IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

Special Issue on Open Source and Widely Disseminated Robot Hardware

Special Issue on Open Source and Widely-Disseminated Robot Hardware

Important Dates

Submission Deadline: 15 April 2016 
End of First Review Round and Author Notification: 15 July 2016 
Final Decisions Made: 15 November 2016 
Final Manuscripts Due: 1 December 2016
Publication: March 2017

Introduction

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.

Guest Editors

Aaron Dollar (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – Yale University
Giorgio Metta (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – Italian Institute of Technology
Francesco Mondada (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - EPFL
Alberto Rodriquez (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – MIT

Special Issue on Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation

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

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

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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RAM Submission Procedures

The IEEE Robotics & Automation magazine handles only electronic submissions of papers through the RAM Papercept site at the address http://ras.papercept.net/journals/ra-mag/scripts/login.pl.

Manuscripts should be original, previously unpublished work, and not simultaneously under consideration for publication elsewhere. The material, if accepted, should be properly available for general dissemination to the readership. It is the responsibility of the authors, not the IEEE, to determine whether disclosure of their material requires the prior consent of other parties and, if so, to obtain it. If authors make use of charts, photographs, or other graphical or textual material from previously published material, the authors are responsible for obtaining written permission to use the material in the manuscript.

The IEEE and the Robotics & Automation magazine support the evolutionary publication paradigm, in which early versions of a work may have appeared in conferences. Submission of expanded/improved material from previous conference papers is allowed, provided that the sources are indicated during the submission procedure, they are explicitly cited in the manuscript, and that differences/changes/additions are discussed in the text of the paper. If the copyright holder of the conference paper is not IEEE, authors should also be aware of potential copyright infringement in case of major overlapping with the submitted paper.

Prepare your paper in the form of a self-contained pdf file (with the extension .pdf).  The maximal file size is 2 MB.

  • Follow the link Log in and log in with your PIN (or Login alias) and password. See the section PIN and Login Alias if you do not have a PIN and password.
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  • On your Access page, follow the linkSubmit a new paper to IEEE-RAM.
  • Choose the kind of submission and follow the menus.  For a special issue, choose the appropriate Guest editor in the submission page. In all other cases submit to the Editor in Chief.
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  • After successfully submitting the paper you will receive an acknowledgement by e-mail
  • You may expect to see the status of your paper change over time from "Received" to "Under review" and eventually to "Decision pending." You may also update your contact information whenever necessary.

Information for Reviewers

Following an email invitation by a member of the Editorial Board to review a paper for the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine (RAM), you will be directed by a link to the appropriate page and review form in Papercept. Here, you can accept to review the paper or decline. In the latter case, you may indicate the name of an appropriate reviewer. Providing this suggestion is very much appreciated.

RAM does not use double-blind review. The reviewers are never known to the authors, but the authors are always known to the reviewers. In this way, the paper does not hide relevant aspects (e.g., references to other papers by the same authors) that may be helpful for a balanced and fully informed review.

The paper review procedure of RAM involves a recommendation prepared by the Associate Editor on the basis of peer reviews. The final decision on publication, sustaining or modifying this recommendation, is taken by the Editor-in-Chief.

Please respect the deadline. As an author, you undoubtedly appreciate the importance of minimizing delays.

In your review please keep in mind that RAM is a magazine not a transactions, and this implies that:

  • Lack of novelty or contribution does not disqualify an article
  • RAM accepts articles based on the technical interest of the content and the quality of exposition.
  • RAM is not a venue for short or poor journal style articles.

Please provide detailed comments to the authors to support your recommendation. The following points are suggested for your comments:

  • Is the paper clearly written and well organized?
  • Is this a magazine style article or more of a transactions paper?
  • Is the paper likely to be of interest to RAM’s 10,000 readers?
  • Does the introduction state the purpose of the paper?
  • Does the paper describe a working robot system?
  • Are the references relevant and sufficient? Supply missing references. For RAM the ideal is 20 or fewer references.
  • If the paper is not technically sound, why not?
  • If the paper is too long, how can it be shortened? For RAM the ideal is 8-10 magazine pages which is less than 8 pages in the T-RO template.

Please supply any information that you think will be useful to the author for a revision, for enhancing the appeal of the paper, or for convincing him/her of the weak points or mistakes.

Do not identify yourself or your organization within the review text. The reviewer's recommendation for acceptance or rejection should not be included in the comments to the author.

In your critical comments to author, please be specific. If you suggest that the paper be rewritten, give specific suggestions as to which parts of the paper should be deleted, amplified or modified, and please indicate how.

If the paper has a multimedia attachment (typically, a video clip), please comment on this too. Is it consistent with the paper content? Does it enhance the paper quality? If it is a video, how is the technical quality? Is it free of commercialism?

If you feel that additional material (equations, graphs, tables, etc.) needs to be included in your review, you can attach a pdf file to your review. Please, mention in your comments to the author that you have prepared a pdf file with such material. Some reviewers are used  to attach to the review an annotated/bookmarked version of the paper PDF, to indicate things such as spelling errors or similar. However, the current software we use for removing the identity from the metadata of any attachments will also eliminate these annotations and bookmarks. So, if needed, please include such minor notes within your review.

 Upon completion of the review process of a paper, access to the Associate-Editor decision and to all anonymous reviews will be available through PaperCept for the reviewers of the paper.

Currently, there is one web review form for each paper category. The correct form for the paper in review is automatically loaded in RAM PaperCept. Specific instructions for reviewers are contained also at the beginning of each form.

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