IEEE RoboSoft 2020 Workshop: Undergraduate Research Forum

IEEE RoboSoft 2020 Workshop: Undergraduate Research Forum
April 6, 2020
Yale University, New Haven, CT
Organizers: Kris L. Dorsey (Smith College) and John Rieffel (Union College)

This workshop seeks to provide a platform and showcase for undergraduate students to present their significant contributions to soft robotics research, establishing an opportunity for emerging researchers in the field to interact with the Soft Robotics community, gain mentors, and build professional networks. Student participants will have the opportunity to present their work through oral presentations and a poster session. Tutorials will provide hands-on experience with the fundamentals of fabricating soft robots. The event will also feature a panel discussion exploring how to use undergraduate robotics research as a launchpad for future career success.

IEEE RoboSoft provides a crucial forum for the dissemination and discussion of cutting-edge advances in the field. Typically the majority of conference participants are senior researchers and Ph.D. students. As a consequence, college undergraduates, who represent the emerging next generation of robotics researchers, are under-served by robotics conferences. The goal of this workshop is to provide a welcoming and accessible venue for undergraduate researchers to disseminate their own contributions. Additionally, this showcase will provide an opportunity for undergraduates to interact with “near peers” and senior researchers in soft robotics to seek mentorship and guidance for careers in STEM. The event will feature oral presentations and a poster session and will conclude with a panel discussion focused on how to leverage undergraduate robotics research into future success. An afternoon tutorial will provide hands-on experience with the fundamentals of fabricating soft robots.

Workshop Activities

  • Keynote: A graduate student will deliver a keynote talk about their work and its context within soft robotics.
  • Undergraduate Research Talk: Approximately six submissions will be accepted for short (15 minute) oral presentations of work, with ample follow-up time in order to solicit feedback and advice.
  • Fabrication Tutorials: The afternoon session will contain a two-track tutorial on techniques for soft robotics fabrication (mold making and 3D printing). Reynolds Advanced Materials has confirmed participation in the workshop.
  • Panel discussion: “Leveraging undergraduate robotics research into future success”  The organizers will guide an interactive panel discussion in which panelists provide advice around topics related to futures in robotics research and careers in STEM.
  • Poster reception and PI meet and greet: The poster session and meet and greet will give undergraduates an opportunity to meet and interact with PIs in soft robotics labs, particularly PIs interested in recruiting new students.
Abstract Submission and Dissemination
Undergraduate participants who would like to present their work should submit a two-page abstract (1 page of text and references, max 700 words, and 1 page of figures). All accepted abstracts, presentation slides, and posters will be published on the Workshop’s website, alongside a summary of the panel discussion (written by the organizers). If there is suitable interest, the organizers hope to also pursue the possibility of a journal special issue showcasing undergraduate research (e.g., in Journal of Undergraduate Research).

Important Links and Info:

  • Workshop Application Submission Form (note this does not register you for the conference)
  • Conference Website
  • Registration Page (requires IEEE Pin)
    • Early Registration: $70 IEEE Student Members, $120 student non-members (March 1 deadline)
    • Regular Registration: $100 IEEE Student Members, $150 student non-members (March 22 deadline)
    • Late Registration: $130 IEEE Student members, $180 student non-members (April 6 deadline)

Important Dates

March 1: Conference early registration deadline
March 2: 2 page abstracts from students are due to committee
March 9: Abstract authors are notified
March 22: deadline for regular registration
April 6: Workshop!


Tentative  schedule 


9-9:10: Welcome
9:10-9:45: Grad student talk
9:45-10:30: 3 ugrad talks
10:30-11:00 Break
11-13:00: Tutorials (Form Labs or Reynolds)
13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-14:45: 3 ugrad talks
14:45-16:00: Panel
16:00-16:30 Break
16:30-18:00: Poster session/meet and greet
18:20-20:00 Reception