Welcome to the Soft Robotics Lab
The research at Soft Robotics Lab explores how compliance in the robot body can be exploited for dealing with task and environment uncertainty and for interacting with humans. “Softness” offers higher safety, larger variability of movement and higher dexterity and shows the potential for building safer, cheaper and more intelligent autonomous robots than conventional robotics can achieve.
Taking inspiration from biological systems, which are able to survive in complex and unstructured environments thanks to the intrinsic compliance of their soft and flexible body, we are interested in understanding the mechanisms at the base of their high adaptability and in replicating them in robots for achieving intelligent behaviour. In particular the role of body morphology (i.e., form and structure), how biological systems use their body to control basic actions, and how intelligent behaviour emerges from the interaction between the body and the environment in which it is placed, constitute the foundation of the design of new soft actuators and sensors and new control strategies for the robot of the future.
This week Oxford Robotics were visited by Stratasys, the 3D printing experts, to install their state-of-the-art J735 printer - an essential research tool for the Soft Robotics Lab. It's "the best polyjet multi material 3D printer on the market", according to Perla Maiolino, head of the Soft Robotics Lab: "This printer can print a wider range of materials and colours with horizontal build layers down to 14 microns. The ability to mix materials together allows us to get desired mechanical properties and colours for any object." Stratasys brought a couple of example pieces with them to demonstrate the potential for [...]
We are organizing the Workshop at IEEE RoboSoft 2019 (Seoul, Korea) on Morphological Computation through Physical Adaptation of Soft Robots. The workshop aims to present the latest advances in the fields of adaptive robotics and to understand the role of morphological computation to achieve adaptive systems. Synopsis: Biological systems show an incredible ability to flexibly and dynamically adapt. This is achieved through their ability to change their mechanical bodies by growing, morphogenesis and self-healing. It can also be achieved by augmenting their bodies through tool-usage or tool creation. This approach is seen in nature, for example birds and insects use [...]