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A Coordination Action for Soft Robotics (RoboSoft)
Date du début: 1 oct. 2013, Date de fin: 30 sept. 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Soft robotics, intended here as the use of soft materials in robotics, is a young research field, going to overcome the basic assumptions of conventional rigid robotics and its solid theories and techniques, developed over the last 50 years. Overcoming these assumptions raises the risks related to the poor applicability of known robotics theories and techniques, as well as the risks related to the development of new theories and techniques, for solving problems with unknown solutions or which may be ill-posed. Using soft materials to apply forces on the environment, as expected in a soft robot able to locomote, grasp, and perform other tasks, poses new problems at the level of the different components as well as at the whole system level. The technologies for actuating the soft materials have not yet been demonstrated to exist in a general form, although specific effective examples exists. The same is true for sensors embedded in the soft materials and for soft robotic energy suppliers. This high risk is counter-balanced by a very high potential impact. Soft robotics has the potential for allowing the development of a radically new generation of machines with better performance. Even though research in this field is growing world-wide, as witnessed by the increasing number of papers, special sessions and workshops, the community of soft robotics is still scattered. Robotics journals and conferences do not host it adequately. This results from the difference in the expertise required and developed in conventional rigid robotics and in soft robotics.A Coordination Action for Soft Robotics is extremely necessary and timely in the current and future landscape of robotics and biorobotics and can capitalize on the competitiveness of European research in this new field. A common forum will help soft robotics researchers to combine their efforts, to maximize the opportunities and to materialize the huge potential impact. On the other hand, leaving the soft robotics community scattered would waste its potential for scientific progress and technological innovation, as the achievements in this field do not find proper publication, presentation and discussion in existing scientific contexts.RoboSoft will create this missing framework for the soft robotics scientists, regardless of their background disciplines, and will enable the accumulation and sharing of the crucial knowledge needed for scientific progress in this field. RoboSoft will not only create and consolidate the soft robotics community, but will also create assets that go beyond the end of the three-year CA.



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