Soft Robotics

A section of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581).

Section Information

In parallel to recent developments in soft smart materials and additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), the field of soft robotics has been gathering significant momentum to bring a new dimension to the establishment of new robotic concepts, leading to the design and manufacture of soft robots, which will safely interact with (or operate within) the natural world better than their predecessors (i.e., robots made of hard components). As a sub-class of biologically inspired engineering, it is a new paradigm to establish novel robotic systems primarily made of soft materials, components, and active monolithic structures containing embedded actuation, sensing, and motion/force transmission elements. The progress in soft robotics will have a significant impact, especially on medical applications, including prosthetic limbs or devices, wearable robots, assistive devices, and rehabilitation devices. When there is an application for which a safe human–machine interaction and adaptability with a physical environment are required, there is a need for robotic arms or systems or components with adjustable stiffness and made of soft materials with programmable characteristics—soft robotic systems. The progress in soft robotics strongly depends on the progress in materials science and technology.


This aim of this section is to focus on mechanics, control, design, conceptualization, fabrication, and applications of soft robotic systems including their most critical elements of soft actuators and sensors.


Original manuscripts addressing the theoretical, experimental, practical and technological aspects of soft robotics and extending concepts and methodologies from classical robotics to soft robotics would be highly suitable for this section. Potential themes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Actuation, sensing, locomotion, manipulation, and sensing concepts for soft robotics;
  • Novel fabrication techniques such as additive manufacturing for soft robotics;
  • Function and application-specific materials (e.g., smart, responsive, structural, and suitable for seamless integration of sensing and actuation) for soft robotics;
  • Application of programmable matter concept to soft robotics;
  • Soft smart materials amenable to additive manufacturing, with programmable mechanical (stiffness, damping, and similar) and electrical (resistance, capacitance) properties;
  • Soft or compliant mechanisms for soft robotics;
  • Composite structures with programmable stiffness and damping;
  • Modeling, analysis and control of highly compliant mechanisms and structures;
  • Compliance matching and interface for human–machine interaction;
  • Stretchable and flexible power sources and electronics for soft robotics;
  • Optimization techniques for soft robotics;
  • Biologically inspired concepts for soft robotics;
  • Mechanics of soft robotic mechanisms and devices;
  • Simulation and analysis tools for soft robotics;
  • Design concepts based on embodied intelligence and morphological computation;
  • Performance evaluation methods for soft robots including their actuation and sensing concepts;
  • Applications, case studies and prototyping of soft robotics.

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