Date: Sunday, 24th June, 2018; Full day

Workshop Aims

Robotic systems have historically been designed using rigid materials which enables them to execute tasks with precision and predictability. This approach has been extensively utilized in manufacturing and has now been adopted into the medical field. By their inherent nature, medical robots are required to interact with humans in a safe manner. For rigid medical robots, safe human interaction requires sophisticated sensing and control systems with added redundancy so as to ensure environmental adaptability. In recent years, a new generation of robots fabricated from soft materials has emerged as an alternative to conventional robotic systems. The natural compliancy of these soft-bodied devices makes them highly adaptable to uncertain environments and allows intrinsically atraumatic human interaction. Advancements in soft and continuum-based robotic technology is creating new opportunities for translation into medical applications. A generation of flexible, continuum-based robots offers the potential for surgeons to operate through tiny incisions and navigate safely within the body. Wearable soft robotic systems may also enable advancements in rehabilitation and assistance to patients through exosuits, actuated gloves and ventricular assist devices.

Despite the significant promise of soft robots in medicine, the design, fabrication and control of these devices across different physical scales remains highly challenging. This workshop aims to provide a forum for discussion on emerging soft and continuum robotic technology and its potential for clinical application.

Topics to be covered

Key themes of this workshop will include:

  • Novel materials and fabrication of soft robotics across scales
  • Surgical device designs and sensing and imaging integration
  • Novel multimodal soft actuation methodologies
  • Surgical tool path planning and navigation
  • Control, adaptation and learning
  • Clinical applications/needs
    • Cardiac
    • General/Thoracic surgery
    • Neurosurgery
    • Otolaryngology
    • Plastic surgery
    • Urology


  • Chris Payne, Wyss Institute, Harvard University, USA
  • Jamie Paik, EPFL, Switzerland

Sponsored by:




EPSRC NIHR-HTC Network Plus and Wellcome Trust Translational Partnership in Robotic Surgery