Animals can traverse complex environments with remarkable agility owing to their power-dense muscles, compliant tendons, and flexible body structures. While existing bio-inspired robots have demonstrated animal-like functions in different settings, there is a gap in applying soft actuators and mechanisms to construct robots that are both adaptable, resilient, and agile. Specifically, although soft-bodied robots are flexible and compliant, this comes at the cost of speed and power, severely limiting their viability for many real-world applications. Disaster response requires high-speed traversal of unstructured environments or fast interaction with surroundings. Manufacturing automation calls for pick-and-place operations faster than existing soft manipulators can achieve. This shortcoming limits soft robotic applications in disaster response, environmental monitoring, and manufacturing autonomation.

This workshop gathers leading experts across disciplines to discuss recent breakthroughs in fast, powerful soft actuators and compliant mechanisms that promise to bring unparalleled dexterity and agility within reach for the next generation bio-inspired robots. Presentations will provide insights into innovations that can endow soft robots with the speed, dexterity, and versatility needed for real-world applications demanding nimble and dynamic motion, without sacrificing their inherent safety and robustness. Key topics will include development of high-power soft actuators; utilizing compliance in legged and aerial robots for efficiency and agility; unconventional locomotion strategies enabled by softness and compliance; rapid manipulation with soft grippers; and comparing soft, compliant, and rigid robots on agility metrics. By elucidating the emerging potential of soft actuators and compliant mechanisms to enable the next generation of agile, dexterous robots, this workshop aims to push the boundaries of versatile real-world locomotion.


This workshop will cover recent advances and open challenges in achieving agile and dexterous locomotion through soft robotics techniques and compliant components. Specific topics will include:

  • Development of high-power soft actuators enabling nimble soft robotic locomotion
  • Legged and aerial platforms: Harnessing compliance for remarkable agility and efficiency
  • Innovative fast locomotion strategies leveraging softness, compliance and resilience, like rapidly climbing walls or moving on water
  • Agile multiphase locomotion in aerial and aquatic environments
  • Impedance control for compliant and agile motion
  • Rapid soft grippers and compliant manipulators for dynamic robotic manipulation
  • Comparative analyses of soft, compliant, and rigid robots on agility metrics
  • Emerging applications demanding agile locomotion - exploration, inspection, search/rescue