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Workshop on Managing Deformation: a Step Towards Higher Robot Autonomy


The capability to interact with deformable objects largely extends the autonomy of robots to perform complex tasks such as handling cables, shaping food materials, picking up agricultural products, performing surgical operations, folding clothes etc. These advanced skills can significantly contribute to the deployment of consumer robots, which is the central theme of the IROS 2020.

However, taking into account deformation introduces new challenges, in particular:

  1. The complication of sensing deformation
  2. The curse of infinite dimensionality of the deformation configuration
  3. The complexity of high nonlinearity in modelling the deformation

New paradigms are needed to tackle these challenges. Therefore, the aim of this workshop is to discuss new research prospects considering the object’s deformation in various robotic applications.

We can sense deformation with different modalities, e.g. force/tactile measurements provide crucial information for grasping and manipulation, but this feedback is only locally available. Vision, on the other hand, offers a global picture of shape deformation but is subject to noise and occlusion. We seek 1) methods to robustly sense deformation. Then, to address the problem of infinite dimensionality, we are interested in 2) compact feedback features for characterizing deformation. Another possible direction is 3) exploiting environmental contact for reducing the deformation dimensions. As for the high nonlinearity problem, we are interested in 4) data-driven/model-based/hybrid approaches to model deformation for control.

We propose a workshop to present and discuss new perspectives in managing deformation as a step towards higher robot autonomy. The purpose of the workshop is to bring together researchers who have common interests in working with deformable objects in robotic applications. The previously-presented challenges and possible directions of research are not exhaustive. The organizers encourage participants to propose new challenges and solutions in the scope of managing deformation. The workshop will also be open to paper submission, and the final schedule will be adapted depending on the quantity and quality of the submissions. We will organize a poster session of the submitted papers to ease interaction and discussion between participants. A prize will be awarded to the best presenter. At the end of the workshop, we will invite speakers to participate in a conclusive round table discussion.

Topics of interest (keywords)

  • Deformation sensing
  • Compact representation of deformation
  • Learning/identification/simulation of deformation
  • Multi-contact (environmental) planning for constraining deformation
  • Application-oriented research (agriculture, household, surgical, industrial)


  • Jihong Zhu, LIRMM, France
  • Andrea Cherubini, LIRMM, France
  • David Navarro-Alarcon, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
  • Claire Dune, Laboratoire COSMER, Université de Toulon, France

List of Speakers:

  • Prof. Kensuke Harada, Osaka University (Confirmed)
  • Prof. Farshid Alambeigi, University of Texas at Austin (Confirmed)
  • Prof. Bruno Siciliano/Prof. Fanny Ficuciello, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (Confirmed)
  • Prof. Jia Pan, University of HongKong (Confirmed)
  • Prof. Youcef Mezouar, Institut Pascal (Confirmed)
  • Prof. Dmitry Berenson, University of Michigan (Confirmed)
  • Prof. Mathew Schwartz, New Jersey Institute of Technology (Confirmed)
  • Prof. Carme Torras, CSIC-UPC (Tentative)
  • Prof. Akihiko Yamaguchi, Tohoku University (Tentative)

Dernière mise à jour le 05/03/2020