Advances in robot manipulation of clothes and flexible objects workshop

to be held in conjunction with the

2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2014)

May 31 – June 7, 2014  Hong Kong, China


The problem of manipulating and handling deformable and flexible objects is a great challenge for the development of robots capable of performing actions usually carried out by humans during common tasks in industrial as well as during daily housekeeping activities. Manipulation of cables (e.g. in outdoor/indoor construction sites, during rescue operations, for cable harnessing assembly tasks etc.), pouring of liquids, manipulation of clothes (e.g. for sorting items in a laundry heap, ironing and folding just to name a few), textiles, paper or cardboard (e.g. for packaging operations) are just few examples of tasks where future robots could play a significant role. As a matter of fact the technical challenges related to the manipulation of flexible objects are many and involve new and advanced modeling, sensing, actuation planning and control technologies and therefore can be properly addressed by coordinating research among different scientific domains.

The objective of the workshop is to provide an assessment of the results of ongoing research projects in this area in Europe, USA and Japan, and also to highlight the major emerging research issues.
The workshop will focus on the general aspects related to the manipulation of flexible objects and the contribution of speakers will highlight as much as possible all the major emerging issues related to this family of tasks. The problem of handling and manipulating of flexible objects could emerge in many application domains and involve different technologies. From this standpoint the Workshop is expected to be a forum for researchers working in the areas of: vision, planning, grasping, manipulation and interaction control, haptics, robot design, human-robot interaction, cognitive robotics, AI etc..

Talks will provide in-depth description of the major recent research achievements. A final round table discussion involving the participants to the Workshop is also planned to highlight the emerging issues related to the manipulation of flexible objects and the perspective for the application of these techniques in real world industrial and service applications.


The Workshop will cover, but will not be limited, to the following main areas:

  • Sensing and modeling issues for the manipulation of flexible objects including: visual based recognition and classification of flexible objects, touch based recognition of specific features in textiles, modelling of deformable objects and model based algorithms for flexible object recognition.
  • Visual and touch based coordinated robot control (including bi-manual coordination) for the execution of complex tasks (e.g folding, regrasping and re-orienting flexible objects).
  • Technological aspects including: gripper design for advanced manipulation of flexible objects, tactile transduction devices for textiles, embedded solutions etc..


Giorgio Cannata, University of Genova, Italy
Sotiris Malassiotis, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Greece
Vaclav Hlavac, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic