Small-scale robotics is a very challenging field of robotics, as no traditional components, such as mechanisms, motors, sensors, and controllers, are available. So far, researchers have developed microrobots that consisted of small rigid objects precisely navigated by external fields, or, alternatively, they have harvested biological cells and exploited their sensing, actuation, and computation capabilities. Only recently, soft and smart materials have started entering the field of small-scale robotics, substituting for mechanisms, sensors, and actuators. Therefore, this ‘soft microrobotics’ approach currently represents the most promising route towards the development of fully artificial, self-contained robots at such small scales. Soft microrobots can be externally controlled, exhibiting enhanced functionality and adaptability with respect to their rigid counterparts. In addition, they can be endowed with autonomous (reactive) behaviours by building them with stimuli-responsive materials. These basic robotic functionalities and autonomous behaviours represent the first steps towards intelligent soft robots at small scales. Inspired by microorganisms, which show intelligent behaviours despite having no brain or nervous system, intelligence in small-scale robots could be achieved by means of the soft matter that constitutes them.


09:00 09:15 G. Lucarini & S. Palagi Welcome & Introduction
09:15 09:30 Yizhar Or Nonlinear parametric excitation effect induces stability transitions in swimming direction of flexible superparamagnetic microswimmers
09:30 09:45 Daniele Martella 3D printed optically driven microrobots
09:45 10:00 Lorenzo Vannozzi Muscle cell-based bio-hybrid actuators
10:00 10:15 Kanty Rabenorosoa Development of Continuum Soft Robots at Small Scales
10:15 10:30 Jessica Burgner-Kahrs Perspectives of Continuum Robotics
10:30 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 11:15 Arianna Menciassi Technologies for soft robotics in therapy: from macro to micro
11:15 11:30 Bradley Nelson Soft Microrobotics and Applications in Medicine
11:30 11:45 Oliver G. Schmidt Smart and soft motile microbots
11:45 12:00 David H. Gracias Untethered soft-bots controlled by temperature and DNA
12:00 12:15 Wenqi Hu Magnetic soft milli/microrobots
12:15 13:00 Round Table Challenges and opportunities in soft materials-enabled robotics at small scale