Organized by Jan Peters and Ditzia Susana García Morales, the full-day workshop Soft Robots for Humanity at this year's International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Kyoto was an exciting event that attracted many participants in-person and online. The workshop aimed to identify current applications for soft robotic systems and highlight the opportunities for soft robots shaping a symbiotic society and a better world of tomorrow.
At the beginning of the second funding period, we organized the first Summer School at the PZH of Leibniz Universität Hannover on September 26 and 27 to familiarize ourselves with the new projects and research work of our team members and to share our research topics with each other.
The second funding period will focus on specifying the advantages of soft material systems, with particular emphasis on intrinsic material compliance and additional built-in functionality such as sensing, actuation and transformation capabilities. This highly interdisciplinary programmme seeks to improve the possibilities of technology transfer and the exchange of mutual knowledge.
The Soft Material Robotics Systems SPP2100 priority program funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) is sponsoring five young researchers (who are not authors of accepted IROS 2022 papers) from underrepresented backgrounds to participate in the Soft Robots for Humanity workshop at the IEEE/RSJ 2022 International Conference on Robots and Intelligent Systems (IROS 2022) on October 23 - 27, 2022 in Kyoto, Japan.
The follow up to the series of successful general assemblies of the SPP2100 priority programme was organized for the third time in the beautiful city of Cologne, from 28th to 31st March, 2022. More than 40 researchers from 13 university groups were present in person at the conference, a contrast from the hybrid conference last year. Throughout the four days, the researchers had the chance to engage in valuable information exchanges and take a well-deserved break from their labs and enjoy the beautiful weather and the company of their colleagues in Cologne.
Following a successful first general assembly last year, the second general assembly of the SPP2100 programme was planned this year in the beautiful city of Leipzig from 5th to 8th July. With the current restrictions in mind, it was planned as a hybrid event that allowed more than 50 researchers from 13 universities from all over Germany to join virtually or in person. Throughout the four days, the researchers had the chance to engage in valuable information exchanges and break free from their labs and enjoy the beautiful weather in Leipzig.
The SPP 2100 programme is a collaboration between thirteen university groups within Germany, each group hosting at least two or more PhD students. Once a year, a meeting is organized to exchange ideas and updates among different groups, usually followed by a few soft skills workshops. While this meeting is usually held in person and allows the PhD students to take a break from the labs and meet their colleagues from all over the country, this year the process was different, owing to the ongoing restrictions.
In the modern world, gender inequality and diversity are topics often met with resistance to some degree. Statistics show an upward trend in the number of female PhD holders, and their representation in academia, specially in STEM, is on a path of progress, even if a little slow.
As soft robotics is becoming one of the most important and interesting fields of science, it is crucial now more than ever to introduce this field to the young scientists and researchers and to encourage them to pursue the field, in order to bring it to the heights it is more than capable of rising to. The soft robotics team at match had this ultimate objective in mind as they conducted the first workshop on Soft Robotics for the students of Leibniz University on 3rd December 2020.