3rd Workshop on Representing and Manipulating Deformable Objects @ ICRA2023

Clothes, food, cables, and body tissue are just a few examples of deformable objects (DO) involved in both everyday and specialized tasks. Although humans are able to reliably manipulate them, automating this process using robotic platforms is still unsolved. Indeed, the high number of degrees of freedom involved in DOs undermines the effectiveness of traditional modelling, planning and control methods developed for rigid object manipulation. This paves the way for exciting questions from a research and application perspective. i) How to tractably represent the state of a deformable object? ii) How to model and simulate its highly complex and non-linear dynamics? iii) What hardware tools and platforms are best suited for grasping and manipulating? We aim to discuss these and more challenges that arise from handling deformable objects by connecting scientists from different subfields of robotics, including perception, simulation, control, and mechanics. Following the previous editions of the workshop at ICRA 2021 and ICRA 2022, the objective for the proposed third edition is to further identify promising research directions and analyze current state-of-the-art solutions with an emphasis on highlighting recent results since the 2022 workshop. We plan to facilitate this through invited talks and will foster new collaborations to connect young researchers with senior ones.

The workshop will be held in hybrid mode




The workshop aims to explore different aspects that will potentially allow robots to autonomously manipulate deformable objects in the near future. Enabling such manipulation is crucial for a variety of domains and tasks, e.g., domestic, industrial and surgical contexts, which involve various forms of object deformability. However, the complexity of representing and modeling the dynamics of these objects results in the lack of a current unified solution that can be adapted to a wide range of objects. Specifically, the workshop will focus on, but is not limited to, the following topics for deformable object manipulation:

  • Representation and state estimation
  • Simulation and modeling
  • Transfer from simulation to reality
  • Learning to manipulate using data-driven methods such as reinforcement learning and learning from demonstrations
  • Perception: state tracking, parameter identification, property detection (e.g. landmarks for garments) and classification, etc.
  • Control, visual servoing and planning
  • Specialized tools, e.g. grippers, and sensors
  • Multi-arm manipulation
  • Application-specific challenges: cloth folding, surgical tasks, precision agriculture, etc.

Schedule - TBA

Call for papers

We invite participants to submit extended abstracts 3+n pages, with n pages (no page-limit) for the bibliography, in the IEEE conference style.

Submissions will be reviewed by experts of their respective field. The accepted abstracts will be made available on the workshop website but will not appear in the official IEEE conference proceedings. Participants are encouraged to submit their recent work on the topics of interest mentioned above. Contributions are encouraged, but are not required, to be original.

The review process will be single-blind, meaning the submitted paper does not need to be anonymized.

Abstracts can be submitted through Microsoft CMT: https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/WDOICRA2023.

Important dates:

  • Submission Deadline: 10.04.2023 (23:59 PST)
  • Notification date: 30.04.2023 (23:59 PST)
  • Final submission: 14.05.2023 (23:59 PST)
  • Workshop date: 29.05.2023

Invited Speakers (alphabetical order)

  • Yiannis Demiris, Professor, Imperial College London, UK
  • Elena De Momi, Professor, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Nima Fazeli, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, USA
  • Yunzhu Li, Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford, USA
  • Yashraj Narang (tentative), Senior Research Scientist, NVIDIA, USA
  • Jia Pan, Assistant Professor, University of Hong Kong, China
  • Carme Torras, Professor, Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial, Spain
  • Jihong Zhu, Assistant Professor, University of York, UK

Organizers (alphabetical order)

  • Daniel Seita, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Martina Lippi, Roma Tre University, Italy
  • Michael C. Welle, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Fangyi Zhang, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia


  • Hang Yin, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Danica Kragic, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Alessandro Marino, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy
  • David Held, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Peter Corke, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia


If you have any questions please contact Daniel Seita at the email: dseita AT andrew DOT cmu DOT edu