Call For Contributions

Dear Colleagues,

We are glad to announce that the 3rd workshop titled Can we build Baymax? will be held on November 15, 2017 at the IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoids Robots (Humanoids 2017) in Birmingham, UK. This workshop will bring together researchers focusing on practical technologies to realize soft human-robot interaction and tackle challenges in design and control for soft robots like Baymax, with special features to accommodate the unstructured, cluttered world.

We invite you to contribute and to participate in this workshop.

The workshop's topics include, but are not limited to: Confirmed Speakers: Previous Workshops:

Abstract Submission

The workshop will host a session of short talks. The presenters in this session will give 15 minute talks.

Important dates:

To participate, please submit an abstract (1-2 pages, double-column, PDF) via email to
Joohyung Kim ( at disneyresearch dot com ) or
Jinoh Lee ( jinoh.lee at iit dot it )

Submission templates:
LaTeX, MS Word

Tentative Schedule

09:00 - 09:30 Welcome and Introduction
09:30 - 10:00 Chris Atkeson
Robot Skin
10:00 - 10:30 Barkan Ugurlu
Soft Power: Modeling, Stability, and Control of Pneumatic Muscles
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:30 Marc Killpack
Soft Robot Design, Sensing, and Control Approaches to Enable Human-Robot Co-Manipulation
In this presentation, we will focus on three major areas (Design, Sensing, and Control) where we have made significant improvement for the performance of soft robots like Baymax. In particular we will present how we are optimizing soft robot link configuration to enable large-scale soft walking robots. We will also present on how we have overcome challenges in calibrating sensors and implementing joint sensing for soft robots. In terms of control, we will show three different approaches to improving soft robot control. The first focuses on making the right approximations when linearizing very nonlinear robot models, the second approach relates to learning the nonlinear dynamics and performing control using learned models, and finally we will show how by using parallelization on a GPU, we can perform long time horizon, high bandwidth, model predictive control for soft robots. We will also present initial experiments with the Baxter robot that estimates human intention and responds during a joint manipulation task. This work with a more rigid robot is preliminary to attempting to tie together many of the components of our past work to enable large-scale soft robots to also collaborate effectively with humans.
11:30 - 12:00 Hiroshi Kaminaga
Building Soft Robots with Hard Actuators
12:00 - 12:30 Bram Vanderborght
Making Baymax Self-healing
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 14:00 Shuhei Ikemoto
Musculoskeletal Robot Arm driven by Pneumatic Artificial Muscles for Close Physical Interactions
14:00 - 14:30 Nikos Tsagarakis
Compliant Actuation Principles for Enhanced Physical interaction and Motion Economy
14:30 - 15:00 Sami Haddadin
Energy and Interaction Aware Control for Soft Robots
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break
15:30 - 16:00 Gordon Cheng
16:00 - 17:00 Short Talk Session
Jinoh Lee (IIT), Jonathan King (CMU), Matthew A. Robertson (EPFL)
17:00 - 17:30 Closing Discussion


Gordon Cheng

Gordon Cheng holds the Chair of Cognitive Systems with regular teaching activities and lectures. He is Founder and Director of Institute for Cognitive Systems, Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Technical University of Munich, Munich/Germany. He is also the coordinator of the CoC for Neuro-Engineering - Center of Competence Neuro-Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Formerly, he was the Head of the Department of Humanoid Robotics and Computational Neuroscience, ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, Kyoto, Japan. He was the Group Leader for the newly initiated JST International Cooperative Research Project (ICORP), Computational Brain. He has also been designated as a Project Leader/Research Expert for National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) of Japan. He is also involved (as an adviser and as an associated partner) in a number of major European Union Projects.

Over the past ten years Gordon Cheng has been the co-inventor of approximately 20 patents and is the author of approximately 250 technical publications, proceedings, editorials and book chapters.

Sami Haddadin

Sami Haddadin is Full Professor and Director of the Institute of Automatic Control at Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany. He recently accepted to become founding director of TUM?s Munich School of Robotics. He received degrees in EE, CS and Technology Management from TUM and LMU. He obtained his PhD from RWTH Aachen. He organized and edited several international robotics conferences and journals and published more than 120 scientific articles. His research topics include physical Human-Robot Interaction, nonlinear robot control, real-time motion planning, real-time task and reflex planning, robot learning, optimal control, human motor control, variable impedance actuation, and safety in robotics. He received numerous awards at the top international robotics conferences and journals. Among other things, he is a recipient of the 2015 IEEE/RAS Early Career Award, the 2015 RSS Early Career Spotlight, the 2015 Alfried Krupp Award and was selected in 2015 and 2016 as 2015 Capital Young Elite Leader under 40 in Germany for the domain "Politics, State & Society".

Shuhei Ikemoto

Shuhei Ikemoto received his Ph.D. degree in engineering from Osaka University in March 2010. He had been a JSPS Research Fellow from April 2009 to March 2010, an assistant professor in the Department of Multimedia Engineering, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University from April 2010 to June 2014, and a specially appointed assistant professor of The Institute for Academic Initiatives, Osaka University since July 2014 to March 2015. He is now an assistant professor in the Department of System Innovation, Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University since April 2015. His research interests include biologically inspired robots and algorithms, and physical human-robot interaction.

Marc Killpack

Marc Killpack is an assistant professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU) since 2013. His lab was awarded a NASA Early Career Faculty award which has funded their research on soft robots. His current research interests relate to improving modeling and control for robot manipulation in unstructured and dynamic environments. This includes applications to space exploration, search and rescue, disaster response and human-robot interaction. Marc completed his Ph.D. in Robotics from the Healthcare Robotics Lab (HRL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining HRL, Marc completed Masters??degrees in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 from both Georgia Tech and AM ParisTech (formerly ENSAM) in Metz, France. In 2007, Marc graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University.

Research Website

Nikos Tsagarakis

He received his DEng degree in Electrical and Computer Science Engineering in 1995 from the Polytechnic School of Aristotle University, Greece, an M.Sc degree in Control Engineering in 1997 and in 2000 a PhD in Robotics from the University of Salford, UK. Before becoming a Senior Researcher at IIT with overall responsibility for Humanoid design & Human Centred Mechatronics development he was a research Fellow and then Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Robotics and Automation at the University of Salford where he worked on haptic systems, wearable exoskeletons, rehabilitation robots and humanoids robots. He is an author or co-author of over 250 papers in research journals and at international conferences and holds 12 patents. He has received the Best Jubilee Video Award at IROS (2012), the 2009 PE Publishing Award from the Journal of Systems and Control Engineering and prizes for Best Paper at ICAR (2003) and the Best Student Paper Award at Robio (2013). He was also a finalist for Best Entertainment Robots and Systems ??20th Anniversary Award at IROS (2007) and finalist for the Best Manipulation paper at ICRA (2012), the Best Conference Paper at Humanoids (2012), the Best Student Papers at Robio (2013) and ICINCO (2014). He has been in the Program Committee of over 60 international conferences including IEEE ICRA, IROS, RSS, HUMANOIDS BIOROB and ICAR. Nikos Tsagarakis is Technical Editor of IEEE/ASME Transactions in Mechatronics and on the Editorial Board of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. Since 2013 he is also serving as a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Robotics Research (CORE), Department of Informatics, King?s College University, London, UK.

Barkan Ugurlu

Barkan Ugurlu,  received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Yokohama National University, Yokohama, Japan, in March 2010. From May 2010 to March 2013, he was a Post-Doctoral Researcher, at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova, Italy, and Toyota Technological Institute, Nagoya, Japan.  Between March 2013 and February 2015, he was a Research Scientist at the Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), Kyoto, Japan. He is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow and currently holds an Assistant Professor position at the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey. His research interests include biological sensorimotor control and motor recovery, active orthoses and exoskeletons, robot-aided rehabilitation.

Bram Vanderborght

He received the Degree in mechanical engineering and the Ph.D. degree in applied sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium, in 2003 and 2007, respectively. During May?June 2006, he was a Guest Researcher where he performed research on the humanoids robot HRP-2 with the Joint Japanese/French Robotics Laboratory (JRL), AIST-JRL Laboratory, Tsukuba, Japan, and from October 2007 to April 2010, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy. His Ph.D. degree was based on the use of adaptable compliance of pneumatic artificial muscles in the biped Lucy. The focus of his research was the use of adaptable compliance of pneumatic artificial muscles in the dynamically balanced biped Lucy. Since October 2009, he has been a Professor at VUB. From 2011-2016, he has been the Research Director at the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Universitatea Babes-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, with a project on robot-assisted therapy with ASD children. His research interests include bipedal locomotion, compliant actuation, rehabilitation robotics, safe and cognitive HRI, cognitive and physical human?robot interaction, robot-assisted therapy, and humanoids and rehabilitation robotics with core technology of using variable impedance actuators. He is a Member of the Young Academy of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and has an ERC Starting Grant. He is Editor in Chief of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine.


Program Committee

Christopher G. Atkeson

I am a Professor in the Robotics Institute and Human-Computer Interaction Institute at CMU. I received the M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics (Computer Science) from Harvard University and the Ph.D. degree in Brain and Cognitive Science from M.I.T. I joined the M.I.T. faculty in 1986, moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing in 1994, and moved to CMU in 2000. I have received an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and a Teaching Award from the MIT Graduate Student Council.

Hiroshi Kaminaga

Hiroshi Kaminaga is a senior researcher in AIST, Japan. He received his bachelors degree in 1997 from Sophia University and masters degree in 1999 from Kyoto University for mechanical engineering. He received his doctorate in information science and technology from The University of Tokyo in 2009. He worked as an R&D engineer from 1999 to 2002 in Hewlett-Packard Japan and from 2002 to 2005 in a robotics startup company, ZMP Inc. He started his academic career as a research fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in 2009, as an assistant professor of The University of Tokyo from 2009. He has been in his current position in AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) since 2017.

Joohyung Kim

Joohyung Kim is currently a Research Scientist in Disney Research, LA. His research interests include implementation of robots based on animation characters, soft human-robot interaction, balancing and walking control for humanoid robots and novel mechanisms for legged locomotion. He received BSE and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Seoul National University, Korea, in 2001 and 2012. Prior to joining Disney Research, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University for DARPA Robotics Challenge in 2013. From 2009 to 2012 he was a senior engineer in Samsung Electronics, Korea, developing biped walking controllers for humanoid robots.

Jinoh Lee

Jinoh Lee is a Research Scientist in the Department of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). He received his B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea, in 2003 (awarded Summa Cum Laude, Top 2%) and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, South Korea in 2012. Since 2012, he has joined IIT as a postdoctoral researcher and has been awarded a competitive grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of the Korean Government titled 'Fostering Next Generation Researchers Program' (2013-2014). He has been involved in projects such as WALK-MAN (Whole-body Adaptive Locomotion and Manipulation), participated in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals, where contributions were made to develop various manipulation skills on the humanoid. His research has primarily focused on control of compliant multi-DoF robotic systems and the dexterous and reactive manipulation of humanoids and bimanual robots with multiple contacts.

Katsu Yamane

Dr. Katsu Yamane is a Senior Research Scientist at Disney Research. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Tokyo in 2002. Prior to joining Disney in 2008, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University and a faculty member at University of Tokyo. His research interests include humanoid robot control and motion synthesis, physical human-robot interaction, character animation, and human motion simulation.

Alex Alspach

After graduating from Drexel University (DASL), Alex spent two years at SimLab in Korea developing and marketing tools for manipulation research. While there, he also worked with a production company to develop artists??tools for animating complex, synchronized industrial robot motions. After that, Alex made huggable robots and various other systems at Disney Research. Now an engineer at Toyota Research Institute (TRI), he designs and builds soft systems for sensing and interaction.

Related Links