projects that are entirely or largely based on open-source software or electronics hardware 
- Mechanical hardware that is not open, such as commercial hardware
Traditional mechanical hardware that has not been designed specifically for easy implementation (e.g. requiring extensive machining) is likely to be out of scope (even if the designs have been made publically available), unless there is strong evidence of wide-spread adoption/implementation and provides insight for other open-source hardware efforts.

Authors of prospective papers are encouraged to send an abstract or description of the work to the special issue editors to discuss its relevance to the SI scope.

Timeline
* 1 April 2016 - Submission deadline
* 15 July 2016 - End of first review round and author notification
* 15 November 2016 - Final decisions made
* 1 December 2016 - Final manuscripts due
* March 2017 - Issue in print

Guest Editors
Aaron Dollar (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - YaleUniversity
Giorgio Metta (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - Italian Institute of Technology
Francesco Mondada (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - EPFL
Alberto Rodriquez (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - MIT

Complete details here: http://www.ieee-ras.org/publications/ram/ram-special-issues/special-issue-on-open-source-and-widely-disseminated-robot-hardware

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