Robot Design and Customization: Opportunities at the Intersection of Computation and Digital Fabrication

2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Full-day Workshop
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Montreal, Canada


New advances in digital fabrication have increased our ability to create complex geometric structures with an ever-expanding range of materials (rigid, compliant, conductive, etc.) and are increasingly accessible to non-experts. At the same time, computational design tools offer a tremendous opportunity to facilitate robot design by encoding structural, control, or fabrication constraints during the design cycle, enabling roboticists to navigate the vast design spaces enabled by digital fabrication. The combination of these two promises new robot forms and capabilities, further expanding the applications and performance of future robots.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together the robotics, rapid fabrication, and computational design communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities in custom robot design. The workshop is centered around two major questions:

  1. How can computational approaches enhance workflow and facilitate the design and rapid prototyping of robots?
  2. How can new materials and manufacturing approaches lead to uniform processes for fabricating robots on-demand?

Invited Speakers (to be updated)

Call for Abstracts

We invite participants to submit 1-2 page abstracts on visionary ideas or recent results in robot design and customization. Accepted abstracts will be featured in spotlight presentations (5-10 min. vignettes) or demos/posters. We particularly welcome live or hands-on demos.

Submitted abstracts should use the IEEE two-column conference format available on their website and be sent as an email attachment to with the subject line “Abstract submission: 2019 Workshop on Robot Design and Customization.”

Participants will also have the opportunity to contribute to a special issue in Robotica related to the topics of this workshop.

Topics of interest include:

  • Programmable fabrication:
    • Novel rapid fabrication methods for intelligent machines
    • Personalized mechanisms and robotics
    • Soft and compliant machines
  • Computational design:
    • Characterization, modeling, and design of printable structures
    • Hardware/software co-design and optimization
    • Morphological intelligence
  • End-to-end systems for robot design and fabrication:
    • Interactive robot design systems
    • Programmable matter
    • Fabrication-aware design

Important Dates
Abstract submission deadline: April 15, 2019
Abstract notification: April 22, 2019
Final abstract submission: May 6, 2019

Questions can be directed to

Tentative Schedule (to be updated)

8:45 am Welcoming Remarks
Morning Session
9:00 am Talks and Vignettes
11:00 am Posters and Demos
12:00 pm Lunch
Afternoon Session
1:00 pm Talks and Vignettes
4:00 pm Posters and Demos
5:00 pm Adjourn

Workshop Organizers

  • Cynthia Sung, University of Pennsylvania
  • Stelian Coros, ETH Zürich
  • Robert MacCurdy, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Mark Yim, University of Pennsylvania