About this Research Topic
Traditionally, robots were mainly employed in industrial environments, where accurate positioning and precise tracking were the main goals. This led to the design of rigid end-effectors, confined to operate in structured environments and beyond the working spaces of human operators. More recently, the research community is pushing toward the design of compliant and anthropomorphic end-effectors, which have demonstrated the ability to enable easy and safe interaction of robots with unknown and unstructured environments.
This new framework, that encompasses the design, planning, and control of soft end-effectors, comes with several theoretical and practical problems that need to be addressed. Indeed, recently there has been a huge effort by the research community to develop novel theoretical and technological solutions to allow robots to operate amongst and with humans, and to safely move in, and interact with, unknown and unstructured environments.
Still, the question of how to use the embedded compliance to enhance the interaction with the environment and multiply the degrees of freedom is an open problem.
Indeed, a valid formalization could be to exploit model-based optimization approaches. Others, instead, propose the usage of learning techniques to generalize from acquired data. Finally, very promising is the understanding of how humans solve the problem at the musculo-skeletal level, with the ultimate goal to produce a limited yet effective replication of human-inspired solutions.
The goal of this Research Topic is to provide the opportunity to share current advancements on the problem of planning and control of soft and hybrid soft-rigid end effectors. Manuscripts should be provided in the shape of Original Research, Reviews or Perspective Papers. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Control of compliant end-effectors
• Motion planning of compliant end-effectors
• Perception through compliant end-effectors
• Impedance planning
• Modeling and control of variable compliance devices
• Biologically-inspired models and controls for soft and hybrid
• Soft robotics applications
Dr. Roa works part-time since 2015 for Roboception, a DLR spin-off working on 3D perception solutions for robotics, as a Senior Robotics Expert. There, he manages Roboception’s research projects, especially dealing with applications in robotic manipulation and navigation. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interest.
Keywords: Manipulation, Impedance Planning, End-Effectors, Biologically-Inspired Robots, Robot Control, Robot Perception
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