With the increased interest in the use of soft materials for the creation of highly dexterous robots, soft robotics has established itself as an important research topic, as evidenced by the surge of publications in the recently appearing monothematic journals, such as “Soft Robotics” and conferences, such as Robosoft – the IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics and dedicated sessions at the major robotics conferences, ICRA and IROS. Researchers have successfully demonstrated advantages of soft robotics over traditional robots made of rigid links and joints in several application areas including manufacturing, healthcare and surgical interventions. However, only a few of these potential soft robotic solutions have resulted in certified products contributing to a continuously growing robotic market.
This workshop will focus on application-driven, holistic soft robotic systems and discuss the translational outcomes achieved to date. We will discuss obstacles along the path from designing a soft robot towards its commercialisation and we will learn from successes and failures of experienced soft roboticists in overcoming translational barriers. We will provide young academics and industrial researchers interested in exploring the potential of soft robotics with a platform to discuss these translational challenges with senior academics, industrial experts and end users. Applications will be presented in which soft robotic solutions have greatly surpassed their rigid counterparts or traditional robotic solutions failed. We will explore and identify sectors in which soft robots show great potential.