2015 RSS Workshop on Miniature Legged Robots, Rome, Italy, July 17



The workshop will be held as part of the 2015 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference, and will take place in Rome, Italy, July 17 2015. The purpose of the workshop is to bring together scientists and engineers from different fields to enable fruitful interactions that will serve as a stepping stone in identifying effective ways to answer pertinent challenges in the area of miniature legged robots, and thus shape the future of these robots. We feature keynote presentations from both established as well as early-career researchers, a panel discussion, and solicit extended abstracts for poster presentations from students and researchers working in the fields of

  • Biological Inspiration;
  • Fabrication Techniques;
  • Mathematical Modeling;
  • Navigation and Control.

We particularly encourage young scientists working in these fields to attend and interact!


  • Konstantinos Karydis, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Delaware
  • Dana Vogtmann, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Maryland
  • Gavin Kenneally, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Pennsylvania
  • Ioannis Poulakakis, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware
  • Sarah Bergbreiter, Associate Professor, University of Maryland
  • Herbert G. Tanner, Associate Professor, University of Delaware


Research in biological sciences and advances in fabrication processes have enabled the development of miniature legged robots with new motion capabilities. Legs allow for all-terrain mobility, while low production cost and rapid manufacturing enable deployment in large numbers. As robot capabilities continue to grow, the potential of these small robots to manipulate, explore, and act as remote sensor networks in a range of useful applications, including search-and-rescue, surveillance, and wildlife monitoring, is expected to increase.

Recent research findings bring us closer to this future; yet several challenges remain. How to better understand the principles of animal motion, enhancing Biological Inspiration and endowing our robots with novel design paradigms? How should fabrication techniques evolve to realize these paradigms? Which mathematical models are needed to capture the underlying biological principles and the observed robot behaviors? How can navigation and control be applied to the domain of miniature legged robots? The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers from different fields and enable fruitful interactions that will serve as a stepping stone in identifying effective ways to answer these challenges, and thus shaping the future of miniature legged robots.

List of Invited Speakers

  • Jeff Aguilar, GaTech
  • Prof. Mark Cutkosky, Stanford
  • Ben Goldberg, Harvard
  • Dimitris Zermas, UMN
  • Prof. Shai Revzen, UMich
  • Prof. Andrew Spence, Temple
  • Prof. David Zarrouk, Ben Gurion


8:30 - 9:00: Registration and opening remarks
9:00 - 10:30: Fabrication Methods
     9:00 - 9:30: David L. Christensen, Elliot W. Hawkes and Mark R. Cutkosky*, Miniature Robots with Large Surface Interactions
     9:30 - 10:00: David Zarrouk*, Modeling, Design, Fabrication and Control of 3D Printed Miniature Crawling Robots
     10:00 - 10:30: Benjamin Goldberg* and Robert J. Wood, Progress in Insect-scale Legged Robots
10:30 - 11:00: Coffee Break
11:00 - 12:30: Biological Inspiration / Design
     11:00 - 11:30: Andrew Spence*, Insights into insect-scale running control from experiments in insects, dogs, humans, and robots
     11:30 - 12:00: Jeffrey Aguilar* and Daniel I. Goldman, Granular dynamics influence jumps on sand
     12:30 - 12:30: Gavin Kenneally*, Avik De, and Daniel E. Koditschek, Design Principles for a Family of Direct-Drive Legged Robots
12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 - 16:00: Modeling, Navigation, and Control
     14:30 - 15:00: Dan Zhao, Chad M. Schaffer, and Shai Revzen*, Steering Hexapedal Robots
     15:00 - 15:30: Konstantinos Karydis, Ioannis Poulakakis*, and Herbert G. Tanner, Probabilistically Valid Models of Miniature Legged Robots for Motion Planning Tasks
     15:30 - 16:00: Konstantinos Karydis*, Ioannis Poulakakis, and Herbert G. Tanner, Navigation and Control of Miniature Legged Robots
16:00 - 16:30: Coffee Break
16:30 - 17:00: Design for Applications
     16:30 - 17:00: Dimitris Zermas*, Dario S. Canelon, Ruben D’Sa, and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, Miniature Robots at UMN
17:00 - 18:00: Discussion Session and Closing Remarks

Presenting authors are marked with *

Call for Contributions - CLOSED

We invite students and researchers contributing to the fields of (i) Biological Inspiration, (ii) Fabrication Techniques, (iii) Mathematical Modeling, and (iv) Navigation and Control, and in subjects pertinent to the area of miniature legged robots, to submit 1-2 pages extended abstracts in IEEE conference style. The selected contributions will be featured for poster presentation between invited talks. Contributors are kindly asked to submit their extended abstracts by email to contribute.mlrworkshop@gmail.com. Please put in the subject of the email "2015 RSS poster submission", and include a short description in the body of the email.

Journal Special Issue

Selected works (both invited and contributed) will be asked to submit an extended version for consideration for a Special Issue of the open-access Journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI, section Multi-Robot Systems.

International Travel Support for US-based Researchers and Students

We are currently working on securing travel funds to support participation in the workshop. All U.S. workshop participants will be eligible for partial or full travel reimbursement. Priority will be given to those that will submit an extended contribution to the journal special issue, subject to successfully passing the initial editorial screening. Please contact us for further information.

Important Dates

  • Submission Deadline: June 15 2015
  • Notification of Acceptance: June 30 2015
  • Camera-Ready Posters: July 5 2015
  • Participation Form: July 15 2015 LINK


For further information please contact: