Research Topic

Soft Locomotion Robotics: Design, Mechanism, and Control

About this Research Topic

Soft robots usually imitate creatures in nature whose bodies are made of soft materials that can easily realize biomimetic motions such as creeping, crawling, twisting, rolling, and swimming, etc. Due to their similar continuous deformation capacity and a high degree of freedom with bio-inspired muscles and tissues, soft robots can change their shape and size actively or passively to adapt to the environment, protect themselves from damage when bearing huge impact loads, or even squeeze through openings smaller than their nominal dimensions. Therefore, soft robotics has great potential for application in the unstructured environment and has become an international cutting-edge research hotspot in the field of robotics.

The large deformation and energy absorption characteristics of soft bodies can allow soft robots to have good flexibility, safety, and environmental adaptability, but also reduces the inertial effects, thus limiting their moving speed and efficiency. Particularly with respect to the robotic applications in measurement, detection, and search and rescue, the robot’s locomotion characteristics and maneuverability are of crucial importance. However, while many soft locomotion robots inspired by soft-bodied animals (such as caterpillars, inchworms, earthworms, starfish and octopuses, etc.) have been developed, their locomotion performances are still unsatisfactory. Most of them remain tethered and their movement speed, reliability, adaptability, and autonomy are still weak. To realize locomotion performance comparable with bionic objects or their rigid counterparts and meet the demand of handling unexpected interactions with unstructured and unpredictable environments, soft locomotion robots are being faced with many opportunities and challenges.

The scope of this Research Topic includes but is not limited to 1) Progress in locomotion performance of soft robots, and novel soft locomotion mechanisms for specified applications, situations, or tasks; 2) Modelling and simulation methods for design, optimization, and analysis for soft locomotion robots, advanced algorithms for motion control, gait and path planning for soft robots; 3) Integrated design of soft actuators, sensors and structures, and developments in untethered and autonomous soft robot systems.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• Soft robots with biomimetic mobility
• Novel locomotion mechanisms for soft robotics
• High-speed, high robustness, or high-adaptability soft locomotion robots
• Soft actuators, sensors, power, and electronics for soft locomotion robots
• Pipe-climbing, wall-climbing, rod-climbing, underwater-walking, or multitasking soft robots
• Kinematics and dynamic modeling and simulation of soft locomotion robots
• Motion control, gait and path planning for soft robots
• Untethered and autonomous soft robotics
• Applications of soft locomotion robotic systems


Keywords: Locomotion Mechanisms, Soft Robotics, Soft Transducers, Motion Control, Modeling


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Soft robots usually imitate creatures in nature whose bodies are made of soft materials that can easily realize biomimetic motions such as creeping, crawling, twisting, rolling, and swimming, etc. Due to their similar continuous deformation capacity and a high degree of freedom with bio-inspired muscles and tissues, soft robots can change their shape and size actively or passively to adapt to the environment, protect themselves from damage when bearing huge impact loads, or even squeeze through openings smaller than their nominal dimensions. Therefore, soft robotics has great potential for application in the unstructured environment and has become an international cutting-edge research hotspot in the field of robotics.

The large deformation and energy absorption characteristics of soft bodies can allow soft robots to have good flexibility, safety, and environmental adaptability, but also reduces the inertial effects, thus limiting their moving speed and efficiency. Particularly with respect to the robotic applications in measurement, detection, and search and rescue, the robot’s locomotion characteristics and maneuverability are of crucial importance. However, while many soft locomotion robots inspired by soft-bodied animals (such as caterpillars, inchworms, earthworms, starfish and octopuses, etc.) have been developed, their locomotion performances are still unsatisfactory. Most of them remain tethered and their movement speed, reliability, adaptability, and autonomy are still weak. To realize locomotion performance comparable with bionic objects or their rigid counterparts and meet the demand of handling unexpected interactions with unstructured and unpredictable environments, soft locomotion robots are being faced with many opportunities and challenges.

The scope of this Research Topic includes but is not limited to 1) Progress in locomotion performance of soft robots, and novel soft locomotion mechanisms for specified applications, situations, or tasks; 2) Modelling and simulation methods for design, optimization, and analysis for soft locomotion robots, advanced algorithms for motion control, gait and path planning for soft robots; 3) Integrated design of soft actuators, sensors and structures, and developments in untethered and autonomous soft robot systems.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• Soft robots with biomimetic mobility
• Novel locomotion mechanisms for soft robotics
• High-speed, high robustness, or high-adaptability soft locomotion robots
• Soft actuators, sensors, power, and electronics for soft locomotion robots
• Pipe-climbing, wall-climbing, rod-climbing, underwater-walking, or multitasking soft robots
• Kinematics and dynamic modeling and simulation of soft locomotion robots
• Motion control, gait and path planning for soft robots
• Untethered and autonomous soft robotics
• Applications of soft locomotion robotic systems


Keywords: Locomotion Mechanisms, Soft Robotics, Soft Transducers, Motion Control, Modeling


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

07 April 2021 Manuscript
07 May 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

07 April 2021 Manuscript
07 May 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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