Special Issue on Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation

Introduction 

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. 

Topics 

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

Important Dates

10 November 2015- Deadline for Paper nSubmissio
February 2016- Review Completion and Acceptance Notification 
June 2016- Final Submission
September 2016- Publication

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)

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