Fusion of Softness and Rigidity in Robot Mechanism

AM, September 28th, 2017 @ IROS 2017


Smart Mechanics is a research activity aiming at establishing a new robotics theory for effectively modulating power flow in robot mechanisms as well as developing novel robotic devices which can change their softness and rigidity appropriately according to mechanistic situations determined by required task. These aims are based on the insightful words provided by Dr. Shigeo Hirose, a pioneer of robot technology who created many surprising robots, that the essential functions of robot mechanisms may be eto temporarily restore, release, or branch the power flown through a considered robot systemf [1]. The main objective of this workshop is to show 1) a meaningful collection of the top research examples strongly related to Smart Mechanics in the fields of theoretical foundations of robotics, robot mechanisms, soft robotics and wearable robotics, and 2) provide a clear view of the future direction of Smart Mechanics emerged from the interactions between distinguished invited speakers and the audience.

[1] Shigeo Hirose: Message for Young Researchers, Journal of The Robotics Society of Japan, 29-6 , 482/483, 2011. (in Japanese)

Note: The original statements by Dr. Hirose are in Japanese, and the above corresponding English words were translated by the organizers.

Topics of Interest

- Power Flow Modulation/Port-controlled Hamiltonian System, Passivity-based Approach
- Robot Joints/Series Elasticity, Mechanical Impedance, Variable Stiffness, Variable Impedance
- Soft Robotics
- Smart Material/Magneto-Rheological Fluid(MRF)
- Wearable Human Support System/Walking Assist
- Impedance Estimation of Human Joints
- Assembly Robot


9:00-9:15 Opening & Special Talk
Hiromi Mochiyama, Kenji Suzuki, and Yasumichi Aiyama, University of Tsukuba, Japan:
Smart Mechanics: Fusion of Softness and Rigidity in Robot Mechanism

9:15-9:45 Invited Talk 1
Prof. Stefano Stramigioli, Universiteit Twente, The Netherlands:
Port-Hamiltonian Systems, a language for analysing energy flows and control them

9:45-10:15 Invited Talk 2
Prof. Akihito Sano, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan:
Wearable Walking Assist Device ACSIVE based on Passive Walking

10:15-10:30 Coffee break and Special Demo

10:30-11:00 Invited Talk 3
Dr. Katsu Yamane, , Disney Research, USA:
Estimating Human Skeletal Muscle Tensions with Co-contraction

11:00-11:30 Invited Talk 4
Prof. Dirk Lefeber, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium:
Smart Mechanisms for Powering Assistive Robotics

11:30-12:00 Invited Talk 5
Dr. Giuk Lee and Prof. Conor Walsh, Harvard University, USA:
Lightweight and Efficient Soft Exosuits for Walking and Running

12:00-12:20 Wrap-up

12:20- Special Demos Again

Invited Speakers

Special Demos


Associate Prof. Hiromi Mochiyama
University of Tsukuba, Japan

Prof. Kenji Suzuki
University of Tsukuba, Japan

Prof. Yasumichi Aiyama
University of Tsukuba, Japan


This workshop has received endorsements from the IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Soft Robotics, Wearable Robotics, and Mechanisms and Design.

The project of Smart Mechanics at University of Tsukuba has been supported by NEDOiNew Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organizationj, Japan.

2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
Vancouver, Canada, September 24-27, 2017