ICRA 2018 Workshop

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[Accepted] Full-day Workshop on Ergonomic Physical Human-Robot Collaboration

May, 2018

Recently, one of the main focuses in robotics is to enable robots to effectively and safely collaborate with humans in industrial, medical and household settings. Several fundamental and important aspects of human-robot collaboration have already been addressed in recent workshops in the robotics community. However, one important aspect that has not been yet sufficiently addressed are ergonomic working conditions of the human during the physical human-robot collaboration.

The aspect of ergonomic working conditions of the human is extremely important in tasks that require manipulation of heavy objects, repetitive body movements and uncomfortable body poses. Working in such conditions may lead to excessive strain and injuries of human co-workers, and consequently have negative socioeconomic impacts. To avoid this the robots should be able to recognize any improper working conditions and then adapt their own behavior to improve the working conditions of the human co-workers. Such methods should prevent the above-mentioned work-related stress and injuries, and maintain a good health and productivity of the human workers. This is especially important in industry, but can be also applied to service robotics and rehabilitation robotics.

To achieve this, we need to improve and combine several crucial elements in the existing fields of robotics. The robot must know the status of the human body; the limitations of human motor control; and the human response to challenging tasks. For this purpose the robot needs accurate dynamic models of humans that can e.g. be used to understand how the human joints should be reconfigured to provide less stressful conditions. In addition, the robot must be able to monitor the motion and other states of the human to know when and how to assist. Therefore, various sensory devices are necessary (either on the robot side or wearable by the human). Finally, the robot should possess an appropriate control framework and learning capabilities to be able to control and adapt its own behavior in order to help the human co-worker in achieving more ergonomic working conditions.

The goal of the workshop is to (1) bring together top experts in human-robot collaboration control/learning, human modelling/monitoring and ergonomics, (2) discuss the state-of-art, and (3) lay down promising future research directions that will lead to ergonomic human-robot collaboration

The questions we want to address

  1. How to improve the existing modeling of the human and effectively apply it to achieve ergonomic human-robot collaboration?
  2. What sensory and feedback systems are required?
  3. Are the existing control methods sufficient to enable the robot to facilitate the ergonomic working conditions of the human, and what control methods are most suitable?
  4. How can robot learning methods be utilized to this end?
  5. What are the challenges in achieving the proposed goal in different applications (i.e. industrial human-robot collaboration, wearable robots, service robots, etc.)?


Physical Human-Robot Collaboration, Ergonomics, Human Modelling, Physical Interaction Control, Adaptation and Learning, Industrial Robots, Exoskeleton Robots, Service Robots, Wearable Sensors, Feedback Devices, Shared Control


We will welcome prospective participants to submit extended abstracts (up to 4 pages) to be presented as posters. The manuscripts should use the IEEE ICRA two-column format. A PDF copy of the manuscript should be submitted through our EasyChair platform. Each paper will receive a minimum of two reviews. Papers will be selected based on their originality, relevance to the workshop topics, contributions, technical clarity, and presentation. Accepted papers require that at least one of the authors register for the workshop.

Submission website


Important dates

  • Submission deadline for extended abstracts: 1st February 2018
  • Notification of acceptance: 1st March, 2018


The date will be announced soon (either 21. or 25. May).

Time Description
08.30 - 09.00 Introduction by the organizers
09.00 - 09.30 Talk by Prof. Dana Kulić
09.30 - 10.00 Talk by Dr. Eiichi Yoshida
10.00 - 11.00 Coffee Break & Poster session
11.00 - 11.30 Talk by Prof. Jan Babič
11.30 - 12.00 Talk by Prof. Gentiane Venture
12.00 - 12.30 Talk by Prof. Neville Hogan
12.30 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 14.30 Talk by Dr. Dongjin Hyun
14.30 - 15.00 Talk by Prof. Conor Walsh
15.00 - 15.30 Talk by Dr. Arash Ajoudani
15.30 - 16.00  Coffee Break
16.00 - 16.30 Talk by Prof. Heni Ben Amor
16.30 - 17.00 Talk by Prof. Sami Haddadin
17.00 - 17.30 Talk by Prof. Jens Kober
17.30 - 18.30 Round Table Discussions


Luka peternel

Luka Peternel, Post Doc

Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

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Luka Peternel is a post-doctoral researcher at Human-Robot Interfaces and Physical Interaction Lab, Advanced Robotics, Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy from 2015. He received a Ph.D. in robotics from Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2015. He conducted Ph.D. studies at Department of Automation, Biocybernetics and Robotics, Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana from 2011 to 2015 and at Department of Brain-Robot Interface, ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan in 2013 and 2014. His research areas include: Human-in-the-Loop Robot Control, Physical Human-Robot Interaction, Exoskeleton Control and Human Motor Control.
Wansoo Kim

Wansoo Kim, Post Doc

Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

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Wansoo Kim is a Post-Doc. at Human-Robot Interfaces and Physical Interaction Lab., Italian Institute of Technology, Italy from 2016. He received a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Hanyang University, Korea in 2015 (Intergrated MS/PhD program). He has developed several exoskeleton systems such as HEXAR-Hanyang Exoskeleton Assistive Robot, and conducted research on the control of the powered exoskeleton robot through the physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) forces. His PhD thesis is entitled “Human Synchronized Gait Control of the HEXAR-CR50 to Augment Lower Body Strength Based on the Human-Robot Interaction Force”. His research interests are in physical human-robot interaction(pHRI), human-robot collaboration, and powered exoskeleton robot.
Jens Kober

Jens Kober, Assistant Professor

TU Delft, Netherlands

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Jens Kober is an assistant professor at the TU Delft, Netherlands. He worked as a postdoctoral scholar jointly at the CoR-Lab, Bielefeld University, Germany and at the Honda Research Institute Europe, Germany. He graduated in 2012 with a PhD Degree in Engineering from TU Darmstadt. For his research he received the annually awarded Georges Giralt PhD Award for the best PhD thesis in robotics in Europe. From 2007-2012 he was working with Jan Peters as a masters student and subsequently as a PhD student at the Robot Learning Lab, Department Bernhard Schölkopf, Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (formerly part of the MPI for Biological Cybernetics). He has been a visiting research student at the Advanced Telecommunication Research (ATR) Center, Japan and an intern at Disney Research Pittsburgh, USA. His research interests include robotics, machine learning, and control.

Heni Ben Amor

Heni Ben Amor, Assistant Professor

Arizona State University, USA

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Heni Ben Amor is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University where he leads the ASU Interactive Robotics Laboratory. Prior to that, he was a Research Scientist at the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at GeorgiaTech in Atlanta. Heni studied Computer Science at the University of Koblenz-Landau (GER) and earned a Ph.D in robotics from the Technical University Freiberg and the University of Osaka in 2010 where he worked with Hiroshi Ishiguro and Minoru Asada. Before moving to the US, Heni was a postdoctoral scholar at the Technical University Darmstadt working with Jan Peters. Heni's research topics focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, human-robot interaction, robot vision, and automatic motor skill acquisition. He received the highly competitive Daimler-and-Benz Fellowship as well as several best paper awards at major robotics and AI conferences. He is also in the program committee of various AI and robotics conferences such as AAAI, IJCAI, IROS, and ICRA.

Eiichi Yoshida

Eiichi Yoshida, Senior Research Scientist

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan

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Received degree of B.E, M.E and Dr. Eng. from Dept. of Precision Machinery Engineering, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo, in 1990, 1993, and 1996 respectively. Meanwhile, joined the Department of Microtechnique at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne (EPFL) (1990-1991). Joined former Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (MEL) on April 1996, From 2001- :Senior Research Scientist at Distributed System Design Research Group, Intellignent Systems Institute, AIST Feb 2004 Automous Behavior Control Resaerch Group, Intellignent Systems Institute, AIST Until July 2009: AIST/IS-CNRS/STIC Joint Japanese-French Robotics Laboratory (JRL) Co-Director (LRV Paris, LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse, France) Dec 2008: CNRS-AIST JRL (Joint Robotics Laboratory), UMI3218/CRT Apr 2009: Co-Director, CNRS-AIST JRL (Joint Robotics Laboratory), UMI3218/CRT

Neville Hogan

Neville Hogan, Professor

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

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Neville Hogan is currently the Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Invited Speakers

  • Dr. Arash Ajoudani

    Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

    Expert in physical human-robot collaboration

  • Prof. Jan Babič

    Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia

    Expert in human motor control and ergonomics

  • Prof. Sami Haddadin

    University of Hannover, Germany

    Expert in safety and control of physical human-robot interaction

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    Hyundai Motor Company, Korea

    Expert in exoskeleton robots

  • Prof. Dana Kulić

    University of Waterloo, Canada

    Expert in human movement understanding

  • Prof. Gentiane Venture

    Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan

    Expert in human and humanoid modelling

  • Prof. Conor Walsh

    Harvard University, USA

    Expert in wearable robotics


The following IEEE-RAS Technical Committees have acknowledged the full support of the proposed workshop:

  1. IEEE RAS TC on Human Movement Understanding.
    Co-chairs: Dr. Emel Demircan, Prof. Dana Kulic, Prof. Dany Oetomo, and Prof. Mitsu Hayashibe
  2. IEEE RAS TC on Human Robot Interaction and Coordination.
    Co-chairs: Prof. Filippo Cavallo, Prof. David Feil-Seifer, and Prof. Yoshio Matsumoto
  3. IEEE RAS TC on Wearable Robotics.
    Co-chairs: Prof. Samer Mohammed, Prof. Juan C. Moreno, Prof. Thomas Sugar, and Prof. Yasuhisa Hasegwa 
  4. IEEE RAS TC on Humanoid Robotics.
    Co-chairs: Dr. Katsu Yamane, Prof. Aude Billard, Prof. Tomomichi Sugihara
  5. IEEE RAS TC on Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics.
    Co-chairs: Prof. Machiel Van Der Loos, Prof. Takanori Shibata, and Prof. Stefano Mazzoleni
  6. IEEE RAS TC on Robot Learning.
    Co-chairs: Prof. Ross Knepper, Prof. Jens Kober, and Prof. Wataru Takano