Seminar: Soft, stiffness-controllable robotic systems – future applications and impact , Prof Gerhard Neumann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany

  • Date:
  • Time: 12.00 - 13.00
  • Location: Chemical and Process Engineering LT A (2.23)

Abstract: Departing from traditional types of robots, which are based on an arrangement of rigid link elements connected via joints, soft material robots are made of fundamentally different structures. With the increased interest in the use of soft materials for the creation of highly dexterous robots, soft material robotics has established itself as an important research topic within soft robotics. This talk will present a number of soft material robots with applications in healthcare, industrial settings and autonomous driving. Examples include miniaturised soft, stiffness-controllable manipulators for minimally invasive surgery and large-scale structures that guide drivers when changing between different levels of autonomy in highly automated vehicles. Scalability, stiffness controllability and modelling are challenging topics in the field of soft robotics that will be discussed along with innovative opportunities for future systems.

Bio: Helge Wurdemann is a roboticist and Associate Professor of Robotics leading research on soft haptics and robotics at UCL Mechanical Engineering. He is also Co-Director of the Intelligent Mobility at UCL (IM@UCL, lab, a full-size driving simulator. His Soft Haptics group ( focuses on the hardware design and application of soft material robotic systems that have the ability to change their shape and stiffness on demand bridging the gap between traditional rigid and entirely soft robots. Dr Wurdemann creates and embeds innovative stiffness-controllable mechanisms as well as combine advanced Artificial Intelligence with control strategies in robotic prototypes emerging from his lab.

Dr Wurdemann has authored/co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. The majority of his papers are published in top journals of the field, including top transactions and journals of the IEEE and ASME, and in proceedings of leading international conferences. He currently is Associate Editor for prestigious robotics conferences (ICRA and IROS) and served as Associate VP within the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Conference Activities Board and as member of the IET Robotics and Mechatronics TPN Executive Board. He is Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute and Co-General Chair of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2023, the premium robotics conference, which will be hosted for the first time in the UK.