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Special Issue "Advances in the Fabrication, Sensing, Modelling, and Control of Soft Robots"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensors and Robotics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 901

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ameer Hamza Khan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Computing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Interests: nonlinear optimization; metaheuristic algorithms; and machine learning
Prof. Dr. Shuai Li
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Science and Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
Interests: AI; machine learning; control algorithms; robotics; nonlinear optimization; control
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Rehan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical Engineering, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Nilore, Islamabad, Pakistan
Interests: nonlinear and robust control; Anti-windup design and implementation
Prof. Dr. Dechao Chen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Computer Science and Technology, Hangzhou Dianzi University Hangzhou, Hangzhou 310008, China
Interests: unmanned system control; machine vision; robotics; data mining; intelligent optimization algorithms
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, research on soft robots has gained substantial attention from researchers across the field. Because of their inherent flexibility, soft robots present a natural solution for several problems posed by traditional rigid robots. For example, in human–robot interactions, the safety of the human user is of the utmost importance; soft robots have an inherent advantage in terms of safety, reliability, and user experience compared with rigid metallic robots. Even in the case of a malfunction, soft robots pose no critical concern. Reaching the same level of safety and reliability with traditional rigid robots requires complex sensing and control mechanisms. Additionally, soft robots offer a “human-like” experience to the user, an essential feature for developing friendly human–robot interactions. These features make soft robots ideal for medical rehabilitation robots and an industrial gripper for manipulating delicate objects. Despite their benefits, soft robots have proven to be extremely challenging for accurate analytical modeling and dynamic control. Their flexible structure imparts an infinite degree of freedom, making it challenging to develop a rigorous theoretical framework to study their behavior. They are usually modeled using some degree of approximation, such as finite element methods (FEM). However, the FEM-based technique is not helpful for real-time control. Model-free control techniques avoid the issues of modeling altogether, but they suffer when it comes to regulating the dynamic response and avoiding undesirable transients. Recently, some works have been proposed that leverage model-identification techniques to fit the experimental data from the robot. Such methods have the advantage of capturing specific characteristics of soft robotic systems not utilized by model-free techniques. Developing resilient, long-lasting, and self-healing fabrication materials along with novel actuation and sensing mechanisms is also an important research direction for soft robotics. Because of their structure, soft robots cannot use traditional robotic components, e.g., motors and rigid links. They are usually actuated using a pneumatic setup using air pressure regulation. The current actuation mechanisms are quite bulky, resulting in reduced portability of soft robots. Developing portable actuation mechanisms requires research attention.

This Special Issue is proposed to review the state-of-the-art development of recent years, introduce the current progress, and present a future roadmap for research related to soft robots. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dynamic response regulation for pneumatically actuated soft robots.
  • Dynamic model estimation for soft robotic systems.
  • Model-free techniques for the control of soft robots.
  • Analysis of the stability and robustness of dynamic control laws for soft robots.
  • Novel actuation mechanisms for soft robots.
  • Soft electronics-based sensing mechanisms for soft robots.
  • Adaptive control for real-time model estimation and control of soft robots.

We also highly recommend the submission of multimedia with each article, as it significantly increases the visibility, downloads, and citations of articles.

Dr. Ameer Hamza Khan
Prof. Dr. Shuai Li
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Rehan
Prof. Dr. Dechao Chen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • soft robotics
  • control theory
  • nonlinear models
  • 3D modeling
  • flexible robots

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Morphological Fabrication of Rubber Cutaneous Receptors Embedded in a Stretchable Skin-Mimicking Human Tissue by the Utilization of Hybrid Fluid
Sensors 2021, 21(20), 6834; - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 528
Sensors are essential in the haptic technology of soft robotics, which includes the technology of humanoids. Haptic sensors can be simulated by the mimetic organ of perceptual cells in the human body. However, there has been little research on the morphological fabrication of [...] Read more.
Sensors are essential in the haptic technology of soft robotics, which includes the technology of humanoids. Haptic sensors can be simulated by the mimetic organ of perceptual cells in the human body. However, there has been little research on the morphological fabrication of cutaneous receptors embedded in a human skin tissue utilizing artificial materials. In the present study, we fabricated artificial, cell-like cutaneous receptors embedded in skin tissue mimicking human skin structure by utilizing rubber. We addressed the fabrication of five cutaneous receptors (free nerve endings, Krause and bulbs, Meissner corpuscles, Pacinian corpuscles and Ruffini endings). In addition, we investigated the effectiveness of the fabricated tissue for mechanical and thermal sensing. At first, in the production of integrated artificial skin tissue, we proposed a novel magnetic, responsive, intelligent, hybrid fluid (HF), which is suitable for developing the hybrid rubber skin. Secondly, we presented the fabrication by utilizing not only the HF rubber but our previously proposed rubber vulcanization and adhesion techniques with electrolytic polymerization. Thirdly, we conducted a mechanical and thermal sensing touch experiment with the finger. As a result, it demonstrated that intelligence as a mechanoreceptor or thermoreceptor depends on its fabric: the HF rubber sensor mimicked Krause and bulbs has the thermal and pressing sensibility, and the one mimicked Ruffini endings the shearing sensibility. Full article
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