Imagine a deformable robot able to squeeze through small apertures to reach a survivor trapped in rubble, or a minimally invasive surgical arm capable of dynamically adapting to multiple roles, from hemostat to syringe. Long the realm of science fiction, recent advances in material science and rapid prototyping offer to bring soft robotics into the real world, opening up an entire new realm of operational capabilities. However, this deformability and adaptability comes at a cost: soft robots by nature have nearly infinite degrees of freedom and high degrees of dynamical coupling, causing them to be necessarily under-actuated and under-controlled. This dynamical complexity precludes the use of conventional robotic control techniques. This survey of the field will discuss some of the challenges and hopes for the future of soft robots.


John Rieffel Associate Professor, Computer Science

Invited Talk e-session

Photos by : Anonymous