A full day workshop on 1 October 2018 at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)


This workshop is supported by IEEE/RAS Technical Committees on:

  •  Robotic Hand, Grasping and Manipulation,
  • Mobile Manipulation,
  • Cognitive Robotics, and
  • Robot Learning.

If you require further information on support/endorsement for this workshop, please email: a.ghalamzanesfahani@bham.ac.uk

Task-Informed Grasping (TIG) for rigid and deformable object manipulation


Smart grasping and manipulation (i.e. making stable contacts on an object's surface and acting smartly on it) are crucial for robots functioning in our society. Recent advances in robotic grasping have shown promising results; however, for making robots see, perceive, decide and act in a way a human or a primate does, many challenges still need to be addressed. Cognitive science revealed that primates anticipate the outcome of grasping actions. This permits successful manipulation of deformable and rigid-body objects. For instance, to tie a knot or simultaneous manipulation and cutting a deformable tissue during medical procedures, a human predicts that grasping parts of the deformable object enables successful task completion. Indeed, scientists have shown these smart anticipatory grasping and object coordination- i.e. Task-Informed Grasping (TIG)- is mostly performed based on the (i) optimal affordance, (ii) minimum spending energy, and (iii) providing maximum reachability along an intended trajectory. To better integrate robots into our society, TIG must be properly understood and addressed to mimic human predictive grasp planning.

Topics of interest include (but not limited to):

  • Deep learning for task-informed grasping
  • Affordance informed grasping
  • Safety informed grasping
  • Grasping with minimum energy manipulation
  • Grasping enables collision free manipulative motions
  • Task-informed Human Grasping: challenges of rigid-body and deformable object manipulation,
  • Grasping and manipulation in robotic surgery
  • Challenges of Human-Robot collaborative manipulation,
  • TIG suitable for Human-Robot collaborative manipulation,
  • Challenges of TIG in the context of teleoperation and/or mixed/shared control,
  • Challenges of grasp learning and computing grasp quality metric suitable for TIG,
  • TIG and manipulator Kinematic/dynamics (KD), e.g. how KD during manipulative actions affects TIG?
  • TIG in the context of soft-tissue (deformable object) manipulation,
  • Challenges of grasp planning for manipulating deformable objects,
  • TIG by soft/continuum robots,

Submission guidelines:

Submissions are welcome in any of the two categories:

  1. extended abstract (Maximum 2 pages): new ideas on Task-informed grasping and/or late-breaking results;
  2. full paper (maximum 6 pages in): will be accepted based on their quality, originality, and relevance to the workshop. Authors of selected papers may be asked to submit extended versions of their papers for an RA-L special issue. Submitted papers should not be under consideration for publication anywhere else.

Submission of papers and review process will be handled through EasyChair conference management system. Submissions should follow the IROS format. Please submit your contributed paper as well as extended abstract on Easychair and also email them to workshop.tig@gmail.com by the following deadline.

Important dates: 

  • Papers submission deadline: July 15th, 2018
  • Acceptance Notification: July 30th, 2018
  • Camera Ready deadline: September 1st, 2018
  • Registration deadline: see IROS web site
  • Workshop date: October 1st, 2018

Confirmed Speakers


Professor Aude Billard: Director of Learning Algorithm and Systems Laboratory (LASA) EPFL, Switzerland 

Talk: Modeling skilfull bimanual manipulation in humans 

Abstract: This talk describes efforts to model the acquisition of fine bimanual manipulation skills in watch making and at transferring these skills in similar competences for robots.

Bio: TBDbrock-medium-cropped

Professor Oliver Brock: Director of Robotic and Biology Lab at TU Berlin, Germany

Talk: The Benefits of Staying in Touch: From Soft Manipulation to In-Hand Manipulation

Abstract: TBD

Bio: Oliver Brock is the Alexander-von-Humboldt Professor of Robotics in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Technische Technische Universität Berlin Berlin in Germany. He received his Diploma in Computer Science in 1993 from the Technische Technische Universität Berlin Berlin and his Master's and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1994 and 2000, respectively. He also held post-doctoral positions at Rice University and Stanford University. Starting in 2002, he was an Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, before to moving back to the Technische Technische Universität Berlin Berlin in 2009. The research of Brock's lab, the Robotics and Biology Laboratory, focuses on mobile manipulation, interactive perception, grasping, manipulation, soft material robotics, interactive machine learning, deep learning, motion generation, and the application of algorithms and concepts from robotics to computational problems in structural molecular biology. He is the president of the Robotics: Science and Systems foundation.

Tentative time: afternoon


Professor Jeremy Wyatt, Professor of Computer Science and Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CNCR) at the Univrsity of Birmingham. 



Bio: He was the Project Coordinator for the FP7 funded project PacMan on robot manipulation and CogX project on robots that plan and learn in the face of knowledge gaps. He worked in the project Strands on long term autonomy and spatial temporal mapping, and He was part of the projects GeRT on robot manipulation, and CoSy on Cognitive Robotics.

sami1Professor Dr.-Ing. Sami Haddadin, Director of the Institute of Automatic Control, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany





Professor Alberto Rodriguez, Assistant Professor, Director of Manipulation and Mechanisms Laboratory (MCube) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA





Professor Dmitry Berenson, Assistant Professor, Director of Autonomous robotic Manipulation Lab Laboratory at University of Michigan, USA

Talk: What Matters for Deformable Object Manipulation?


Bio: Dmitry Berenson received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in 2005 and received his Ph.D. degree from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in 2011, where he was supported by an Intel PhD Fellowship. He completed a post-doc at UC Berkeley in 2012 and was an Assistant Professor at WPI 2012-2016. He started as an Assistant Professor in the EECS Department and Robotics Institute at the University of Michigan in 2016. He has received the IEEE RAS Early Career award and the NSF CAREER award.

Tentsative time: afternoon


Professor Robert Platt Jr., Assistant Professor, Director of the Helping Hands Laboratory at Northeastern University, USA





Dr. David Navarro-Alarcon, Assistant Professor of Robotics, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong



Bio:Dr David Navarro-Alarcon received his PhD degree in mechanical and automation engineering in 2014 from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where he afterwards worked as a Postdoctoral fellow in soft object manipulation, and then as a Research Assistant Professor with the Medical Robotics Group of the T Stone Robotics Institute. Since July 2017, he works as an Assistant Professor of Robotics at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). His current research interests include shape/deformation servoing of soft objects, uncalibrated algorithms for sensor-guided robots, and multimodal methodologies for servo-control. Dr Navarro-Alarcon is an Associate Editor of the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Specialty Section on Soft Robotics, is the co-organiser of two previous IROS workshops (2016 and 2017) on “Multimodal Sensor-Based Robot Control”, has been a Guest Editor of a Special Issue along at the journal of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and is currently the organiser of a new IROS 2018 Special Session on "Methods and Algorithms for Manipulation of Deformable Objects". He is a member of the IEEE and the Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).

Tentative time: before noon


Dr. Fanny Ficuciello, Associate Professor, senior member of PRISMA Lab (Projects of Robotics for Industry and Services, Mechatronics and Automation), Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy

Talk: Grasping and Manipulation in Surgical Tasks

ABSTRACT: Besides humanoid robots and prosthetics applications, other areas such as the minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery could benefit by the use of suitably designed hands able to enter the patient?s body through the trocar and to replace the hands of the surgeon by equaling dexterity and sensory ability at the same time. Common forceps used in robotic systems like the daVinci robot have limited dexterity and lack of sensors to measure interaction forces. Therefore, traditional laparoscopic surgery is affected by the need of new instruments to facilitate surgical manoeuvres. In this work, we want to make a step forward towards robotic solutions that can improve the manipulation capabilities of the surgical instruments up to the adoption of artificial hands in the surgical field where the use of anthropomorphic prehensile devices can make the difference.

Bio: Fanny Ficuciello received the Laurea degree magna cum laude in Mechanical Engineering and the Ph.D. degree in Computer and Automation Engineering both at University of Naples Federico II in 2007 and 2010 respectively. From September 2009 to March 2010 she was a visiting scholar in the Control Engineering Group at the University of Twente, The Netherlands. Currently, she is Assistant Professor of Industrial Bioengineering at the University of Naples Federico II. Her research activities are focused on biomechanical design and bio-aware control strategies for anthropomorphic artificial hands, grasping and manipulation with hand/arm and dual arm robotic systems, human-robot interaction control, variable impedance control and redundancy resolution strategies. Recently, she is involved in surgical robotics research projects, as a member of the ICAROS centre (Interdepartmental Center for Advances in Robotic Surgery) of University of Naples Federico II. She is the recipient of a National Grant within the "Programma STAR Linea 1" under which she is the PI of the MUSHA project. She is responsible for the research objective "MRI-TRUS fusion algorithms and control strategies for a robot-assisted biopsy" for the national project "Bioptic Advanced Robotic Technologies in OncoLOgy - B.A.R.T.O.LO". Since 2008 she is a Member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, and a Senior Member since 2017. Since 2018 she is in the Technology Committee of the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery (EAES). She is involved in the organization of international conferences and workshops. Currently, she serves as Associate Editor of Journal of Intelligent Service Robotics (JIST).roa1

Dr. Maximo A. Roa, Research Scientist at Institut für Robotik und Mechatronik (DLR)




Main Organiser

Amir Masoud Ghalamzan Esfahani, Ph.D. 
Research Fellow at Extreme Robotic Lab, Elms Rd, School of Metallurgy and Materials
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, Westmidland B15 2SE, The United Kingdom


Farshid Alambeigi, PhD candidate 
School of Mechanical Engineering
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

Sahba Aghajani Pedram, PhD candidate 
Bionic Lab
University of California, Los Angeles 
CA 90095, USA 

Renaud Detry, Ph.D.
Research scientistJet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) - NASA
M/S 198-219 
4800 Oak Grove Drive 
Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

Veronica J. Santos, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor
Director of Biomechatronic Lab
University of California, Los Angeles
CA 90095, USA

Rustam Stolkin, Ph.D.
Chair of robotics 
Director of Extreme Robotic Lab 
University of Birmingham, The United Kingdom