IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

ICRA 2014 Award Recipients Announced

Congratulations to the following ICRA 2014 Award recipients! Winners were announced and honored during the RAS Awards Luncheon which took place on 4 June 2014 in Hong Kong.

awards luncheon medium

Best Associate Editor Award
Anya Petrovskaya - Stanford University, USA

Best Reviewer Award
Jens Kober - Bielefeld University, Germany
Dirk Holz - University of Bonn, Germany
Julia Borras Sol - Yale University, USA
Mehmet Dogar - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Best Pecha Kucha Award
Steven M. LaValle - University of Illinois, USA
Virtual Reality for Everyone!

Best Automation Paper Award
Self-Assembly of a Swarm of Autonomous Boats into Floating Structures
Ian O'Hara, James Paulos, Jay Davey, Nick Eckenstein, Neel Doshi, Tarik Tosun, Jonathan Greco, Jungwon Seo, Matt Turpin, Vijay Kumar, Mark Yim

Best Medical Robotics Paper Award
Automated Capsulorhexis based on a Hybrid Magnetic-Mechanical Actuation System
Franziska Ullrich, Simone Schuerle, Roel Pieters, Avraham Dishy, Stephan Michels, Bradley J. Nelson

ICRA Best Video Award
Agile Justin: An Upgraded Member of DLR's Family of Lightweight and Torque Controlled Humanoids
Berthold Bäuml, Tobias Hammer, René Wagner, Oliver Birbach, Ulrich Hillenbrand, Werner Friedl, Jörg Butterfass, FangYi Zhi, Thomas Gumpert, Stefan Beer

Best Cognitive Robotics Paper Award
Multi-Task Policy Search for Robotics
Marc Peter Deisenroth, Peter Englert, Jan Peters, Dieter Fox

KUKA Best Service Robotics Paper Award
Autonomous Active Recognition and Unfolding of Clothes Using Random Decision Forests and Probabilistic Planning
Andreas Doumanoglou, Andreas Kargakos, Tae-Kyun Kim, Sotiris Malassiotis

Best Manipulation Paper Award
Toward Parallel Continuum Robots
Caroline E. Bryson, D. Caleb Rucker

Best Vision Paper Award
Dense 3D Semantic Mapping of Indoor Scenes from RGB-D Images
Alexander Hermans, Georgios Floros, Bastian Leibe

Best Student Paper Award
Automated Microrobotic Characterization of Cell-Cell Communication
Jun Liu (Student Author), Vinayakumar Siragam, Zheng Gong, Jun Chen, Clement Leung, Zhe Lu, Changhai Ru, Shaorong Xie, Jun Luo, Robert Hamilton, Yu Sun

Best Conference Paper Award
Manipulation Strategy Decision and Execution based on Strategy Proving Operation for Carrying Large and Heavy Objects
Masaki Murooka, Shintaro Noda, Shunichi Nozawa, Yohei Kakiuchi, Kei Okada, Masayuki Inaba

Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge
Team ORION, University of Texas at Arlington, USA
Sandesh Gowda, Isura Ranatunga, Shweta Hardas, Dan Popa

Mobile Microrobotics – Assembly Challenge (co-Winners)
ETH, ETHZ, Switzerland
Roel Pieters, Simone Schuerle, Franziska Ullrich, Samuel Charreyron, Brad Nelson

UTA Micro-Robotics Team, University of Texas, Arlington, USA
Jiwan Ghimire, Sumit K. Das, Greg Martin, Dan Popa

Mobile Microrobotics – Mobility Challenge
Gilgueng Hwang, Antoine Barbot, Laurent Couraud

posted 14 July



RAS Sponsoring Luncheons at CASE2014

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society will host two member luncheons in conjunction with CASE2014, 18 -22 August in Taipei, Taiwan..

Women in Engineering (WIE) Luncheon
The Women in Engineering (WIE) Luncheon will take place on Wednesday, 20 August, from 12:00-13:00. The WIE luncheon provides an opportunity for all the female and male professionals who are interested in women's engineering education to discuss the subjects of career path, career/family choices, and other topics. There is a $5 USD registration fee to attend. Advanced registration is required.

To join WIE luncheon, please register HERE.

IEEE Student and Young Professionals Luncheon
The IEEE Student and Young Professionals Luncheon will take place on Thursday, 21 August, from 12:00-13:00. This luncheon offers Student and Young Professional members an opportunity to network with RAS leaders, and get advice and mentoring on their career and research. There is a $5 USD registration fee to attend. Advanced registration is required.

To join Student and Young Professionals Lunch, please register HERE.

posted 14 July



Conference Organizer Workshop to be held at ICRA!

It's not too late!

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 the 2014 RAS Panel of Conference Organizers (POCO) on Sunday 1 June, 9:00-14:00 in S230. 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 RAS Staff: Kathy Colabaugh

For more information see:

posted 26 May 2014



Fukuda elected to IEEE MGA position

Congratulations to IEEE RAS Administrative Committee member Toshio Fukuda, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.
He has been elected to serve as 2015 MGA Vice Chair - Strategic Management and Analysis/Chair, MGA Strategic Direction and Environmental Assessment Committee.

posted 1 July 2014



Call for Proposals to Organize ICRA 2019

The RAS Conference Activities Board (CAB) is seeking proposing for the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) organization in North or South America. CAB will give priority to proposals received prior to 15 August 2014, with the intention of discussing the different submissions at its September meeting in Chicago during IROS 2014. All proposers will be invited to discuss their proposal during this meeting. The final decision will be made after presentations at the next CAB meeting at ICRA 2015 in May.

Each proposal should be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and should contain the following material:

  • Location and plan
  • Organizers and write-ups about their backgrounds and interactions with RAS previously. At the minimum, include names and background of general Chairs, Program Chairs, Local Arrangement Chairs, Workshops and Tutorials Chairs, and Finance Chairs.
  • Description of available infrastructure (e.g., broadband Internet)
  • Nearby and/or onsite hotel capacities
  • Exhibits
  • Program discussion
  • Budget plan
  • Milestones
  • Signing a "contract" with RAS

For more information, please refer to

CAB members will be happy to answer questions by e-mail and phone. If you are planning to attend ICRA 2014 in Hong Kong, please feel free to contact members of CAB in person.

posted 23 May 2014



ANNOUNCEMENT 4th Biennial North American Summer School on Surgical Robotics

Dates: July 21-25, 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Co-Chairs: Dr. Cameron Riviere and Dr. Howie Choset, The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

This intensive one-week Summer School will provide trainees with lectures, hands-on laboratory experiences, and informal interactions to introduce them to the state of the art in this rapidly growing field. The school is designed for PhD and MD students, postdoctoral fellows, residents, and other early-career researchers in relevant fields. A limited number of seats will be available for trainees from outside North America.

Posters: All participants, especially doctoral students, are expected to present posters describing their research projects or interests.

Costs: We have received partial support for the school from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, the National Institutes of Health, Intuitive Surgical, Medtronic, Blue Belt Technologies, and the Disruptive Health Technology Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. To cover the remaining costs, a registration fee of $595 per student/postdoc will be charged, which will cover tuition, meals, and accommodation in University residences. A reduced fee of $292 is also available for attendees who do not require lodging or who prefer to make their own arrangements. All attendees are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from Pittsburgh. Additional reductions in fees are possible, pending additional sponsorships; any updates to the fee will be posted on the website. Application: To apply, please visit Applications should be submitted by June 15, 2014. The application process is designed to select the students who are most likely to benefit from attending the school while ensuring that the backgrounds and expertise of the attendees cover a broad range.

Confirmed Speakers:
Howie Choset, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
Paolo Dario, PhD, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa
Elena De Momi, PhD, Politecnico di Milano
Simon DiMaio, PhD, Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
Pierre Dupont, PhD, Children's Hospital, Boston
Umamaheswar Duvvuri, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Gregory Hager, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
Blake Hannaford, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle
Takeo Kanade, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
Sylvain Martel, PhD, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal
Allison Okamura, PhD, Stanford University
Michael Ost, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Rajni Patel, PhD, University of Western Ontario
Cameron Riviere, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena, PhD, Imperial College London
Nabil Simaan, PhD, Vanderbilt University
George Stetten, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon University
Russell Taylor, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

For more information, please contact: Cameron Riviere (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


posted 25 June 2014


ICRA to Host Challenge for Landmine Detection

Minesweeping is incredibly time-intensive and dangerous; it's estimated that over 20 thousand people lose their lives in mine-related accidents each year. With statistics such as this, it's no wonder robots haven't been used in mine detecting scenarios sooner. To build awareness and advance this technology, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) will be hosting the first ever Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC) to be held at ICRA 2014 (May 31-June 1). The Challenge aims to promote and develop new strategies for autonomous landmine detection and will be conducted virtually, with the physical robot situated in Coimbra, Portugal, so teams from around the world can participate.

For more information see:

posted 25 April 2014



Pioneering the Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC)

Robotics & Automation (R&A) Technologies have the potential to transform and improve the lives of people around the globe by addressing world's toughest challenges. The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society – Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS–SIGHT) is engaging the academic and non-academic community to propose viable solutions in R&A to address relevant world problems through the Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC). HRATC is an unprecedented opportunity for IEEE members from around the world to collaborate using their skills and education to benefit humanity. The problems (challenges) are framed with the environmental, cultural, structural, political, socio-economic and resource constraints so that solutions can be developed, deployed, and sustained. RAS–SIGHT is the first and only 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.


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 $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 first HRATC edition took place at the 2014 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA'14) in Hong Kong (and Coimbra, Portugal, remotely), and focused on promoting the development of new strategies for autonomous landmine detection using a mobile (ground) robot. HRATC'14 Organizers were Raj Madhavan (Chair, RAS-SIGHT, USA), Lino Marques (University of Coimbra, Portugal), Edson Prestes (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul , Brazil), and Prtihviraj Dasgupta (University of Nebraska-Omaha, USA). For more information on the Challenge and scope, see 14 teams submitted their entries and were progressively eliminated based on the stages of the Challenge.

HRATC'14 had three stages: simulation, testing, and Finals. For the simulation stage, a software framework that runs on Linux-based Operating System and uses ROS for communicating with both Gazebo simulator and real robot was developed. Using this framework, the teams were classified according to the performance of their strategy in a simulation scenario. The scoring metric was computed using several performance measures that included number of detected mines, number of exploded unknown mines, covered area, and coverage time. The best-ranked teams were then allowed to advance to the testing phase. In the testing phase, the teams ran their detection and classification strategies on a Clearpath Husky A200 robot in an outdoor arena covered by low grass, with few trees, ditches and surrogate mines. This robot was equipped with several sensors that include GigE cameras, SICK laser range finder, and three-coil pulse induction metal detector. Each team had three trials to evaluate and adjust their strategies. After three trials, four teams participated in the Finals at ICRA (on the same robot in Portugal) and were evaluated according to the scoring metric.

icra14 awardsluncheon teamorion

Team ORION of the University of Texas at Arlington, USA was declared as the grand winner. The second and third place finishers were Team Geeks of the Square Table (University of Bremen, Germany) and Team USMiners (University of Southern Mississippi, USA). Thanks to IEEE SIGHT sponsorship, the three best-ranked teams received a cash prize ($1000, $500, $250, respectively) together with a certificate and a plaque.

In the next HRATC edition that will take place at ICRA 2015 in Seattle, we will continue to refine the development of new strategies for autonomous landmine detection. Besides, RAS-SIGHT is currently investigating new challenges for the robotics and automation community. Additional information regarding challenges, deadline, and subscription for the next edition will be available from

The Challenge organizers thank Clearpath Robotics, Inc., the FP7-TIRAMISU project, RAS Competitions Committee, and RAS-SIGHT for their support and partnership in organizing HRATC'14. Special thanks are reserved for the tireless efforts of the Testing and Simulation Team members at the University of Coimbra and at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul: Gonçalo Cabrita, David Portugal, Bruno Gouveia, Vitor Jorge, Guilherme Franco, Renan Maffei, and Jose Baca Garcia from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

posted 19 June 2014



Call for Proposals - 2015 IEEE RAS Technical Education Program (Summer School)

In efforts to receive sufficient proposals from all Geographic Areas of RAS, the Deadline for 2015 Proposals has been extended to 1 May 2014

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 2015, Full sponsorship ($40,000) is available for for Area 2 (Europe, Africa, Middle East)

The review of summer school 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.

Techncial Education Program Proposal - on-line form

Deadlines for the submission of 2015 proposals:

Deadline Extended!: Now 1 May 2014!
Decision: 1 July 2014

posted 4 February 2014



2014 King-Sun Fu Memorial Award: Best Paper in the IEEE Transactions on Robotics – winner announced

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2014 King-Sun Fu Memorial Award. This award honors the best paper printed in the IEEE Transactions on Robotics in the previous year. The authors were presented their award during the RAS Awards Luncheon at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) on 4 June 2014 in Hong Kong.

"Robots Driven by Compliant Actuators: Optimal Control Under Actuation Constraints"
IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 1085-1101, 2013
David J. Braun, Florian Petit, Felix Huber, Sami Haddadin, Patrick van der Smagt, Alin Albu-Schäffer, Sethu Vijayakumar

posted 18 June 2014



IEEE RAS-SIGHT: Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World

Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World

23-24 October 2014, Coimbra, Portugal

Detection and removal of antipersonnel landmines is, at the present time, a serious problem of political, economical, environmental and humanitarian dimensions in many countries over the world.Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World is an international outdoor robotic competition on humanitarian demining that aims at motivating researchers and developers to work on innovative solutions for this serious problem.

The third edition of Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World is organized by Institute for Systems and Robotics, University of Coimbra under the auspices of IEEE RAS Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS-SIGHT). The competition is organized in collaboration with IEEE RAS Egypt Chapter and Hadath for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The competition is technically co-sponsored by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).

Competition Categories
•Minesweepers – Academia:  for undergraduate and postgraduate students where only metallic objects are available in the competition arena and landmine detection and minefield mapping are required.
•Minesweepers - Juniors:  for elementary and high school students where only metallic objects are available in the competition arena and only landmine detection is required.
•Minesweepers – Industry: for professional companies where metallic and non-metallic objects with different dimensions and profiles are available in the competition arena and landmine detection, landmine imagining and minefield mapping are required.

Important Dates
•Registration deadline: 15 May 2014
•Eligibility Round (technical report and short video): 1 July 2014
•Notification of Acceptance: 15 July  2014
•Classification Round: 1-2 September 2014
•Final Round: 3 September 2014

For more information, please visit