Marine Bio-inspired Soft Robotics
The ocean covers more than seventy percent of our planet; however, more than eighty percent of our ocean is unobserved and unexplored. This uncharted part of our planet offers huge potential for the industrial sectors, as well as for disruptive, exploration-driven scientific discoveries. Soft robots are compliant, light-weight, and multifunctional, and these properties offer many advantages over existing rigid robots for a diverse range of underwater applications, such as swimming among delicate coral reefs, cleaning near-shore pollutants, collecting marine biological samples, and monitoring underwater structures, etc. However, developing agile, dexterous, and reliable underwater soft robots face substantial challenges in structural design, material choice, sensing, actuation, modeling, and control. Although we have seen progress in areas such as underwater soft robotic grasping, bio-inspired locomotion, and adhesion, the functionalities of current underwater soft robots are still limited compared to existing rigid robots.
This workshop aims to foster a synergetic discussion for developing next-generation underwater soft robots by inviting speakers from diverse backgrounds related to robotics. The workshop will not only cover major topics such as design, fabrication, sensing, actuation, and control but also discuss emerging areas such as multiphase locomotion and hybrid soft-rigid systems. The panel discussion at the end will brainstorm critical future research directions in marine bio-inspired soft robotics.