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Bram Vanderborght

VSA: A Review

Bram Vanderborght received the degree in the study of Mechanical Engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2003 with highest distinction. In 2003 he become researcher at the VUB, supported by the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO). In May 2007 he received his PhD in Applied. The focus of his research was the use of adaptable compliance of pneumatic artificial muscles in the dynamically balanced biped Lucy. In May-June 2006 he performed research on the humanoids robot HRP-2 at the Joint Japanese/French Robotics Laboratory (JRL) in AIST, Tsukuba (Japan) in the research "Dynamically stepping over large obstacles by the humanoid robot HRP-2". He received a 3-year post-doc grant with mobility grant from the FWO. From October 2007-April 2010 he worked as post-doc researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genova (Italy) on the humanoid robot iCub and compliant actuation. In October 2009,he become professor of mechatronics at the VUB. Since October 2011, he is also research director at the Universitatea Babes-Bolyai, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy with a project on robot assisted therapy with ASD children and VUB-PI of the DREAM project. He received an ERC Starting Grant on Series-Parallel Elastic Actuation for Robotics (SPEAR). He is member of the Young Academy of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts His research interests includes cognitive and physical human robot interaction, robot assisted therapy, humanoids and rehabilitation robotics with core technology of using variable impedance actuator.

Nikos Tsagarakis

Soft Actuators Design

Nikos Tsagarakis received his DEng degree in Electrical and Computer Science Engineering in 1995 from the Polytechnic School of Aristotle University, Greece, an M.Sc degree in Control Engineering in 1997 and in 2000 a PhD in Robotics  from the Univeristy of Salford, UK. Before becoming a Senior Researcher at IIT with overall responsibility for Humanoid design & Human Centred Mechatronics development he was a research Fellow and then Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Robotics and Automation at the University of Salford where he worked on haptic systems, wearable exoskeletons, rehabilitation robots and humanoids robots.

He is an author or co-author of over 200 papers in research journals and at international conferences and holds 12 patents. He has received the Best Jubilee Video Award at IROS (2012), the 2009 PE Publishing Award from the Journal of Systems and Control Engineering and prizes for Best Paper at ICAR (2003) and the Best Student Paper Award at Robio (2013). He was also a finalist for Best Entertainment Robots and Systems - 20th Anniversary Award at IROS (2007) and finalist for the Best Manipulation paper at ICRA (2012), the Best Conference Paper at Humanoids (2012), the Best Student Papers at Robio (2013) and ICINCO (2014). 

He has been in the Program Committee of over 50 international conferences including IEEE ICRA, IROS, RSS, HUMANOIDS and BIOROB.  Nikos Tsagarakis is Technical Editor of IEEE/ASME Transactions in Mechatronics and on the Editorial Board of Advanced Robotics Systems.   

Since 2013 he is also serving as a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Robotics Research (CORE), Department of Informatics, King’s College University, London, UK.

Research Interests include Humanoid Robots, Mechanism Design, Compliant and Variable Impedance Actuators, Human Centred/Friendly Mechatronics (intirinsially soft robotic arm/leg systems and wearable robotics for power augmentation),  Haptic Systems, Force and Tactile sensing.

Giorgio Grioli

Variable Stiffness Actuators: User's Point of View

Giorgio Grioli is an Engineer with a Masters in Control and Automation and a PhD in Robotics Research. He is an expert in modeling identification and control of dynamic systems. He has been working at the “E. Piaggio” Center since 2006, finishing his doctoral degree in 2011, and has participated in many EU-funded research projects. Giorgio is Senior Vice President of Research & Development as one of the co-inventors of the qbot. He is also Vice Manager in Electronics and Software development, and will contribute to Mechanics production.

Manolo Garabini

Soft Actuators Control - Optimal Control

Manolo Garabini is an Engineer with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing his PhD in Robotics Research. He is an expert in design and optimization of mechanical systems. He has been working with the “E. Piaggio” Center since 2010, on his doctoral degree beginning 2011, and has participated in EU-funded research projects. Manolo is Vice President of Mechanical Engineering as co-inventor of the qbot. He will also make contributions to Software development.

Fabrizio Flacco

Stiffness Estimation

Fabrizio Flacco is a PostDoc at the Robotics Laboratory, University of Rome "La Sapienza". 

He received the PhD in System Engeneering at the DIAG (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Automatica e Gestionale), University of Rome "La Sapienza", under the supervision of Prof. A. De Luca. He received the bachelor degree in Computer Science Engineering and the master degree in Automation Engineering from the University of Pisa  under the supervision of Prof. A. Bicchi. During his PhD he has been a visiting scholar at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Stanford University with Prof. O. Khatib.

His research interests include Safe Physical Human-Robot Collaboration; Human Robot coexistence; Flexible and Variable Stiffness joints; Collision Avoidance; Applied Computer Vision

Alessandro De Luca

Control of Soft Robots: Feedback Linearization, Collision Detection, and Impedance Control

Alessandro De Luca was born in Roma, Italy, on October 11, 1957. He received the Laurea degree in Electronic Engineering and the Research Doctorate degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Roma "La Sapienza" in 1982 and 1987, respectively. From 1988 to 1992 he was a Researcher at the School of Engineering of the University of Roma "La Sapienza". He was then an Associate Professor of Automatic Control in the Department of Information Sciences at the University of Milano from 1992 to 1993, and in the Department of Computer and System Science (DIS, renamed DIAG since 2011) at the University of Roma "La Sapienza" from 1993 to 2000.
Since 2000, he is a Full Professor of Robotics at the University of Roma "La Sapienza" where he has been the scientifc responsible of the DIS Robotics Laboratory until April 2005. From September 1985 to May 1986, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Robotics and Automation Lab of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. From September 2005 to April 2006, he visited the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at DLR in Oberpfa enhofen, Germany. His research interests include modeling, motion planning, and control of exible manipulators, kinematically redundant manipulators, underactuated robots, wheeled mobile robots and mobile manipulators; hybrid force-velocity control; nonlinear control of nonholonomic mechanical systems; iterative learning; fault detection and isolation; visual servoing; physical human-robot interaction. Under his lead, projects of the Robotics group at DIS have been funded with many national and european research grants. He has published more than 170 journal and conference papers and book chapters. He is coeditor of the book Advances in Control of Articulated and Mobile Robots (Springer, 2004) and one of the authors of the awarded Springer Handbook of Robotics (2008). For the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, he served as Associate Editor from 1994 to 1998, as Editor from 1998 to 2003, and as Editor-in-Chief from 2003 to 2004. He has been the Editor-in-Chief of the renamed IEEE Transactions on Robotics since its birth in 2004 until September 2008. In 2005, he received the German Helmholtz Humboldt Research Award for foreign scientists. Between 2006 and 2012, he has been a member of the Search Committee for Physical Sciences (former Technical Sciences) of the Korber European Science Award, granted by the Korber Foundation. He has served as a program committee member for numerous international conferences. He was General Chair of the 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation held in Rome in April 2007. He has been a member of the RAS AdCom (2008-2010) and serves as RAS Vice-President for Publication Activities in 2012-13. In 2009, he received the IEEE-RAS Distinguished Service Award. Since 2009, he is Chair of Panel PE7 (Systems and Communication Engineering) of the European Research Council for the Advanced Grant evaluation. He is an IEEE Fellow (class of 2007). He is the coordinator of the European FP7 project ICT-287513 SAPHARI (2011-15).

Etienne Burdet

Motor Control

Dr. Etienne Burdet (MS Mathematics, MS Physics, PhD, ETH-Zurich) is a Professor in Human Robotics at Imperial College London and a visiting Professor at Université Paris 6. He uses an integrative approach of neuroscience and robotics to investigate human motor control, and to design efficient assistive devices and training systems for neuro-rehabilitation, which are tested in clinical trials. In the last 3 years, he has attracted funding for over 2M£, and published over 25 papers in top robotics, neuroscience and rehabilitation technology journals. According to Scopus (, 1/6/2015), his papers have been cited over 2300 times, with an h-index of 23. Recent awards include the 2011 best paper award of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, the 2010 best paper award at the Asean Oceanian congress of physical and rehabilitative medicine, and the 2009 Apple Research & Technology Support award. Dr. Burdet is a PI in the recent EU-FP7 projects HUMOUR, VIACTORS, ITN CONTEST and BALANCE, and leader of the Modeling Work Group of the European COST Action network on Rehabilitation Robotics. Alumni of his group (with over 15 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) have taken positions at leading universities and research institute such as ETHZ (Switzerland), NUS (Singapore), Northwestern U (USA), Weizmann I (Israel), ATR International (Japan), A*STAR (Singapore), and high-tech companies worldwide.

Antonio Bicchi

Introduction to Soft Robotics

Antonio Bicchi is Professor of Robotics at the University of Pisa, and Senior Scientist at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa. He graduated from the University of Bologna in 1988 and was a postdoc scholar at M.I.T.  Artificial Intelligence lab in 1988–1990.  He teaches  Control Systems and Robotics in the Department of Information Engineering  (DII) of the University of Pisa,  leads the Robotics  group at the  Research Center "E. Piaggio'' of the University of Pisa since 1990, and served as Director from 2003 to 2012. He is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering of Arizona State University since 2013.

His main research interests are in Robotics, Haptics, and Control Systems in general. He has published more than 300 papers on international journals, books, and refereed conferences.  He served as the President of the Italian Association or Researchers in Automatic Control in 2012-2013, as Editor in Chief of the Conference Editorial Board for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS), as Vice President and as Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE RAS.  He is Editor-in-Chief for the book series ``Springer Briefs on Control, Automation and Robotics,'' and is in the editorial board of several scientific journals, including the top-ranked Int.l J. Robotics Research, the IEEE Trans. on Robotics and Automation, IEEE Trans. Automation Science and Engineering, and IEEE RAS Magazine. He has organized and co-chaired the first WorldHaptics Conference (2005), and Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control (2007). He is the recipient of several awards and honors. In 2012, he was awarded with an individual Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for his research on human and robot hands.

Antonio Bicchi is a Fellow of IEEE since 2005.

Dominic Lakatos

VSA in Cyclic Motions

Dominic Lakatos received the Dipl.-Ing. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Munich, Germany, in 2011. Since 2011 he has been with the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, German Aerospace Center, Wessling, Germany. His main research interests include control of nonlinear systems, under-actuated mechanical  systems, human and robotic dynamics, nonlinear oscillations, limit cycles, bio-inspired and legged robots.

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