The research areas as well as the knowledge gained for the practical use of robots are growing and expanding beyond manufacturing and industrial automation, making inroads in sectors such as health care and terrain sensing, as well as general assistive systems working in close interaction with humans. In a situation like this, it is necessary for future robot systems to become less stiff and more specialized by taking inspiration from the mechanical compliance and versatility found in natural materials and organisms.
At present, a new discipline is emerging in this area, called "Soft Robotics". It particularly challenges the traditional thinking of engineers, as the confluence of technologies, ranging from new materials, sensors, actuators and production techniques to new design tools, will make it possible to create new systems whose structures are almost completely made of soft materials, which bring about entirely new functions and behaviors, similar in many ways to natural systems.
These Proceedings focus on four main topics:
* Soft Actuators and Control
* Soft Interactions
* Soft Robot Assistants: Potential and Challenges
* Human-centered "Soft Robotics".