Date: Wednesday, 27th June; Afternoon  (1/2 day)

Workshop Aims

The traditional concept of motor driven robots with mechanical transmission and computer control is still deeply rooted into our design workflow and hardware embodiment in robotics.  However, exciting advances in materials science, including the development of smart materials, energy harvesting and actuation schemes, as well as the adoption of bio-inspired design principles can offer radically new ways to construct and operate robots. These are particularly relevant to the future development of medical robotics, integrating sensing, micro-scale tissue manipulation and targeted delivery. They challenge the physical limitation of mechatronics and are no longer limited by the degrees-of-freedom of traditional mechanisms. New materials that combine sensing, actuation, computation and communication offer a whole range of new opportunities for the design of new robots. New actuators made by these materials can react to its external environment by either changing their material properties or geometries and they can be electrically responsive, or react to temperature, light, magnetic field, pressure, mechanical loading or surrounding chemical properties (e.g. changes in pH). They are also sensitive to more local effects or fluctuations including surface tension, diffusion, induction pumping, ion-drag and conductive heterogeneity.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers in medical robotics and materials science to explore new research opportunities and potential synergies in the development and application of new materials for medical robotics.  The workshop will include several invited talks, and we also welcome submissions from Symposium attendees.

Keynote Speakers (in alphabetical order)

  • Shape-Memory Polymer Actuators for Soft Robotics
    Andreas Lendlein, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
  • Hydrogel Bioelectronics and Biorobots
    Xuanhe Zhao, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, USA

Confirmed Speakers (in alphabetical order)

  • Peer Fischer, University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • Multifunctional Fibres for Electrical, Optical and Chemical Interrogation of Neural Circuits 
    Xiaoting Jia, Virginia Tech University, VA, USA
  • Bioinspired Soft Electronics and Machines
    Martin Kaltenbrunner, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
  • Multimaterial Optical Fibres for Bioengineering Applications
    Fabien Sorin, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH
  • Walking Up A Human Hair
    Diederik Wiersma, European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), Sesto Fiorentino FI, Italy

Topics to be covered

  • Advances in material science and fabrication schemes
  • New actuators and artificial muscles
  • Novel soft materials and robotics
  • Intelligent, self-healing and self-adaptive materials
  • Metamaterials
  • Functional materials (responsive polymers, nanomaterials and nanocomposites)
  • Biohybrid systems
  • Biocompatibility and degradability
  • Materials and structures with integrated sensing
  • In vivo responses and disease targeting
  • Micro/nano fabrication and 4D printing

Workshop Co-chairs

  • Peer Fischer, University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • Bradley Nelson, ETH Zurich, CH
  • Guang-Zhong Yang, Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London, UK

Local Organisers

  • Burak Temelkuran
  • Mohamed E K Abdelaziz

Sponsored by:




EPSRC Programme Grant on Micro-robotics for Surgery