[robotics-worldwide] [journals] IJRR Special Issue on Soft Manipulation

Brock, Oliver oliver.brock at tu-berlin.de
Fri Nov 2 10:33:33 PDT 2018

Special Issue on Soft Manipulation

International Journal of Robotics Research

1st call for papers

The emerging research area of Soft Manipulation promises to deliver robotic manipulation systems with greatly increased dexterity and generality.  Key to this development is a departure from accepted wisdom in manipulation research in several respects: The environment used to be "in the way", contact with anything else than the manipulated object was considered a "collision" and was to be avoided at all cost.  Recent research, in contrast, considers the environment as an important tool for achieving manipulation goals. The environment might even be considered to be part of the robot's end-effector. 

To enable this view of manipulation with the environment, rather than in the environment, recent end-effectors and hands are designed to accommodate contact-rich interactions by relying on underactuated and inherently compliant designs, dispensing with the necessity of many, individually actuated mechanical degrees of freedom. The availability of soft end-effectors in turn has triggered the development of novel approaches to control and to perceiving relevant aspects of the environments in support of suitable methods for grasping and manipulation planning.

This paradigm shift towards soft manipulation thus requires novel approaches to control, perception, planning, sensing, actuation, and design. The ideas of precise and fully actuated control, detailed models of the environment, dimensionless contact points, and pre-computed grasping forces are insufficient to handle the complex and continuously changing contact states that arise in soft manipulation. 

The special issue will survey the most promising novel approaches for all aspects of Soft Manipulation, including:

 - Soft grasping, manipulation, and in-hand manipulation
 - Grasp and manipulation planning
 - Sensorization of soft-material robots
 - Control of soft-material robots
 - Design of soft manipulators
 - Perception for soft manipulation
 - Real-world applications of soft manipulation
 - Algorithmic approaches to soft manipulation
 - Learning (deep and/or statistical) in soft manipulation
 - Theoretical characterizations of soft manipulation

The resulting volume will, for the first time, take inventory of the different views and approaches across all aspects of soft manipulation.  It will begin to define this emerging research area and serve as a reference for those researchers who would like to contribute to the field.

November 2, 2018 - call announced
February 28, 2019 - submission deadline
June 1, 2019 - decisions announced

Guest editors
Antonio Bicchi
Oliver Brock

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