The sixth IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics - BioRob 2016 - is a joint effort of the two IEEE Societies of Robotics and Automation (RAS) - and Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS). BioRob covers both theoretical and experimental challenges posed by the application of robotics and mechatronics in medicine and biology. The primary focus of Biorobotics is to analyze biological systems from a "biomechatronic" point of view, trying to understand the scientific and engineering principles underlying their extraordinary performance. This profound understanding of how biological systems work, behave and interact can be used for two main objectives: to guide the design and fabrication of novel, high performance bio-inspired machines and systems for many different applications; and to develop novel nano, micro-, macro- devices that can act upon, substitute parts of, and assist human beings in prevention, diagnosis, surgery, prosthetics, rehabilitation and personal assistance.

The 2016 Edition will be held 26-29 June 2016 in Singapore.

New Final Extension:
To address many requests we have received for an extension due to busy schedules, we are delighted to be able to extend the final deadline one last time by more than one month to 1 March 2016 for student competition papers and 4 March 2016 for regular papers. Please note that after this date we will not be able to accommodate any further extensions.

Late Breaking Announcement:
IEEE BioRob 2016 announces an exciting student paper and poster competition. There will be 3 major awards and 7 consolation prizes awarded to 7 students and post-doctoral fellows. The awardees will receive cash prizes, financial support for participating in the conference, as well as academic recognition to be publicized through the sponsoring IEEE EMBS and RAS societies.

Deadline for submission of student papers has been extended to 1 March 2016. Submitted papers will be judged and finalists announced before the conference, and awards will be given out at the Conference.

For more information see:

posted 19 Janaury 2016

Don't delay! Nominations are due 31 January 2016 for the 2017 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation. This is the most prestigious award presented by the IEEE in the field of robotics and automation and includes a medal and a $US 10,000 honorarium. IEEE TFAs are awarded for contributions or leadership in a specific field of interest of the IEEE and are among the highest awards presented on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.

Visit for a description of the award criteria and instructions on submitting a nomination.

The 2016 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation will be presented to Raffaello D'Andrea "For pioneering contributions to design and implementation of distributed, cooperative robotics and automation systems for commercial applications." The presentation will take place at the Award Ceremony held during ICRA 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden from 16-21 May 2016.

posted 11 January 2016



As 2015 is drawing to a close, we would like to wish all of our Members and Friends best wishes for the Holiday Season, and for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!


2015 ExCom at IROS

A huge special thanks must be given to the following RAS Officers serving on the 2015 Executive Committee (ExCom). They have worked tirelessly to provide additional benefits and services to RAS members and the industry:
l-r: Raj Madhavan, Satoshi Tadokoro, Antonio Bicchi, Jing Xiao, Kevin Lynch, Oussama Khatib, Raja Chatila, Fumihito Arai, Nancy Amato, Tony Maciejewski, Ron Lumia, Paul Oh




2015 AdCom at IROS

And we must also heartily thank those serving on the 2015 RAS Administrative Committee (AdCom). Without their dedication and commitment, RAS would not be one of the leading IEEE Societies!
l-r: Toshio Fukuda, Hong Zhang, David Orin, Martin Buss, Yashushi Nakauchi, Danika Krajic, Bill Hamel, Wolfram Burgard, Hong Qiao, Seth Hutchinson, Dong-Soo Kwon, Max Meng, Kazuhito Yokoi, Brad Nelson, Zhi Dong Wang, Richard Vaughan, Ning Xi, Jianwei Zhang
not pictured: Lauren Miller, Lydia Kavraki


posted 30 December 2015



IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine

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.

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 - Yale University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Giorgio Metta - Italian Institute of Technology, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Francesco Mondada - EPFL, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Alberto Rodriquez - CMU, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Complete details at

posted 21 December 2015



Ning Xi will serve as RAS President Elect 2016-2017. During the 3 October meeting in Hamburg, Germany, the RAS Administrative Committee elected Xi to serve as President Elect under the incoming president, Satoshi Tadokoro and to assume the Society presidency in January 2018. He is an IEEE Fellow and has served RAS on the Administrative Committee, and as past Chair of ICRA 2014, IROS 2009 and AIM 2005. 

Ning Xi received his D.Sc. degree in Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA in 1993. Currently, he is a University Distinguished Professor, the John D. Ryder Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Robotics and Automation Laboratory at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA. He is a Fellow of IEEE. Dr. Xi's extensive experience in research and teaching comprise robotics and automation, in particular in the areas of control and planning for robotic systems, nano robots and manipulations, telerobotics, and manufacturing automation. Dr. Xi is a recipient of the Best Paper Award in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) and the Best Transactions Paper Award from IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. Dr. Xi was the first to receive the Early Academic Career Award by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society in 1999.

posted 16 December 2015



Congratulations to the following RAS Members - elevated to Fellow grade, effective 1 January 2016!


2016 RAS Fellows evaluated by the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society:

Alin Albu-Schaeffer
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Technical University Munich, Germany
"for contributions to compliant and lightweight robots"

Tatsuo Arai
Osaka University, Japan
"for contributions to micro manipulators and sensors, and applications to cellular biology"

Chun-Hung Chen
George Mason University, (VA) USA
"for contributions to simulation-based optimization of automation systems"

Wan Kyun Chung
Pohang Univ. of Science & Technology, South Korea
"for developments in robust control theory for mechanical systems"

Qiang Huang
Beijing Institute of Technology, China
"for contributions to the design and control of biped robots"

Danica Kragic
Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
"for contributions to vision-based systems and robotic object manipulation"

Domenico Prattichizzo
Universita di Siena, Italy
"for contributions to haptics and multi-fingered robotic hands"

Stergios Roumeliotis
University of Minnesota, (MN) USA
"for contributions to visual-inertial navigation and cooperative localization"

Il-Hong Suh
Hanyang University, South Korea
"for contributions to the design and control of redundant and multiple-arm robot systems"


2016 RAS Fellows evaluated by other IEEE Societies:

Evaluated by the IEEE Control Systems Society:
Michael Branicky
University of Kansas, (KS) USA
"for contributions to switched and hybrid control systems"

Evaluated by the IEEE Control Systems Society:
Warren Dixon
University of Florida, (FL) USA
"for contributions to adaptive control of uncertain nonlinear systems"

Evaluated by the IEEE Control Systems Society:
Wei Ren
University of California- Riverside, (CA) USA

"for contributions to distributed coordination and control of multi-agent systems"

Evaluated by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society:
Gabor Fichtinger
Queens University, (ON) Canada

"for contributions to medical robotics and computer-assisted intervention"

Evaluated by the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society:
Armando Colombo
Schneider Electric Automation GmbH, Germany

"for contributions to industrial cyber-physical systems"

Evaluated by the IEEE Systems, Man & Cybernetics Society:
Zhiwu Li
Xidian University, China

"for contributions to Petri nets and their applications to automated manufacturing systems"

Evaluated by the IEEE Signal Processing Society:
Dinei Florencio
Microsoft Research, (WA) USA

"for contributions to statistical and signal processing approaches to adversarial and security problems"


posted 10 December 2015



To reduce financial burden on authors and members, increase consistency, and to clarify distinctions between the two Transactions and the new RA-Letters, the page overlength policy will be revised as follows:
For IEEE Transactions on Automation Science & Engineering (T-ASE) and IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO) papers submitted after 20 November 2015, there will be no overlength charges for the first 12 pages of Regular papers nor the first 6 pages of Short papers. Overlength charges will apply to any pages between 13-20 of Regular papers and to pages 7 or 8 of Short papers. T-ASE and T-RO Regular papers cannot exceed 20 pages and Short papers cannot exceed 8 pages.

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Letters (RA-L) overlength policy is the same as that for Short Transactions papers above.

For the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine (RAM), there are no overlength charges for the first 9 pages but page charges will apply to any pages between 10-16.


posted 1 December 2015

Deadline EXTENDED: 14 December 2015

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society is seeking applications for the Member Activities Board's Student Activities Committee (SAC). There are three available positions; one Chair and two co-Chairs. These positions are a great opportunity to learn more about the Society, have an international impact, and expand one's professional network. The chair will serve for two calendar years (2016–17), and the co-chairs for one-year term in 2016 and renewable for a second year.

SAC LogoIf you wish to be considered, please send the following information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 15 November 2015.
1. A letter indicating why you are interested in serving on the SAC board (2 pages maximum)
2. A copy of your CV or resume (2 pages maximum)
3. A letter of support from a faculty member at your college or university, who is a member of IEEE RAS.

For more information on the SAC and current activities, refer to the webpage or email Lauren Miller, 2014-2015 SAC Chair at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

updated 20 November 2015


The next challenge will be held at ICRA 2016, in Stockholm, Sweden, May 2016.

Description Papers due 14 December 2015

According to the UN Mine Action Service, landmines kill 15,000-20,000 people every year (mostly children) and maim countless more across 78 countries. Demining efforts cost US$ 300-1000 per mine, and, for every 5000 mines cleared, one person is killed and two are injured. Thus, clearing post-combat regions of landmines has proven to be a difficult, risky, dangerous and expensive task with enormous social implications for civilians. Motivated by these considerations, the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS SIGHT) is inviting the academic and non-academic community to participate in the third Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC) at the 2016 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2016).

Following on the footsteps of the success of the HRATC Challenge that was held at ICRA 2014 in Hong Kong and ICRA 2015 in Seattle, this HRATC edition will continue to focus on promoting the development of new strategies for autonomous landmine detection using a mobile (ground) robot. The Challenge will take place in three phases: 1) Simulation Phase, 2) Testing Phase, and 3) Challenge Phase. The strategies developed by the participating teams will be objectively and quantitatively evaluated according to the following criteria: exploration time and environmental coverage; detection and classification quality; and landmine avoidance. Teams will be progressively eliminated after each phase and the remaining teams would move on to the next phase culminating in the Challenge (Finals) phase at ICRA 2016.

All teams will use the same robot, called FSR-Husky, that will be available before (for remote practice runs) and during the Challenge. Furthermore, participants will have access to a ROS-based simulator to develop and test their code before testing it remotely on the real robot.

How To Participate in the Challenge
All potential participants should submit a paper (1-2 pages) in the standard IEEE format including figures that describes the motivation and previous experiences/research (if any). The organizers will then evaluate this paper and an acceptance notification containing further steps would follow. All submissions should be sent to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>. The Challenge will take place remotely in Coimbra, Portugal, and beamed in real time to the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre during ICRA 2016. Necessary logistics and travel support will be provided depending on the number of qualifying teams.

More details on HRATC 2014 and HRATC 2015 can be found at and, respectively, and from following summary published in the IEEE-RAS Robotics and Automation Magazine (RAM):
2015 Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge by Madhavan, R.; Marques, L.; Prestes, E.; Maffei, R.; Jorge, V.; Gil, B.; Dogru, S.; Cabrita, G.; Neuland, R.; Dasgupta, P. IEEE-RAS Robotics and Automation Magazine, Sept. 2015.

The IEEE RAS SIGHT is the first IEEE Society to have a SIGHT! The mission of RAS-SIGHT is the application of robotics and automation technologies for promoting humanitarian causes around the globe, and to leverage existing and emerging technologies for the benefit of humanity and towards increasing the quality of life in underserved, underdeveloped areas in collaboration with existing global communities and organizations. To engage the international community in these causes, RAS-SIGHT has been organizing Challenges and funding small projects centered on humanitarian causes.

See for more details.

The Challenge organizers thank the FP7-TIRAMISU project ( and Clearpath Robotics, Inc. for their support and partnership in organizing HRATC 2016.

Congratulations to the six RAS members elected by the membership to serve a three-year term beginning 1 January 2016. We wish the newly elected members of the Administrative Committee success and thank all candidates for their willingness to serve and for permitting their names to be included on the ballot.

AdCom Members Elected at Large:

antonelli pic1 1

Gianluca Antonelli
University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy



Peter Corke
Queensland University of Technology, Australia


AdCom Member from RAS Geographic Area 1 (the Americas):

Bill Hamel

Bill Hamel
University of Tennessee, (TN) USA


AdCom Members from RAS Geographical Area 2 (Europe, Africa, Middle East--IEEE Region 8):


François Chaumette
Inria Rennes, France



Carme Torras
Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC) Barcelona, Spain


AdCom Member from RAS Geographical Area 3 (Asia, Australia, Pacific Rim):


Max Q.-H. Meng
Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China


 posted 9 November 2015





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