Date: Sunday, 25th June; Full day

Workshop Aims

Conventional robotic systems have been designed using rigid materials for precision and predictability. Rigid robots have been extensively utilized in manufacturing and subsequently adopted in to 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 robotics. The natural compliancy of these soft-bodied machines makes them highly adaptable to uncertain environments and allows intrinsically atraumatic human interaction. Applications of soft medical robots include smart catheters and endoscopes, bio-inspired ventricular assist devices and smart rehabilitative wearables. Despite the significant promise of soft robots in medicine, the design, fabrication and control of these devices remains highly challenging.

Following the inaugural workshop on Soft Robotics across Scales at the Hamlyn Symposium 2016, this second workshop aims to provide a forum for discussion on the future of soft robotic technology and its clinical application. The workshop will examine efforts in fabricating soft robots across scales, from micro scale instrumentation and catheters, to meso-scale endoscopic instrumentation through to human-scale rehabilitation devices.

Topics to be covered

Key themes of this workshop will include:

  • Fabrication of soft robotics across scales
  • Soft sensing systems
  • Novel soft actuation methodologies
  • Soft rehabilitation robotics and wearables
  • Soft surgical devices


  • Cecilia Laschi - Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy
  • Koji Ikuta - RCAST, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Guang-Zhong Yang - Imperial College London, UK


  • Chris Payne, Wyss Institute, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
  • Mohamed Essam, Imperial College London, UK


09:00 Introduction
09:05 A Soft Touch to Biomedical Robotics
  Cecilia Laschi, Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy
09:35 Additive Manufacturing of Soft Pneumatic Actuators using Low-Cost 3D Printers
  Donal Holland, School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, University College Dublin
10:05 Milli- and Micrometre Scale Light-Driven Polymer Robots and Smart Actuators
  Piotr Wasylczyk, Ultrafast Phenomena Lab, Warsaw University, Poland
10:35 Coffee
11:05 Soft Components for Wearable Technology
  Jamie Paik, Reconfigurable Robotics Lab, EPFL, Switzerland
11:35 Stroke Rehabilitation using BMI and a Soft Robotic Exo-glove
  Adam Stokes, School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, UK
12:05 Innovative Soft Robotic Micro Devices for Future Medicine
  Koji Ikuta, RCAST, University of Tokyo, Japan
12:35 Lunch (Posters and Demonstrations)
13:30 Soft Robotics for Healthcare: From Smart Skins and Assistive Clothing to Edible and Implantable Robots
  Jonathan Rossiter, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of Bristol, UK
14:00 Soft Technologies for New Abilities in Diagnosis and Surgery
  Arianna Menciassi, Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy
14:30 Model-free Design Automation of Soft Robotic Hands
  Fumiya Iiada, Machine Intelligence Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
15:00 Closing Remarks


Royal Geographical Society, 
1 Kensington Gore,