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Rome, February 20-25, 2015


The school will feature classes on the basics of Soft Robotics design and control, and will allow extensive hands-on sessions on physical variable-stiffness robots.


The school's climax will be a final competition among student teams on a challenging task to be performed by a soft robot, demonstrating performance superior to rigid robots.


The winning team will be awarded with a qbmate, the 12 dof variable stiffness humanoid torso produced by qbrobotics following the Natural Machine Motion Initiative open-hardware design.


In-class lecture topics will include:


  • Introduction to Soft Robotics

  • Elements of Human Motor Control

  • Variable Stiffness Actuators from the User's Point of View

  • Control Basics for Soft Robots

  • Joint-space and Cartesian Impedance Control

  • Optimal Control of Variable Stiffness Actuators

  • Stiffness and Impedance Estimation  





Basic knowledge of robotics (a first course on kinematics, dynamics, control) is assumed.
Programming skills in Matlab and other languages are also assumed.


Hands-on experience will be gained on real VSA actuators. Participants will form teams equipped with a kit of actuators, boards, flanges, batteries etc. at disposal for the whole week. Teams will have access to all open-source HW and SW code available on the NMMI platform, and are expected to share the code/applications/examples they will develop on the same platform.


Registration is free for the whole event, including coffee breaks. Because of the hands-on nature of the school, the number of attendees will be limited. Therefore, there will be a selection of applicants on the basis of their CV and motivations. Admission notifications will be sent via e-mail by February 5th.


The school will be held at the Auditorium Antonianum, within walking distance from the Ancient Rome's Forum and Colosseum.



List of the Hotels and B&Bs nearby the Auditorium Antonianum and the Department of Information and Automation Engineering "Antonio Ruberti" (DIAG)

School Organisers: Manuel G. Catalano (University of Pisa and IIT), Giorgio Grioli (University of Pisa and IIT), Manolo Garabini (University of Pisa), Antonio Bicchi (University of Pisa and IIT) and Alessandro De Luca (Università La Sapienza)


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