IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

RAM Special Issues

Call for Papers

Special Issue on Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation

Important Dates
Deadline for Paper Submission: 10 November 2015
Review Completion and Acceptance Notification: February 2016
Final Submission: June 2016
Publication: September 2016

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

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)



Special Issue on Educational Robotics

Important Dates
Deadline for paper submission: 15 July 2015
First review: 30 September 2015
Final review: 20 January 2016
Publication: June 2016

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.

Although the ICT revolution (computers, Internet and other digital/online devices) is still struggling to find its way into schools in many countries, the number of educators, researchers and students interested in educational robotics is growing as well as the number of platforms available in the market.

However, there are still several grey areas surrounding the field of educational robotics, which make the role of robots in learning and teaching unclear. Among the main open issues are the lack of empirical evidence on the educational effectiveness of robotics, which is related to the lack of evaluation criteria and the difficulties in incorporating robotics activities in school curricula. This special issue seeks to address some of these questions by soliciting original and unpublished articles. Contributions can be theoretical or experimental studies. Descriptive paper telling experiences with robots in class or in informal educational contexts are also accepted provided they clearly address one of the topics of interest listed below. The special issue is open to any kind of robotic platform (self-constructed or commercial, open or closed), it is interested in the perspectives of learners (pupils, students, young people) as well as educators (teachers, tutors or parents) and it is not limited to any age groups (from nursery to university) or educational context (formal and informal).

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Benefits on cognitive functions or on other educational objectives
  • Evaluation methodologies for formal or informal settings
  • Innovative robotics curricula or integration of robotics in existing schools curricula
  • Robots can be also used to assist professional training for workers, e.g. for learning new jobs related in high-tech firms
  • Teaching/learning strategies and/or methodologies
  • Experimental evaluation of usability and acceptability of robotic platforms (hardware and/or software)
  • Effects on inclusion, with respect to learning disabilities, behavioural problems, difficult students, cultural integration)
  • Accessibility (costs, level of difficulties, safety certification, etc.) - Open source material: hardware and software
  • Topics taught
  • Experimental laboratory activities in educational robotics
  • Design criteria for educational robots
  • Innovative platforms, kit, etc.
  • Standards and benchmarking
  • Edutainment: competitions and other activities
  • The role of ethics in educational activities with robots
  • Professional training of adults
  • Future trends

Guest Editors:
Pericle Salvini, The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy
Ayorkor Korsah, Computer Science Department, Ashesi University College, Ghana
Illah Nourbakhsh, The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania

Proposing a Special Issue

 If you have an idea for a special issue please submit a proposal with the following details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Each Special Issue proposal (2-3 pages max) should typically include:A. A summary explaining the scope, maturity, and significance of the proposed theme in general, and also with specific reference to the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine (RAM) scope  (i.e. why do you expect the Special Issue will attract papers that fit well into RAM). This proposal may include a summary of what authors may reasonably be expected to submit papers, pointers at other publications or conferences that might constitute evidence of “maturity,” a list of people who might be invited to submit papers, and other similar material. The primary intent of this summary should be to provide the editorial team with a clear rationale for choosing this topic. One important aspect is to demonstrate that no other journals in the robotics and automation field are already running special issues on same or very similar topic. Authors of proposals should be cautioned against actually pre-inviting papers. B. A proposed call for papers (1 page) including the topic, a short rationale for the topic, and a proposed timeline (submission date for papers and the issue date) - dates, of course, may get modified before the call is published). The call for papers shall adequately take into account the RAM scope and the type of papers that are typically published on the magazine (real world robotics, deployment to application of basic findings, etc.) C. (Optional) Suggestions for who might edit the special issue. If the proposed Guest Editor(s) is an author of the proposal, a short bio-sketch should be included with the proposal, together with a listing of who else might be an appropriate choice. In any case, a short (1-2 sentence) explanation of why each candidate would be a good choice should be included.