• Variable Impedance Actuators Moving the Robots of Tomorrow
    In emerging robotic applications, in which robots need to coop- erate closely with humans, traditional rigid structures and sti ac- tuation systems should be properly modeled and controlled in order to achieve adaptability, compliancy and safety. An alternative design approach is to build actuators with physically adjustable compliance and damping, able to store and release mechanical energy, to react softly when touching the environment, and intrinsically safe, just like human muscles do. Robots and biomechatronic systems can be given similar capabilities as humans by implementing variable impedance actuators, characterized by the property that their apparent output sti ness, and thus the sti ness of the actuated joint, can be changed independently from the actuator output position. Variable impedance actuators realize robust, energy-ecient and highly dynamic systems, which permit the embodiment of natural characteristics, found in bi- ological systems, and implementable into a new generation of robots. This full-day workshop covers the challenges related to the technolog- ical realization and the functionalities of such actuation systems, in terms of both mechanical design and control, by mostly focusing on complex robotic and biomechatronic applications, such as robotic ma- nipulation, bipedal and multi-legged locomotion, prosthetics (hands, arms and legs), rehabilitation devices and social robots (humanoids).
  • Bio-Bots
    Following the rst successful workshop at the 2011 ICRA, we would like to extend the Bio-Bots workshop for the 2012 ICRA with a re- newed scope. Our shared view in this workshop is that breakthroughs in bio-arti cial muscles, biosensors, and synthetic biology are pro- viding components usable for building biological robots. Bacteria- propelled micro-nano robots have already been built, having signi - cant impacts upon medicine and biology. Technologies for culturing cells and tissues to produce novel sensors, actuators, and processors have also been developed, which can be integrated into micro-nano robots for advanced applications. The boundary between biology and robotics is being fused in this emerging eld. The objective of this workshop is to display the state-of-the-art of Bio-Bots, discuss key technologies and challenges, and address system-level issues, applica- tions, and opportunities. We will also address educational issues: how we can best educate students who will work in the eld where en- gineering and biology are seamlessly integrated. Nine speakers from the robotics community have already been con rmed. A few more speakers from synthetic biology and tissue engineering will be invited to promote cross-disciplinary communications.
  • Many-Robot Systems: Crossing the Reality Gap
    Signi cant advances in software development environments and cost reductions of vehicle and sensor platforms have resulted in tremen- dous growth of R&D for many-robot systems and distributed sensor networks worldwide. These e orts have yielded a plethora of theo- retical results and online videos of many-robot systems achieving re- markable feats, but few of these systems are nding their way into the real world beyond prototype demonstrations. This full-day work- shop will bring together experts in many-robot systems (including multi-robot teams, swarms, mobile sensor and communication net- works, other networked mobile robots) to investigate the gap between theory (including research prototyping and demonstrations) and real world applications of many-robot systems. We will seek to identify killer apps along with key technical issues hampering the deployment of many robot systems, and discuss solutions towards moving these systems out of the laboratories and into real-world application envi- ronments. We refer to this process as \Crossing the Reality Gap". We solicit submissions of extended abstracts from researchers working on crossing the reality gap for many-robot systems. The workshop will feature a combination of invited talks, oral and poster presentations, and a panel discussion on the topic \What government organizations need from researchers to transition many-robot systems to operational use.
  • 7th Full-day Workshop on Software Development and Integration in Robotics (SDIR-VII)
    The SDIR workshop series is a forum where researchers and prac- titioners share best practices, identify strategic research directions, and plan joint initiatives in robot software development. The speci c topic of this workshop is \Programming Languages in Robotics." The full-day workshop is structured in three sessions.
    1. Presentation Session: (morning) will include a keynote presen- tation by an invited expert and a set of talks that represent a selected set of accepted papers.
    2. Poster Session: (afternoon one hour) will give the opportunity for all authors of accepted papers to discuss/demonstrate their work.
    3. Group Discussion Session: (afternoon) will be organized as a working group session that maximizes participation from indi- viduals: we will start o with an initial list of questions followed by a solicitation from participants. Then, the organizers will break up the group into splinter groups that will discuss each of the questions and report back to the larger group.
    The summaries from the group discussions will then be posted on the TC-SOFT website. A follow-on survey, informed by the outcome of the workshop, will be sent out to the community. The results on best practices would be shared with the community to help new comers to the eld.
  • Haptic Teleoperation of Mobile Robots: Theory, Applications and Perspectives
    For several applications like surveillance, search and rescue in dis- aster regions, and exploration, the use of a single or a of group of mobile robots is getting more and more common. Nevertheless, when the tasks become extremely complex and high-level cognitive-based decisions are required online (as, e.g., during exploration of very clut- tered, dynamic and unpredictable environments for search and rescue applications), complete autonomy is still far from being reached and humans intervention/assistance is necessary. In this context, haptic teleoperation systems, where a human operator commands a remote robot through a local interface and receive an informative haptic feed- back, allow to exploit humans intelligence to solve tasks too complex for nowadays robots. This full day workshop will focus on the haptic teleoperation of a single or a team of mobile robots. Its main goal is to present recent results in the eld and to establish a discussion on the technological, mathematical and psychophysical aspects of this problem.
  • Robotics and Performing Arts: Reciprocal influences
    This full-day workshop intends to investigate the relationships be- tween the world of performance art, including theatre and dance, and that of robotic technologies, focusing on their reciprocal in uences and how such in uences can bene ts both elds. The workshop will be highly interdisciplinary, bringing together well-known roboticists active in the artworld, artists, and robotics companies operating in the art and entertainment elds, in order to exchange ideas, practices and experiences on the key scienti c, technological and artistic as- pects. Among the topics that will be explored during the workshop is how the interaction between robotics and theatre can lead to the generation of new artform, impact innovation and creativity in both the engineering and artistic elds, and provide new possibilities for the emergence of new markets. The workshop will be divided into three main sessions. 1. Oral session: consisting of invited talks and selected contribu- tions from call of paper. 2. Video/live performance session: participants are invited to present videos or short live performances that document the reciprocal in uences between robotics and art. 3. Round table: a highly interactive discussion among the workshop participants and the audience.
  • Robotic Satellite Servicing
    As satellites and spacecraft near the end of their expected lifetime, many begin to incur failures in key components, expend their attitude control fuel, or reach computer obsolescence. Moreover, many satel- lites su er post-launch mishaps, including failed deployment of solar arrays and antennae and electronic failures of critical components that lead to mission failure. A free- ying spacecraft with an integral robotic front-end capable of reaching satellites in geosynchronous orbit would provide a valuable asset in addressing these failures. Satellite servic- ing could take advantage of recent advances in mobile manipulation in order to dock or berth to the target vehicle. After the servicer is docked, the robot can perform servicing tasks with a manipulator or make necessary repairs in-situ. For example, the servicer would be able to perform visual inspection, replace failed components, deploy stuck solar arrays, refuel tanks with liquid propellant, and perform many other maintenance tasks to support a single satellite or a constella- tion of satellites. The proposed full-day workshop will bring together international researchers in the elds of space and servicing robotics to exchange ideas in key enabling technology areas: manipulation, contact dynamics, pose estimation, teleoperation and haptics, shared autonomy, compliant control, multi-manipulator systems, time-delay compensation, and interactions in a space environment.
  • 2nd Workshop on Semantic Perception, Mapping and Exploration (SPME)
    As robots and autonomous systems move away from laboratory setups towards complex real-world scenarios, both the perception ca- pabilities of these systems and their abilities to acquire and model semantic information must become more powerful. For example, a general-purpose service robot collaborating with a human user needs to know human spatial concepts and have an understanding of 3- dimensional objects, their use and functional relationships between them. More generally, semantic perception and mapping must become a resource for the robot, which links sensory information to the robots knowledge base and high-level deliberative components. A key issue is a robots ability to autonomously acquire information and extract semantic models from it, as well as exploration strategies to decide where and how to acquire the most relevant information pertinent to a speci c semantic model. In this full-day workshop we will try to analyze the requirements of such a system, and discuss alternatives for achieving this goal, by bringing together researchers from areas such as Computer Vision, Cognitive Robotics, 3D Mapping, Mobile Manipulation, Machine Learning, Knowledge Representation, and Ex- ploration. This is the second workshop at ICRA to discuss currently running projects and recent results to advance the state-of-the-art in semantic perception, mapping, and exploration.
  • The Future of HRI - Paving the way to next generation of HRI
    This full-day workshop aims at providing a state of the art overview on the recent researches and achievements in Human-Robot Interac- tions (HRI), as well as stimulating a fruitful and attractive discussion on the major challenges to be solved in future robot applications. The basic questions that the workshop will try to answer are: What are the major advances achieved in the last years related to HRI? What are the major challenges in HRI for future robots applications? Due to the nature of the intrinsic problems posed by HRI, the workshop will see the participation of an interdisciplinary group of experts not only in robotics, but also in cognitive sciences, neurosciences, linguists, de- sign, human factors, sociology, psychology, ethics and also art. The workshop will consist of invited presentations given by keynote speak- ers in the eld of HRI and related areas and a restricted number of presentations selected among the best contributions received as pa- pers. A round table discussion will conclude the workshop to identify scienti c and technological challenges in HRI that will enable appli- cations of robots in real domains.
  • Bio Assembler for 3D Cellular System Innovation
    The proposal intends a full day workshop in order to discuss a new and innovative methodology intended for creating 3D cellular systems such as functional tissue in vitro environments, in which active functional cells selected from a living organism are used to create the 3D cellular system. The workshop consists of invited speakers from the world who are active in the cutting edge of the eld. The topics cover high speed measurements and controls of single and/or multiple cells based on micro & nano robotics, high speed assembly of 3D cellular system, and analysis and evaluation of active functional cellular systems
  • Conditions for Replicable Experiments and Performance Comparison in Robotics Research
    In all eld of science experiments play an important role, in or- der to con rm/refute a theory and to discover new theories. It is a widespread opinion that experimental methodologies in robotics have not yet achieved a level of maturity comparable with that in tradi- tional science. On the other hand being able of objectively measure and comparing performances is a critical aspect of modern engineering. In this workshop, we will discuss fundamental issues about the role of experiments in robotics, such as how can results be replicable and refutable on the one hand, and quantitatively comparable according to community-endorsed metrics to enable a faster cumulative progress, or even appreciate disruptive changes, on the other end. We will par- ticularly focus on how might be possible, by providing the proper kind and amount of data to enable the replication of experiments as a pre- requisite to quantitative comparison of capabilities. A key point to allow replication and comparison of results is having adequate data support: all the data necessary to repeat a given experiment, how to achieve it with today's digital media will be addressed. We will con- centrate on three main sub elds: visual servoing and grasping, slam and navigation. In these elds it is already possible to outline several compelling criteria. These issues, when viewed in the context of some general principles about experiments in science and engineering, will allow us to do some insightful considerations on the role of experi- ments in robotics and its scienti c and epistemological foundations. This workshop is a joint initiative of the IEEE Technical Committee on Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking of Robotic and Automa- tion Systems (PEBRAS) and the EURON Special Interest Group on Good Experimental Methodology for Robotics (SIG GEM).
  • Workshop on Long-term Autonomy II
    The problem of long-term autonomy is attracting increased at- tention in the robotics research community. State-of-the-art robotic mapping and localization systems have demonstrated the ability to operate in increasingly large-scale environmentsthe DARPA Grand Challenge, Mars Exploration Rovers, Willow Garage PR2 demos, long- range visual-teach-and-repeat systems, and Atlantic-Ocean crossing AUVs are only some of the examples of the maturity of the eld. However, it remains to be seen how to extend the operation time of autonomous robotic systems from days to months or years. This goal poses new challenges related to robust long-term operation and life- long learning. What valuable lessons have we learnt from large-scale robotic experiments? What challenges need to be addressed to en- sure robust and continual operation? We invite authors to share their experience and insight at this full-day workshop.
  • Stochastic Geometry in SLAM

    Feature based SLAM is closely related to multi-sensor, multi-target .ltering. In essence, the objective is to jointly estimate a time-varying number of targets and their states from sensor measurements with data association and detection uncertainty, clutter and noise. Its sys- tematic treatment, using random set theory, led to the mathematical tools known as Finite Set Statistics (FISST), developed for data fusion and estimation of random sets.

    Random vector based SLAM is known to be extremely fragile in the presence of feature detection and data association uncertainty. Therefore recent research which has applied the FISST framework to autonomous map representations will be the subject of this workshop.

    Workshop topics will include global localisation, Rao-Blackwellised and multi-robot SLAM which jointly consider false alarms, missed detections and spatial sensor uncertainty. Experimental results in challenging outdoor and marine environments will be demonstrated.

  • Modular Surgical Robotics: how can we make it possible?

    Computer and Robot Assisted Surgery (CRAS) is an area receiving broad attention worldwide, because of its strong potential to achieve new levels of healthcare. Many researchers and potential users are attracted to the eld. However, the market is o ering very few prod- ucts, which cannot be enhanced with add-on components produced by other manufacturers. This inability is not only due to commercial, but also to technical reasons, since an FDA-approved or CE marked surgical device cannot be altered by adding new components.

    Motivated by these considerations, the European research project Eurosurge addresses the issues of modularity and integration of di er- ent functions into a surgical robot, with a special emphasis on the in- tegration of cognitive functions into robotassisted surgical procedures, and on the satisfaction of regulatory constraints.

    This workshop aims at presenting to the robotic community the results of the rst six months of the project and to establish a fruitful discussion with experts in the areas of integration, standards, bench- marking, architectures and cognition. The workshop will be divided into three phases: the rst summarizing the current status of Euro- surge; the second with presentations from experts outside the project; and the third with a discussion to provide suggestions and opinions about introducing modularity into robotic surgery

  • Industry-Academia collaboration in the ECHORD project: a bridge for European robotic innovation
    In order to boost the practical use of robot technology not only in industrial settings, more sophisticated robotic solutions have to be elaborated, particularly in terms of autonomy, exibility, interactiv- ity and cooperating with human, ease of use, and safety. In order to be able to develop applications on the short-term and to maintain ecient improvement of European robotics in the long term, a bet- ter cooperation and technological know-how transfer between robot manufacturers and research institutions is essential.

    ECHORD (European Clearing House for Open Robotics Devel- opment, FP7-ICT-231143, http://www.echord.info) is an innovative framework aiming at intensifying this collaboration by carrying more than 50 small sub-projects (socalled experiments with speci c research foci and scenarios) with consortia composed of academia and indus- try. The whole project is coordinated by the Technische Universitt Mnchen (Germany), University of Naples (Italy), and University of Coimbra (Portugal). This workshop is composed of two parts:

    1. A presentation session where an overview of the ECHORD exper- iments will be given by the coordinating partners of ECHORD, then (intermediate) results of the experiments targeted to an in- ternational audience will be presented, followed by discussions.
    2. An open discussion session about innovative solutions in and outside ECHORD, future impacts, new applications, limitations and possible improvements, as well as safety concepts.

  • Semantic Perception and Mapping for Knowledge-enabled Service Robotics
    Consider a robot that is to act as a household assistant in an unknown kitchen environment. This robot has to acquire and use knowledge about where the task-relevant objects, such as the dish- washer and the oven are and how the robot can act on them. A recent advent of smart devices (e.g. smart phones) and high-quality-low-cost sensors (e.g. Kinect) provides us with the a ordable resources for the robot which link sensory information to the robot's knowledge base and high-level deliberative components. Resources like this allow the general-purpose service robots to e.g. query information from world wide web, seek help from remote experts through shared autonomy interfaces and to act independently and safely in human living envi- ronments.

    In this hands-on workshop we will identify key problems and so- lutions by narrowing down the de nition of semantics, we will dis- cuss what is the representative end world model as a result of se- mantic mapping, single out the optimal sensors, consider static vs. dynamic aspects of environment modeling and nally address the life- long learning in order to leverage not only the sensor data but also from human living patterns and behaviors. The workshop will feature excellent talks from researchers from academia as well as industry, live demonstrations, poster session and a working session with an aim to standardize some fundamental concepts in semantic mapping. We plan to build upon the series of related events at previous IROS, ICRA and RSS conferences.