The 2015 IEEE RAS Summer School on Experimental Methodology, Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking in Robotics being held in Benicasim, Spain on 14-18 September is open for registration.  

For more visit:

The IEEE-RAS Technical Committee on Performance Evaluation & Benchmarking of Robotic and Automation Systems (TC PEBRAS) has organized a Summer School as part of the IEEE RAS Technical Education Program. As the complexity of robotic and intelligent systems grows, it is more and more necessary to adhere to sound experimental approaches and benchmarking procedures. It is of fundamental importance that the next generation learns good experimental, performance evaluation and benchmarking methods as part of their technical education.

IEEE graduate students will have a unique training opportunity in these important topics. Students will closely interact for one week with some of the top-level researchers in the world relevant to this domain. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their research work with them.

Aims and scope

Participants will learn how to implement approaches with exhaustive experimental methodology and apply appropriate benchmarking procedures to compare the actual practical results with reference to standard accepted procedures; how experimental results can be replicable and refutable on the one hand, and quantitatively comparable according to community-endorsed metrics, on the other hand. At the end, a student should be able to provide an educated response tob the following questions:
- How research should be performed and reported in order to allow result replications
- How should competitions be designed in order to maximize their contribution to robotics research and the industrial exploitation of results
- To which extent and for measuring which functionalities and capabilities are benchmarks useful and possible
- Which balance of result replication, benchmarking, challenges and competitions would allow a more objective evaluation of results and consequent objective assessment of the state of the art in the various subfields of their domain of research

Posted 15 July 2015



The IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine is issuing a call for papers for a special issue on Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation.  

Soft robotics and morphological computation are two recent exciting trends in robotics that are expected to provide novel approaches and high-impact applications. The use of soft and deformable materials in robotics system is crucial to deal with uncertain task and environments such as locomotion in rough terrains, grasping and manipulation of unknown and unstructured objects. Soft robots can be characterized by elastic and deformable bodies, a large number of degrees of freedom, the use of unconventional functional materials, and the involvement of intrinsic passive dynamics. All of these properties could provide significant advantages to adaptability of robotic systems if they are treated properly. The research field of morphological computation, on the other hand, explores the concepts and theories of computation in physical systems, where we investigate how motion control processes can be distributed over informational and physical dynamics. It has been previously shown that, by properly designing the dynamics, physical systems such as soft robotic grippers can benefit from simplified control architectures and improved overall performances. The special issue of “Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation” in IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine (IEEE-RAM) aims to summarize the state of the art of soft robotics and morphological computation research areas, and to provide a venue for the fruitful collaborations between these two research fields. The desired outcome of this special issue is to develop a general consensus about the scientific goals, perspective and challenges of the two research fields, as well as high impact applications.

We invite review/position papers of topics related to soft robotics, morphological computation and the intersection between the two fields.
The topics include but not limited to:
• Artificial skin and stretchable sensors and electronics
• Bio-inspired or biomimetic robots based on passive dynamics and unconventional materials
• Continuum robots, flexible robots, reconfigurable robots
• Functional materials, morphologies, and assembly for adaptive robotic systems
• Modeling and simulation of soft bodied robots and structures
• Natural computation, unconventional computation for adaptive robotic systems
• Physical human-robot interactions based on soft technologies
• Wearable robotics

Deadline for Paper Submission: 10 November 2015 - EXTENDED TO 1 December 2015
Review Completion and Acceptance Notification: 28 February 2016
Final Submission: June 2016
Publication: September 2016

Guest Editors
Fumiya Iida (University of Cambridge), Cecilia Laschi (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna), Dario Floreano (EPFL), Robert Wood (University), Surya Nurzaman (Monash University), Andre Rosendo (University of Cambridge)

Posted 30 June 2015
Edited 2 November 2015



Congratulations to the following ICRA 2015 Award Recipients! Winners were announced and honored during the RAS Awards Luncheon which took place on 28 May 2015 in Seattle, (WA) USA. The complete list of Recipients and Finalists, with photos, is available here.

cover small





Best Associate Editor Award
Eric Diller, University of Toronto, Canada
Paolo Robuffo Giordano, CNRS, Irisa/Inria Rennes, France

Best Reviewer Award
Renaud Detry, Université de Liège, Belgium
Andrej Gams, Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia
Hedvig Kjellstrom, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Raul Suarez, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain

Best Paper Awards

ICRA Automation Best Paper
Design, Modeling and Control of a Modular Contactless Wafer Handling System
Bassem Dahroug, Guillaume J. Laurent, Valérian Guelpa, Nadine Le Fort-Piat

ICRA Cognitive Robotics Best Paper Award
Grounding Spatial Relations for Outdoor Robot Navigation
Abdeslam Boularias, Felix Duvallet, Jean Oh, Anthony Stentz

ICRA Medical Robotics Best Paper Award
An Ankle-Foot Prosthesis Emulator with Control of Plantarflexion and Inversion-Eversion Torque
Steven H. Collins, Myunghee Kim, Tianjian Chen, Tianyao Chen

ICRA Robot Manipulation Best Paper Award
Learning Contact-Rich Manipulation Skills with Guided Policy Search
Sergey Levine, Nolan Wagener, Pieter Abbeel

ICRA Robot Vision Best Paper Award
Work Smart, Not Hard: Recalling Relevant Experiences for Vast-Scale but Time-Constrained Localisation
Chris Linegar, Winston Churchill, Paul Newman

ICRA Service Robotics Best Paper Award
RoboSherlock: Unstructured Information Processing for Robot Perception
Michael Beetz, Ferenc Balint-Benczedi, Nico Blodow, Daniel Nyga, Thiemo Wiedemeyer, Zoltan-Csaba Marton

ICRA Best Student Paper 
Grasping without Squeezing: Shear Adhesion Gripper with Fibrillar Thin Film
Elliot Wright Hawkes, David Christensen, Amy Kyungwon Han, Hao Jiang, Mark Cutkosky

ICRA Best Conference Paper
Observability, Identifiability and Sensitivity of Vision-Aided Inertial Navigation
Joshua Hernandez, Konstantine Tsotsos, Stefano Soatto


Amazon Picking Challenge
Organizers: Pete Wurman and Joe Romano, Kiva Systems
In recognition of teams that demonstrate the best automated item picking.
1st Place - $20,000
Team RBO, TU Berlin, Oliver Brock
2nd Place - $5,000
Team MIT, MIT, Alberto Rodriquez Garcia
3rd Place - $1,000
Team Grizzly, Dataspeed Inc. & Oakland University, Paul Fleck

Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge
Organizers: Raj Madhavan, Lino Marques, Edson Prestes, Prithviraj Dasgupta
Winner: Team NUS: National Univ.of Singapore, Singapore

Humanoids Application Challenge 
Organizers: Kayla Kim and Jinwook Kim, ROBOTIS CO
In recognition of the team that demonstrates the most creative application of humanoid research.
Winner: Team Snobots, University of Manitoba

Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 1
Autonomous Mobility & Accuracy Challenge
In recognition of the team with the most accurate trajectory traversals
Winner: University of Hawaii, Manoa (Sammy Khamis, Edward Nerad, Leanne King, Caralyn King, Aaron Ohta)

Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 2
Microassembly Challenge
In recognition of assembling the most micro-scale components in a micro channel
Winner: ETH Zurich (Samuel Charreyron, Janis Edelmann, Andrew Petruska, Franziska Ullrich, Chengzhi Hu, Hen-Wei Huang, Qi Zhang, Erdem Siringil, Roel Pieters, Bradley J. Nelson)

Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 3
MMC Showcase & Poster Session
In recognition of the most innovative mobile micro-robotic system
Winner: UVT Romania, University Valahia of Targoviste (Ioan Alexandru Ivan, Florin Dragomir, Valentin Gurgu, Nicolae Radulescu, Mihaela Ivan)


posted 11 June 2015



The IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine is set to publish a special issue on Educational Robotics in June 2016.  Currently, there is a call for papers with a deadline for submission of 15 July 2015. 

The scope of this special issue is to advance knowledge in the field of robotics applied to formal and informal education. The idea of robots as educational tools goes back to the late 60s, when Seymour Papert formulated the theory on learning called “constructionism”, which points out the relevant role played by artefacts in the learning process. Educational robotics broadly refers to the use of robots for educational purposes. There are several ways in which robotics and robots have been employed in educational activities: from object of study to medium that facilitates the transfer of knowledge and even companion, in which the robot performs the role of tutor or peer during the learning process. 

Complete details are available at

Posted 17 April 2015.



At the IEEE Technical Activities Board Meeting Series held in January 2015, the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society (RAS) received approval to launch a new periodical. Under the name, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), the first issue is planned for January 2016.

The scope of this journal is to publish peer-reviewed articles that provide a timely and concise account of innovative research ideas and application results, reporting significant theoretical findings and application case studies in areas of robotics and automation.

The primary goal of RA-L is to better serve the RAS membership and the robotics and automation community at large, which has strongly increased in number and productivity, by providing more capacity for high quality, fully reviewed journal papers. Additional goals of RA-L are to provide a publication process that is complementary to the existing evolutionary process from RAS conferences into journal papers and to improve the efficiency of the peer-review process.

RA-L will publish papers reporting on innovative ideas and unpublished results that need to be rapidly published. To this purpose, RA-L will provide a final decision on manuscripts within six months from submission. Papers will be six pages long, with at most two extra pages allowed at a charge, and will allow open-access for those authors who require it. The review cycle will follow the highest standards of IEEE periodicals. Each paper will be assigned to a Senior Editor, hence to an Associate Editor and at least two independent reviewers. The review process may also include a fast revise-and-resubmit process, upon which the Letters Editorial Board (LEB) will make a final decision. Finally, accepted papers will be electronically archived on IEEE Xplore, and will be available for early access by readers only few days after submission of the final version, while an edited and XML-tagged version for searching and indexing will be available soon after. RA-L is an electronic-only journal.

A unique feature of RA-L is the opportunity for authors to publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal and present the same paper at the flagship conference of RAS: the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). While submission to RA-L is open throughout the year, indeed, there will be a time window during which authors will have an option for their submission to be also considered for presentation at the following ICRA. This year, the window is between 1 July and 31 August 2015 for ICRA 2016.

Further details on the process to submit to RA-Letters will be available in the coming weeks.

Posted 7 April 2015



A Discipline-Specific Workshop is being sponsored by CRA-W and the Coalition to Diversify Computing affiliated with ICRA 2015. Student travel scholarships available for U.S. students.

The goal of this workshop is to introduce students to the exciting research area of robotics and to provide students currently doing research in robotics with valuable career-building information. Robotics is a very unique field that requires applied engineering, basic science, and strong creativity. The integration of these three areas often proves challenging. Despite this challenge, robots are becoming ubiquitous tools for many daily tasks including manufacturing, package delivery, and in home assistance. In order to prepare the next generation of robotics researchers, this workshop will address several discipline-specific challenges of robotics and strategies to overcome these challenges including the integration of hardware and software and multi-disciplinary integration required.

Undergraduate and graduate students are the primary audience of this workshop. Scholarships will be available to fund travel and attendance. Underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.

Application Deadline:
11 April 2015 at 11:59 pm PDT

The scholarship announcements are expected to be made by 18 April 2015.

The application is available at:

Workshop webpage

For additional information, please contact:
Cindy L. Bethel, Ph.D.
Mississippi State University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


posted 6 April 2015



Will you be organizing a Conference in the coming months? Are you considering organizing a conference? Then, this Workshop is for YOU!

RAS will host a Conference Organizers Workshop at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2015) on Wednesday afternoon, 27 May from 13:30-17:30. Get answers to your questions about the organization, requirements, logistics, technical program and finances of conferences, both large and small. Speak with the experts for advice on how to make sure your conference is executed flawlessly!

Space is limited, so we encourage you to register as soon as your availability is confirmed.

Please register for this FREE workshop on-line:

Presenters to include:
RAS Associate VP - Conference Finance: Paolo Fiorini
RAS Associate VP - Conference Operations: Torsten Kroeger
RAS Treasurer: Ron Lumia
IEEE Conference Expert: Alicia Zupeck
IEEE Meetings, Conferences and Events: Julie Amodeo
IEEE RAS Staff: Kathy Colabaugh

For more information see:

posted 18 March 2015



Each year, the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society offers financial support for three Technical Education Programs (RAS-TEP), formerly Summer Schools. In efforts to bring RAS closer to its membership, these programs rotate though the Americas, Europe and Asia and Pacific.

The RAS-TEP program is jointly run by the Member Activities Board (MAB) and the Technical Activities Board (TAB). The program is intended to sponsor or co-sponsor up to three summer schools per year around the world. One of the three summer schools will be fully sponsored by RAS to a level of $40,000, and it will rotate annually through RAS' three geographical regions in a round robin fashion. The other two summer schools will be cosponsored with interested organizations in the other two geographical regions up to a level of $20,000 each. In 2016, Full sponsorship ($40,000) is available for for Area 3 (Asia, Pacific)

The review of Technical Education Program proposals is based on assessments from two different viewpoints, the first one with respect to the general structure, including organizational matters and budget, and the second one with respect to the technical content. Suited Technical Committees (TCs) of the RAS have to endorse the proposal. 

RAS Technical Committee List

RAS Technical Education Programs are designed to directly benefit RAS Student Members. At least 50% of the attendees should be RAS members, and will receive support through TEP funding.

Techncial Education Program Proposal - online form

Deadlines for the submission of 2016 proposals: 1 May 2015
Decision Notification: 1 July 2015

posted 10 March 2015



Call for Papers: IEEE Transactions on Robotics
Special Issue on Movement Science for Humans and Humanoids: Methods and Applications
Paper Submission deadline: 1 August 2015

Over the past three decades, computationally efficient techniques for the analysis, simulation, and optimization of articulated bodies have been developed by the robotics and mathematical communities. With recent advances in computational power and improved algorithms, these techniques are being applied to increasingly complex structures like the human body. More generally, the use of robotics formalisms for quantitative human motion analysis and synthesis is enabling new applications in, e.g., medical diagnosis, monitoring and feedback during rehabilitation and sports training, animation, ergonomic analysis and design, and improved rehabilitation and assistive robots and devices. At the same time, methods initially developed for human motion analysis in other fields like biomechanics, neuroscience, computer graphics, and computer vision are increasingly being used in robotics, in topics ranging from human-robot interaction to imitation learning.

This special issue seeks submissions describing novel work synthesizing multidisciplinary techniques for human and humanoid motion analysis, synthesis, and control.

Topics of interest include:
- Kinematic and dynamic modeling and analysis of the human body
- Dynamic parameter estimation and optimum experimental design
- Optimal control of human and humanoid motions
- Inverse optimal control for identification of objective functions during human motor control
- Motion recognition, segmentation, modeling, and analysis
- Quantitative analysis methods for rehabilitation and sports training
- Robotics techniques for animation
- Neuromuscular control
- Musculoskeletal dynamics
- Rehabilitation robotics
- Human motion analysis and understanding for imitation learning and human-robot interaction
- Human-inspired control algorithms for robots
- Model-predictive control for movement science
- Human movement informing the design and control of assistive devices, exoskeletons and prostheses
- Robotics-based motion synthesis

Contributions must have a central connection to robotics; pure psychomotor or biomechanics studies are outside the scope of this special issue. Interested authors are encouraged to contact the special issue editors with an abstract of their paper to confirm that their submission is within the scope of the special issue.

Abstracts should be sent via email toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call for Papers: 1 March 2015
Deadline for Initial Paper Submission: 1 August 2015
Decisions for First Round Review: 15 October 2015
Deadline for Revised Paper Submission: 15 December 2015
Target Publication Date: February or April 2016

Guest Editors:
Dana Kulic, University of Waterloo
Katsu Yamane, Disney Research
Gentiane Venture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Emel Demircan, University of Tokyo/Stanford University
Katja Mombaur, University of Heidelberg

posted 9 March 2015

Outdoor robotic competition on humanitarian demining
19-21 August 2015, Antofagasta, Chile

Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World is the first international outdoor robotic competition on humanitarian demining. It aims at raising the public awareness of the seriousness of the landmines and UXOs contamination and fostering robotics research and its applications in the area of humanitarian demining in the world. In this competition, each participating team constructs a teleoperated/autonomous unmanned ground/aerial vehicle that must be able to search for underground and aboveground anti-personnel landmines and UXOs. The position and the type of each detected object are visualized and overlaid on the minefield map. The robot must be able to navigate through rough terrain that mimics a real minefield.

The fourth edition of Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World is organized by Universidad Catolica del Norte (Catholic University of the North) in conjunction with The 6th International Conference on Computing and Informatics in Northern Chile (INFONOR-Chile 2015).

Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World is organized in collaboration with IEEE Robotics and Automation SocietyEgypt Chapter (2015 IEEE RAS Chapter of the Year Award and 2012 Chapter of the Year in IEEE Region 8) and Hadath for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The competition is technically co-sponsored by IEEE RAS Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS-SIGHT). It is supported by Executive Secretariat for the Demining & Development of the North West Coast, Mines Action & Human Rights Foundation and Protection against Armaments & Consequences and African Robotics Network (AFRON).

The ultimate goal of the Minesweepers competition is to put into practice the new strategic mission of IEEE, " foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity" and to serve as an educational and a research forum to provide efficient, reliable, adaptive and cost-effective solutions for the serious problem of humanitarian demining in many affected countries in the world. The competition also motivates the participants to create new companies and industries geared towards minefield reconnaissance and mapping technologies. Moreover, the applicability of the robotic systems presented in this competition can be extended to a wide range of other applications such as security and surveillance, search and rescue, health monitoring of civil infrastructure, pipeline monitoring, and environment monitoring.

Competition Registration: 1 Feb to 15 Mar 2015
Video Submission Phase: 3 July 2015
Notification of Acceptance: 15 July 2015
International Competition:19-21 Aug 2015

For more information, please visit:

posted 6 March 2015

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