Soft Material Robotic Systems

Team:  Ditzia Susana Garcia Morales, Mats Wiese, Jan Peters, Cora Maria Sourkounis
Year:  2019
Funding:  DFG Priority Programme
Further information

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in developing soft material robotic systems due to their unprecedented flexibility and adaptability. These robots are made of flexible or even elastic material, which enables them to deform and move in ways that rigid robots cannot. This has opened up a completely new realm of possibilities for industries such as healthcare, where soft material robots can be used for tasks such as drug delivery or microsurgery. Nevertheless, the applications for these robots go far beyond medicine. Soft material robots can potentially revolutionize fields such as exploration, where they can navigate complex environments and collect data, which would be impossible tasks for rigid robots.

The shift from stiff to soft materials in robotics offers tremendous potential, but it also poses significant challenges in the design, fabrication, modeling, and control of robotic systems. Therefore, in 2017, the Senate of the German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) established the Priority Programme "Soft Material Robotic Systems" (SPP 2100). The programme is designed to run for six years, from 2019 to 2025, with two funding phases.

The DFG Priority Programme "Soft Material Robotic Systems" (SPP 2100) has set out to tackle the challenges associated with soft material robotics and encourages the development of innovative solutions. It aims to foster groundbreaking advances in soft material robotics by bringing together experts from various fields to take advantage of soft material robotics' unique benefits. As part of this initiative, twelve research groups across Germany are working on different projects, ranging from designing and modeling soft actuator systems to developing control and sensor technology for soft robotic systems. The Priority Programme Soft Material Robotic Systems fosters exchange and cooperation between individual projects to create a pool of methods, models, concepts, and data that can be used in their research. As the speaker institute, we at Match are responsible for coordinating the programme by organizing regular meetings, workshops, and scientific activities with the participating research groups.