IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

RAS E-News March 2007

Volume 5, Number 3

Welcome to RASeNews, the IEEE RAS email newsletter. RASeNews is limited to short announcements of RAS Conferences, RAS society 'action items', breaking news, and time-sensitive issues. Send comments, queries and news items to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


1. RAS WIKI is up and running!

The new RAS Webpage now has its own WIKI, which already contains news of employment and research oppportunities, BoF groups meeting in Rome, at ICRA2007, workshops, tutorials, special sessions and other events at ICRA, and information about an Open Source Grand Challenge. The RAS WIKI is open to the public to view, but only registered RAS members may post. If you have not already registered on the new webpage, send your name and IEEE number to the RAS Administrator, who will register you and send you login information. Please note: This is DIFFERENT from the login info for the IEEE webpage. The RAS WIKI has been developed as a joint effort of the RAS Electronic Products and Services Board (Stefano Stramigioli, chair) and the Student Activities Board (Surya Singh) with the assistance of our invaluable web designer, Olaf van Zandwijk. They will all be at ICRA and welcome your suggestions. DEFINITIONS (for those who are neither Gen X, Gen Y or the Millennium Generation) WIKI: "The simplest online database that could possibly work. Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser.

2. One Month Til ICRA07 Roma

Preparation of ICRA'07 is proceeding smoothly. As of 10 March (deadline for advance registration), more than 1200 have registered, for a record in the ICRA history. A special panel event on Thursday 12 April from 17:20 to 18:30 has been finalized. It will focus on the "Future of Robot Operating Systems" and will be co-chaired by Ken Goldberg and Bruno Siciliano. The panelists will be Tandy Trower from Microsoft Research, who will present the new Robotics Studio, to be followed by Herman Bruyninckx (KU Leuven and new EURON Coordinator), Gian Paolo Gerio (Comau Robotics), Hirohisa Hirukawa (AIST) and Paolo Pirjanian (Evolution), who will spark the discussion about the issues/ implications of the new product, and solicit Q&A from the audience. Besides the three plenary talks, and the full three-day parallel technical sessions, the program is completed by two days of interesting workshops and tutorials, to which 350 people have already registered. 25 exhibitors will display the latest technologies and publications in the field. All details about the program, workshops and tutorials, social events, last-minute accommodation and local information that can be found on the web site Attendees are reminded of the cool "My Program" feature available in Paperplaza, which helps planning one's schedule. Another new feature of ICRA is the Activities Wiki where you can find additional information posted by RAS Members.

3. Web Survey on the Use of Robots Capable of Lethal Force in Warfare

The Mobile Robot Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology is undertaking an opinion survey on the Use of Robots Capable of Lethal Force in Warfare. This important research project, under a grant from the Army Research Office, seeks to find out how acceptable the use of such military robots is to people like you*. People of all nationalities are invited to participate. This is an on-line survey that can be completed at your leisure, from your home or workplace, and won't require any interaction with others. The survey is privacy-protected and voluntary, and any personal information you may provide will be used for research purposes only. Your participation is very important to us, because this is the only way we can obtain your opinions on this matter and your input will be greatly If you are interested in participating, and would like your voice to be heard, please turn to the following website, which contains further directions: Alternatively, you can contact the survey administrators for further information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . * You must to be least 18 years old to participate.

4. RAS Online Member Directory

The RAS webpage now has an online member directory. It currently contains about 300 officers, committee chairs and other active volunteers, but will soon include all RAS members. RAS members can login to obtain contact information for their colleagues, edit their own personal profiles and set privacy levels as they desire. The RAS login and password may be also used to enter postings on the RAS wiki. IMPORTANT: The RAS website uses a different login and password from the IEEE web account. Members will be notified when the directory is complete, but if you wish to register now, Contact the Society Administrator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

5. The RAS webpage now has an online member directory.

VP Technical Activities Ken Goldberg encourages RAS Technical Committees and other interest group to set up informal 'Birds of a Feather (BoF) meetings. Use the RAS WIKI ( to help organize and publicize your group.

6. RAS 5 Year Review

The final report from the IEEE-Technical Activities Board (TAB) Society Review Committee on RAS has been completed and approved, with a number of favorable reports about RAS. Each IEEE Society, Council, and Publication undergoes a review every five years which covers every aspect of the entity's organization and operations, both financial and technical. The RAS publications received their reports from the IEEE TAB earlier this year and also received many compliments.

7. RAS Open Forum

All RAS members, especially those who would have questions or suggestion about how the society operates are encouraged to attend the Open Forum at ICRA on Wednesday, April 11, at 18:20 (after sessions) in Aula Minor, The Angelicum.

8. Conference Software Questionnaire

The Steering Committee for Technical Programs (SCTP) is circulating an on-line questionnaire to authors, reviewers, and program committee members for ICRA 2007 regarding their experiences in using the conference software system Paperplaza. A similar questionnaire was circulated to participants of IROS 2006 for the START V2 conference software system. The goal is to recommend a consistent choice of conference software for every ICRA, in view of the services offered by the software, satisfaction by users, and cost considerations.

9. Conference Imminent Deadlines

-IROS (29 Oct-2 Nov, San Diego CA USA) March 29 -ICMA (5 Aug-8 Aug, Harbin China) April 1 -IEEE CASE (22 Sep -- 25 Sep, Scottsdale AZ) April 30 -MMAR (27-30 August, Szcezecin, Poland) March 19 -ICAR (21-24 August, Jeju, Korea) March 18

10. RAM Special Issue Call

We are pleased to invite you to submit an article to the upcoming Special Issue of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine on the topic of the Design, Control, and Applications of Real-World Multi-Robot Systems. Our intent is to use this Special Issue to highlight experimental results of innovative work in the field of multi-robot systems. We welcome articles from any application area and across the domains of land, sea, air, and space. A full copy of the Call for Papers can be found on the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society web site at: The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2007. Guest editors:Chris Kitts, Santa Clara University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Magnus Egerstedt, Georgia Institute of Technology, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.