Aquatic Soft Robots

Sunday 14th April



The extraordinary and vastly unexplored capabilities of soft robots are attracting researchers from deeply heterogeneous branches. Marine soft robots place themselves in a niche hot topic with huge potential and vast applications. The workshop will focus on two fundamental yet not codified aspects of marine soft robotics: fabrication and application. On the fabrication side, sub-sea robots face the common challenges of terrestrial soft robots, e.g. minimising the number of controls for infinite degrees of freedom, unconventional manufacturing, and nontraditional materials. Marine robots also have to face the unfamiliar underwater environment. More over in salt water the materials currently used in the fabrication of soft robots degrade at a different rate when compared to the terrestrial environment. Sub-sea robots also experience fast bio-fouling, which does not constitute a problem on land, given the same time scale. Useful applications in the underwater sphere have the potential to revolutionise ocean sciences and marine engineering. The discussion will swing between current fabrication techniques and applications. The workshop aims to provide a definition of a common ground between marine and robotic sciences, define shared challenges and open a dialogue to define future direction of the fascinating marine soft robots research.