ICRA 2023 Full-Day Workshop

Soft Growing Robots: From Search-and-Rescue to Intraluminal Interventions

Monday 29th May 2023
Location: South Gallery Room 24, ExCel Exhibition Centre, London, UK

Conference website: Link


 Growing robots are inspired by the ability of vine plants to navigate via growth. They demonstrate unique capabilities such as tip extension, maneuvrability in narrow openings or complex environments, and the possibility of passing tools along a hollow central channel or via a functionalized tip. Example applications for these robots include medical robotics for minimally invasive surgery, search-and-rescue, archaeological inspection, burrowing, and also plant monitoring.

However, with the topic being relatively new, many challenges associated with their design, sensing, perception, modelling and control have been identified along the way. It has been frequently demonstrated that growing robots have limited steerability, complex control, non-trivial quasistatic and dynamic modelling, while they risk buckling and deforming as they extend to greater lengths. Their miniaturisation and fit-for-purpose design and manufacturing represent additional complexities for this class of robots. These challenges make growing robots a fascinating research topic but hinder their deployment in real-world applications. Inspiration to address them can be found in adjacent domains, such in industry for pipeline repair, and a commonly used approach called trenching.

In this workshop, we will bring together industrial and academic experts to discuss the challenges they have faced, the solutions they have created, and the remaining questions that must be addressed to enable real-world deployment of growing robots. Their seminars will cover design limitations as well as the modelling and control challenges. Additionally, the academic experts will discuss the requirements and features of their robots. By cross-referencing both the features and limitations, we aim to facilitate discussions that move the field forward and catalyse the development of new models, controllers and manufacturing approaches for soft growing robots. Furthermore, the in-depth seminars and discussions will give those who are new to the field an insight into the topic and inspire the next generation of students and early career researchers.

With this being at the forefront of our minds, we aim to bring together experts in the field to answer the following questions:  


The workshop comprises 20-minute seminars followed by 10-minute Q&As per speaker, covered over 4 sessions:


We will feature poster presentations, with three £400, £300, and £200 prizes kindly supported by MathWorks, during coffee and lunch breaks. 2-minute teasers will also be presented during the end of the workshop.

We invite authors with an accepted abstract submission to submit their final poster and video teaser using the following link:
"Submission Link"

Final submission guidelines


The workshop will conclude with an open discussion between the panelists and attendees to review the presented insights and discuss potential solutions.


-  Workshop Opening -
8:45 - 9:00: Christos Bergeles- King's College London, UK
"Eversion Growing Robots: State-of-the-art"

-  Growing Robot Concept & Bioinspiration -
9:00 - 9:25: Barbara Mazzolai- Italian Institute of Technology, Italy
"Adaptable morphing soft robots for sustainable monitoring "
9:25 - 9:50: Cem Süülker- Queen Mary University of London, UK
"Vine Robots: Pushing the Boundaries of Robot Locomotion with Eversion"
9:50 - 10:15: Jee-Hwan Ryu- Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea
"Soft Growing Robots: From Disaster Response to Colonoscopy"
10:15 - 10:40: Pierre Berthet-Rayne & Flavie Przybylski- CARANX Medical, France
"Growing robots in endovascular surgery: from Lab to cadaver"

10:40 - 11:00: Coffee Break & Poster Session

-  Growing Robot Sensing & Perception -
11:00 - 11:25: Allison Okamura- Stanford University, USA
"Vine Robots: Growing and Sensing in Constrained Environments"
11:25 - 11:50: Margaret Coad- University of Notre Dame, USA
“Thinking Distributed: Vine Robot Shape Sensing, Force Sensing, and Collapse Modeling"
11:50 - 12:45: Poster Spotlight and Poster Viewing

12:45 - 14:00: Lunch Break & Poster Session

-  Growing Robot Modelling & Control -
14:00 - 14:25: Laura Blumenschein- Purdue University, USA
"Explaining Growing Robot Motion through Geometric Simplification"
14:25 - 14:50: Evren Samur- Bogazici University, Turkey
"A Growing Soft Robot for Flexible Endoscopy: Design, Modeling and Evaluation"
14:50 - 15:15: S.M.Hadi Sadati- King's College London, UK
"Growing Robot Modelling: Quasi-statics, Reduced-Order, and Finite Element Dynamics"

15:15 - 15:45: Coffee Break & Poster Session

-  Growing Robot Application -
15:45 - 16:10: Tania Morimoto- University of California San Diego, USA
"Vine Growing Robots for Medical Applications: Design and Miniaturization"
16:10 - 16:35: Christos Bergeles- King's College London, UK
"MAMMOBOT: Growing Robots for the Exploration of the Mammary Duct"
16:35 - 17:00: Robert Katzschmann- ETH Zurich, Switzerland
"Search & Rescue Growing Robots"
17:00 - 17:25: Moiz Khan- MathWorks, US
"Novel Surgical Planning Algorithms for Concentric Tube Robots"

-  Panel Discussion & Closure -
17:30 - 18:00: Tania Morimoto- University of California San Diego, USA
"Panel Discussion: Past, Present & Future"
18:00 - 18:10: Christos Bergeles- King's College London, UK
"Closing Remarks & Poster Awards"

Posters & MathWorks' Awards

[1] Bergeles, C. et al "A Minimally-Invasive Soft-Robot-Assisted Deep-Brain Theraputics Delivery System for Neurological Disorders: Concept and Architecture"
[2] Margheri, L. et al "GrowBot: Towards a New Generation of Plant-Inspired Growing Artefacts"
[3] Park, S. et al "Elevation of Mobile Robot Using Soft Growing Robot"
[4] Babarahmati, K. et al. "A Novel Extensible Flexible Arm for Robotic Manipulation"
[5] Flavie, P.  et al. "3D Kinematics and Quasi-Statics of a Growing Robot Eversion"
[6] Süülker, C. et al. "Soft Cap for Eversion Robots"
[7] Mack, T. et al. "Eversion Robots for Mapping Radiation in Pipes"
[8] Wu, Z. et al. "Vision-Guided Autonomous Steering of a Miniature Eversion Growing Robot Based on Mechanics Modelling"
[9] Girerd, C. et al. "Miniaturized Vine Robots with Working Channels"


Christos Bergeles

Associate Professor, King's College London

Email: christos.bergeles@kcl.ac.uk

Tania Morimoto

Assistant Professor, University of California San Diego

Email: tkmorimoto@eng.ucsd.edu

S.M.Hadi Sadati

Research Fellow, King's College London    

Email:       smh_sadati@kcl.ac.uk

Zicong Wu

PhD Student, Robotics and Vision in Medicine (RViM) Lab, King's College London

Email: zicong.wu@kcl.ac.uk

Shamsa Al Harthy

Research Assistant, Robotics and Vision in Medicine (RViM) Lab, King's College London

Email: shamsa.al_harthy@kcl.ac.uk



The workshop poster call features three £400, £300, and £200 awards, kindly supported in part by MathWorks, US.


The workshop poster call features three £100 awards, kindly supported in part by the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Science, King's College London, UK.

(NIHR) Cardiovascular MedTech Co-operative

The organizers of the workshop acknowledge support from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) MedTech Co-operative award for Cardiovascular Diseases to Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London.