Soft Robotics: a new paradigm for robotics and a new challenge for many other disciplines


Wednesday, 21 January, 2015 - 16:00

Speaker: Cecilia Laschi (The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna)

Room: SISSA - Santorio A - room 134

Soft robotics, intended as the use of soft materials in robotics, is a young yet promising and growing research field. The need for soft robots emerged in robotics, for facing unstructured environments, and in artificial intelligence, too, for implementing the embodied intelligence, or morphological computation, paradigm, which attributes a stronger role to the body and its interaction with the environment. Using soft materials for building robots poses new technological challenges: the technologies for actuating soft materials, for embedding sensors into soft robot parts, for modelling and for controlling soft robots are among the main ones. Though still in its early stages of development, soft robotics is finding its way in a variety of applications, where safe contact is a main issue, in the biomedical field, as well as in exploration tasks and in the manufacturing industry. Literature in soft robotics is increasingly rich, though scattered in many disciplines. The soft robotics community is growing worldwide and initiatives are being taken, at international level, for consolidating this community and strengthen its potential for disruptive innovation.