CFP: Robotic Handling of Deformable Objects


There is a growing interest in the robotics community to investigate the handling of deformable objects. The ability to interact with deformable objects promises new applications for robots: cable assembly in industrial settings, doing laundry in households, dressing assistance in elderly care, organs and tissues manipulation in surgical operations, or fragile samples collection in underwater/space robotics, to name a few. However, deformable objects are considerably more complex to deal with than rigid ones. Specifically, some of the new challenges involved in handling object deformation are the following:

  1. The difficulty of sensing the deformation, 
  2. The infinite degrees of freedom of the deformation configuration, 
  3. The complexity of the high nonlinearity in modeling the deformation. 

As a result, there is a necessity for novel methodological and technological approaches in this field, and these advances need to cover the full spectrum of robotic problems and tasks (perception, modeling, planning, and control).

Therefore, the aim of this special issue is to collect the latest research results that handle deformable objects in various robotic applications.

List of topics

Topics of interest for this special issue include and are not limited to:

  • Sensing (e.g., vision, tactile) of deformable objects 
  • Robotic manipulation of deformable objects (planning, control, grasping, grippers design, etc.) 
  • Modeling of deformable objects for robotic handling 
  • Multi-robot and human-robot handling of deformable objects 
  • Benchmarking robotic handling of deformable objects 
  • Robot learning for handling deformable objects
  • Mobile manipulation of deformable objects (with legged, wheeled, aerial or underwater robots)


The special issue will follow the following timeline:

23 June 2021

Call for Papers                                   

23 Sept 2021

Papercept open for submission

22 Oct 2021

Submission deadline                               

2 Jan 2022

Authors receive RA-L reviews and recommendation   

16 Jan 2022

Authors of accepted MS submit final RA-L version  

1 Feb 2022

Authors of R&R MS resubmit revised MS            

8 Mar 2022

Authors receive final RA-L decision               

22 Mar 2022

Authors submit final RA-L files                   

27 Mar 2022

Camera ready version appears in RA-L on Xplore    

6 April 2022

Final Publication


Guest Editors of the Special Issues


Name: Jihong Zhu
Affiliation: TU Delft/Honda Research Institute Europe, Netherlands/Germany 

Name: Claire Dune
Affiliation: Laboratoire COSMER - EA 7398, Université de Toulon, France

Name: Miguel Aranda
Affiliation: CNRS, Clermont Auvergne INP, Institut Pascal, Université Clermont Auvergne, France

Name: Youcef Mezouar
Affiliation: CNRS, Clermont Auvergne INP, Institut Pascal, Université Clermont Auvergne, France

Name: Juan Antonio Corrales
Affiliation: University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Name: Pablo Gil
Affiliation: University of Alicante, Spain

Name: Gonzalo López-Nicolás
Affiliation: University of Zaragoza, Spain

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