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Soft Robots, Tough Problems

San Diego hosts world’s biggest conference on soft robotics

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Robots that can assist physicians during surgery. Robots that can swim. Robots that can grip delicate objects. 

These were some of the demonstrations on display at Robosoft, the biggest conference in the field of soft robotics, this year. The conference was organized by two faculty members at the University of California San Diego, Mike Tolley and Nick Gravish, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. A third faculty member, Tania Morimoto, in the same department, co-led programming. 

“It’s a fantastic way to highlight soft robotics in San Diego,” Gravish said.

More than 500 people attended the conference, which took place at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego.

"I've participated in every RoboSoft conference since the first edition in 2018 in Livorno, Italy,” Tolley said.”I was very excited to host the first in-person edition of the event in the US here in San Diego, and to bring leading researchers from around the world to our doorstep.”

The UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute and Materials Science Program were major sponsors of the event. 

 “The program highlighted a wide breadth of soft robotics research, including sessions focused on design, modeling, sensing, and actuation for a range of applications. And, for the first time, the conference included a session dedicated to hands-on demonstrations,” said Morimoto. 

About 200 participants also visited Franklin Antonio Hall, the newest building at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. The building houses laboratories that bring together researchers from different disciplines and departments, known as collaboratories. 

The conference’s logo this year was an octopus, bringing together the soft in soft robotics and San Diego’s abundant ocean life.

Group picture
More than 200 participants to the Robosoft 2024 conference visisted an open house at Franklin Antonio Hall. 

 UC San Diego researchers presented six papers. They are:

A Soft Robotic Wrist Orthosis Using Textile Pneumatic Actuators For Passive Rehabilitation
A. Sepehri, S. Ward, M.T. Tolley, and T.K. Morimoto

Scalable Arrays of Pneumatic Sensors for Multitouch Soft Skins
Xiaoran Zha*,Saurabh Jadhav,Iman Adibnazari,Yichen Zhai,Michael T. Tolley

Lost-Core Injection Molding of Fluidic Elastomer Actuators for the Fabrication of a Modular Eel-Inspired Soft Robot
Jacobo Cervera Torralba*,Michael T. Tolley,Iman Adibnazari,Yuxiang Kang,Eesa Khan

JAMJams: Jagged Anisotropic Mechanically Jamming Appendages for Robot Locomotion
Ignatius Widjaja*, Nick Gravish

 Paint-A-Pouch: Mask-Based Fabrication of Pouch Actuators for Pneumatically Actuated Soft Robots
Shuhang Zhang, Jordan Banh, Nick Gravish*

Pressure Control of Rolling-Seal Tape Spring Actuators
Curtis Sparks, Nick Gravish*

More than 200 participants to the Robosoft conference visisted Franklin Antonio Hall

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