Soft Robotics

Most robots today are designed and built as dishwashers: a frame made of metal and plastic, a few sensors, motors, and a CPU. This is OK for many applications, but it can miss out the compliance and adaptability that soft materials could provide. We are interested in the study, design, and control of soft robotic technologies that amplify the sensory-motor capabilities and human interaction of robots without increasing their complexity and weight.  For example, we work on smart soft grippers that manipulate complex objects without complex software, artificial feathers for agile drones, insect-inspired flexible compound eyes, variable stiffness materials, edible robots, foldable drones, modular tensegrity robots, and textile-based exoskeletons.

Biomimetic Underwater Robots Based on Dielectric Elastomer Actuators – Infoscience – link

Dual-stiffness origami drone


C. Chautems; A. Tonazzini; Q. Boehler; D. Floreano; B. Nelson : A Magnetic Continuum Device with Variable Stiffness for Minimally Invasive Surgery; Advanced Intelligent Systems. 2019-09-11. DOI : 10.1002/aisy.201900086.
V. Cacucciolo; J. Shintake; Y. Kuwajima; S. Maeda; D. Floreano et al. : Stretchable pumps for soft machines; Nature. 2019-08-22. DOI : 10.1038/s41586-019-1479-6.
C. Rognon; M. Koehler; C. Duriez; D. Floreano; A. M. Okamura : Soft haptic device to render the sensation of flying like a drone; IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. 2019-07-01. DOI : 10.1109/LRA.2019.2907432.
C. Rognon : Wearable Technologies for Embodied Human-Robot Interaction. Lausanne, EPFL, 2019. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-7266.


V. Ramachandran; J. Shintake; D. Floreano : All‐Fabric Wearable Electroadhesive Clutch; Advanced Materials Technologies. 2018-10-23. DOI : 10.1002/admt.201800313.
A. Tonazzini; J. Shintake; C. Rognon; V. Ramachandran; S. Mintchev et al. : Variable stiffness strip with strain sensing for wearable robotics. 2018-07-09. 2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft), Livorno, April 24-28, 2018. p. 485-490. DOI : 10.1109/ROBOSOFT.2018.8405373.
J. Shintake; V. Cacucciolo; H. Shea; D. Floreano : Soft Biomimetic Fish Robot Made of Dielectric Elastomer Actuators; Soft Robotics. 2018-06-29. DOI : 10.1089/soro.2017.0062.
S. Mintchev; D. Zappetti; J. Willemin; D. Floreano : A Soft Robot for Random Exploration of Terrestrial Environments. 2018-06-15. International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Brisbane, Australia, 21-25 May 2018. p. 7492-7497. DOI : 10.1109/ICRA.2018.8460667.
S. Mintchev; J. Shintake; D. Floreano : Bioinspired dual-stiffness origami; Science Robotics. 2018. DOI : 10.1126/scirobotics.aau0275.
J. Shintake; V. Cacucciolo; D. Floreano; H. Shea : Soft Robotic Grippers; Advanced Materials. 2018. DOI : 10.1002/adma.201707035.
J. Shintake; E. Piskarev; S. Jeong; D. Floreano : Ultra-stretchable strain sensors using carbon black-filled elastomer composites and comparison of capacitive versus resistive sensors; Advanced Materials Technologies. 2018. DOI : 10.1002/admt.201700284.


C. Chautems; A. Tonazzini; D. Floreano; B. Nelson : A Variable Stiffness Catheter Controlled with an External Magnetic Field. 2017. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Vancouver, BC, Canada, September 24–28, 2017. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2017.8202155.
J. Shintake; H. A. Sonar; E. Piskarev; J. Paik; D. Floreano : Soft Pneumatic Gelatin Actuator for Edible Robotics. 2017. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Vancouver, Canada, September 24–28.
D. Floreano; S. Mintchev; J. Shintake : Foldable Drones: from Biology to Technology. 2017. SPIE Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication, Portland, Oregon, March 2017. p. 1016203-1-1016203-6. DOI : 10.1117/12.2259931.
S. Mintchev; S. D. de Rivaz; D. Floreano : Insect-Inspired Mechanical Resilience for Multicopters; IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. 2017. DOI : 10.1109/LRA.2017.2658946.


J. Shintake; H. Shea; D. Floreano : Biomimetic Underwater Robots Based on Dielectric Elastomer Actuators. 2016. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Daejeon, Korea, October 9-14. p. 4957-4962.
A. Tonazzini; S. Mintchev; B. Schubert; B. Mazzolai; J. Shintake et al. : Variable Stiffness Fiber with Self-Healing Capability; Advanced Materials. 2016. DOI : 10.1002/adma.201602580.
S. Mintchev; D. Floreano : Adaptive Morphology: A Design Principle for Multimodal and Multifunctional Robots; IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine. 2016. DOI : 10.1109/MRA.2016.2580593.
J. Shintake : Functional Soft Robotic Actuators Based on Dielectric Elastomers. Lausanne, EPFL, 2016. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-6855.
J. Shintake; S. Rosset; B. E. Schubert; D. Floreano; H. Shea : Versatile soft grippers with intrinsic electroadhesion based on multifunctional polymer actuators; Advanced Materials. 2016. DOI : 10.1002/adma.201504264.


R. Pericet-Camara; M. K. Dobrzynski; R. Juston; S. Viollet; R. Leitel et al. : An artificial elementary eye with optic flow detection and compositional properties; Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 2015. DOI : 10.1098/rsif.2015.0414.
J. Shintake; B. E. Schubert; S. Rosset; H. Shea; D. Floreano : Variable Stiffness Actuator for Soft Robotics Using Dielectric Elastomer and Low-Melting-Point Alloy. 2015. International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Hamburg, Germany, September 28 - October 02, 2015. p. 1097-1102. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2015.7353507.
F. Colonnier; A. Manecy; R. Juston; H. Mallot; R. Leitel et al. : A small-scale hyperacute compound eye featuring active eye tremor: application to visual stabilization, target tracking, and short-range odometry; Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. 2015. DOI : 10.1088/1748-3190/10/2/026002.
J. Shintake; S. Rosset; B. E. Schubert; S. Mintchev; D. Floreano et al. : DEA for soft robotics: 1-gram actuator picks up a 60-gram egg. 2015. Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), San Diego, March 2015. p. 94301S. DOI : 10.1117/12.2084043.
J. Shintake; S. Rosset; B. E. Schubert; D. Floreano; H. Shea : A Foldable Antagonistic Actuator; IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. 2015. DOI : 10.1109/TMECH.2014.2359337.
S. Araromi; I. Gavrilovich; J. Shintake; S. Rosset; M. Richard et al. : Rollable Multisegment Dielectric Elastomer Minimum Energy Structures for a Deployable Microsatellite Gripper; IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. 2015. DOI : 10.1109/TMECH.2014.2329367.


S. Viollet; S. Godiot; R. Leitel; W. Buss; P. Breugnon et al. : Hardware Architecture and Cutting-Edge Assembly Process of a Tiny Curved Compound Eye; Sensors. 2014. DOI : 10.3390/s141121702.
R. Leitel; A. Brückner; W. Buss; S. Viollet; R. Pericet Camara et al. : Curved artificial compound-eyes for autonomous navigation. 2014. Micro-Optics, Brussels, Belgium, APR 14-16, 2014. DOI : 10.1117/12.2052710.
J. M. Germann : Soft Cells for Modular Robots. Lausanne, EPFL, 2014. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-6217.
R. Pericet Camara; G. Bahi Vila; J. Lecoeur; D. Floreano : Miniature artificial compound eyes for optic-flow-based robotic navigation. 2014. Workshop on Information Optics WIO2014, Neuchatel, Switzerland, July 7-11, 2014. p. 1-3. DOI : 10.1109/WIO.2014.6933290.
J. M. Germann; A. Maesani; R. Pericet Camara; D. Floreano : Soft Cells for Programmable Self-Assembly of Robotic Modules; Soft Robotics. 2014. DOI : 10.1089/soro.2014.0005.
J. M. Germann; B. E. Schubert; D. Floreano : Stretchable Electroadhesion for Soft Robots. 2014. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Chicago, Illinois, USA, September 14-18, 2014.
J. Germann; J. Auerbach; D. Floreano : Programmable Self-assembly with Chained Soft Cells: An Algorithm to Fold into 2-D Shapes. 2014. Simulation of Adaptive Behavior 2014, Castellón, Spain, July 22-26, 2014. p. 220-229. DOI : 10.1007/978-3-319-08864-8_21.


J. M. Germann; A. Maesani; M. Stöckli; D. Floreano : Soft Cell Simulator: A tool to study Soft Multi-Cellular Robots. 2013. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, Shenzhen, China, December 12-14, 2013. p. 1300-1305.
B. E. Schubert; D. Floreano : Variable stiffness material based on rigid low-melting-point-alloy-microstructures embedded in soft poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS); RSC Advances. 2013. DOI : 10.1039/c3ra44412k.
D. Floreano; R. Pericet Camara; S. Viollet; F. Ruffier; A. Brückner et al. : Miniature curved artificial compound eyes; PNAS. 2013. DOI : 10.1073/pnas.1219068110.
J. Shintake; S. Rosset; D. Floreano; H. Shea : Effect of mechanical parameters on dielectric elastomer minimum energy structures. 2013. Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), San Diego, USA, March 10, 2013. p. 86872V. DOI : 10.1117/12.2009368.
M. Dobrzynski; H. Vanderparre; R. Pericet Camara; G. L'Eplattenier; S. Lacour et al. : HYPER-FLEXIBLE 1-D SHAPE SENSOR. 2013. The 17th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems, Barcelona, Spain, June 16-20, 2013.
L. Daler; A. Klaptocz; A. Briod; M. Sitti; D. Floreano : A Perching Mechanism for Flying Robots Using a Fibre-Based Adhesive. 2013. ICRA 13, Karlsruhe, May 6-7, 2013.


M. Dobrzynski; S. Mejri; S. Wischmann; D. Floreano : Quantifying information transfer through a head attached vibrotactile display: principles for design and control; IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. 2012. DOI : 10.1109/TBME.2012.2196433.
M. Dobrzynski; I. Halasz; R. Pericet Camara; D. Floreano : Contactless deflection sensing of concave and convex shapes assisted by soft mirrors. 2012. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2012, Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal, October 7-12, 2012. p. 4810-4815. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2012.6385505.
J. M. Germann; M. Dommer; R. Pericet Camara; D. Floreano : An Active Connection Mechanism for Soft Modular Robots; Advanced Robotics. 2012. DOI : 10.1163/156855312X626325.
M. Dobrzynski; R. Pericet Camara; D. Floreano : Vision Tape - a flexible compound vision sensor for motion detection and proximity estimation; IEEE Sensors Journal. 2012. DOI : 10.1109/JSEN.2011.2166760.


J. Duparré; A. Brückner; F. Wippermann; J.-C. Zufferey; D. Floreano et al. ; Method for fabricating an artificial compound eye. AT538406 ; EP2306230 ; WO2011039062 ; EP2306230 . 2011.
R. Pericet Camara; M. Dobrzynski; G. L'Eplattenier; J.-C. Zufferey; F. Expert et al. : CURVACE - CURVed Artificial Compound Eyes. 2011. 2nd European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition 2011 (FET 11), Budapest, Hungary, May 4-6, 2011. p. 308-309. DOI : 10.1016/j.procs.2011.09.040.
M. Dobrzynski; R. Pericet Camara; D. Floreano : Contactless deflection sensor for soft robots. 2011. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), San Francisco, USA, September 25-30, 2011. p. 1913-1918. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2011.6048425.
W. Karlen; D. Floreano : SleepPic. Hardware Developments for a Wearable On-line Sleep and Wake Discrimination System. 2011. BIOSIGNALS 2011 - International Conference on Bio-inspired Systems and Signal Processing, Rome, Italy, January 26-29, 2011. p. 132-137.


Y.-L. Park; C. Majidi; R. Kramer; P. Berard; R. J. Wood : Hyperelastic pressure sensing with a liquid-embedded elastomer; Journal Of Micromechanics And Microengineering. 2010. DOI : 10.1088/0960-1317/20/12/125029.
W. Karlen; D. Floreano : Adaptive Sleep-Wake Discrimination for Wearable Devices; IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. 2010. DOI : 10.1109/TBME.2010.2097261.
D. Floreano; J.-C. Zufferey : Insect Vision: A Few Tricks to Regulate Flight Altitude; Current Biology. 2010. DOI : 10.1016/j.cub.2010.08.022.
M. Kovac; M. Schlegel; J.-C. Zufferey; D. Floreano : Steerable Miniature Jumping Robot; Autonomous Robots. 2010. DOI : 10.1007/s10514-009-9173-4.


J. Duparré; A. Brückner; F. Wippermann; J.-C. Zufferey; D. Floreano et al. ; Artificial compound eye and method for fabrication thereof. EP2306230 . 2009.
W. Karlen; C. Mattiussi; D. Floreano : Sleep and Wake Classification With ECG and Respiratory Effort Signals; IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems. 2009. DOI : 10.1109/TBCAS.2008.2008817.


W. Karlen; C. Mattiussi; D. Floreano : Improving Actigraph Sleep/Wake Classification with Cardio-Respiratory Signals. 2008. 30th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Vancouver, BC, 20.-25.8.2008. p. 5262-5265. DOI : 10.1109/IEMBS.2008.4650401.


R. Pericet-Camara; A. Best; S. K. Nett; J. S. Gutmann; E. Bonaccurso : Arrays of microlenses with variable focal lengths fabricated by restructuring polymer surfaces with an ink-jet device; Optics Express. 2007. DOI : 10.1364/OE.15.009877.
W. Karlen; C. Mattiussi; D. Floreano : Adaptive Sleep/Wake Classification Based on Cardiorespiratory Signals for Wearable Devices. 2007. Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference, BioCAS 2007, Montreal, 27.-30.11.2007. p. 203-206. DOI : 10.1109/BIOCAS.2007.4463344.