4th Workshop on Representing and Manipulating Deformable Objects @ ICRA2024

Deformable objects (DOs) are ubiquitous in human environments. From food, clothes, cables, to body tissues, DOs are present in personal households, industrial environments, agricultural settings, and hospital rooms, to mention a few. Despite the ease humans can reliably manipulate them, they still pose a major challenge for robotics. Specifically, we identify the following open questions within the research community: i) How can we feasibly represent the state of a deformable object? ii) How do we accurately model and simulate its complex and non-linear dynamics? iii) Which hardware tools and platforms are most suitable for grasping and manipulating them? In continuation of the workshops held at ICRA in 2021, 2022, and 2023, we aim to once again gather the community in pursuit of answers to these and further questions on DOs. Our goal is to facilitate connections among scientists across diverse subfields of robotics, such as perception, simulation, control, and mechanics, spanning various stages of their careers and operating within different professional environments, including academia, industry, and research centers. Additionally, we aim to focus on the tangible advancements made in the field since the first workshop edition in 2021. We believe that this analysis will help identify promising directions and ultimately pave the way for practical, real-world solutions.

The workshop will be held in hybrid mode




The workshop aims to explore different aspects that will allow robots to autonomously manipulate deformable objects with greater ability and generalization. Enabling such manipulation is crucial for a variety of domains and tasks, such as domestic, industrial, and surgical contexts, which involve various forms of deformable objects. 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. In the past few years, there has also been an increasing interest in applying foundation models to robotic manipulation, including the use of large pre-trained vision models, language models (LLMs), and vision language models (VLMs) for more sample-efficient learning and solving language-conditioned tasks. Additionally, recent advances in imitation learning, reinforcement learning, and 3D representation models have showcased the capability of robots learning to perform more complex, dexterous, and long-horizon tasks. The release of new simulators, datasets, and low-cost robotic hardware is lowering the barrier for reproducible research, benchmarking, and reuse of data. In this workshop, we will encourage discussions on how these recent advances can improve deformable object manipulation. 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
  • Use of foundation models, such as large vision and language models, and associated large datasets
  • Specialized tools, e.g. grippers, and sensors


Time Zone: GMT +09

Time Activity
09:00 - 09:15 Workshop opening
09:15 - 09:45 Invited Talk
09:45 - 10:15 Invited Talk
10:15 - 10:45 Spotlight talks #1
10:45 - 11:30 Coffee break + Posters session #1
11:30 – 12:00 Invited Talk
12:00 – 12:30 Invited Talk
12:30 - 13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 14:15 Invited Talk
14:15 – 14:45 Invited Talk
14:45 – 15:15 Invited Talk
15:15 – 15:45 Spotlight talks #2
15:45- 16:30 Coffee break + Posters session #2
16:30 – 17:00 Invited Talk
17:00 – 17:30 Invited Talk
17:30 – 18:00 Panel discussion
18:00 – 18:15 Closing remarks

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/WDOICRA2024.

Important dates: (dd/mm/yyyy)

  • Submission Deadline: 26/03/2024 (23:59 PST)
  • Notification date: 16/04/2024
  • Final submission: 30/04/2024 (23:59 PST)
  • Workshop date: 17/05/2024

Invited Speakers (TBA)


  • Michael C. Welle, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Martina Lippi, Roma Tre University, Italy
  • Fangyi Zhang, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia
  • Lawrence Yunliang Chen, University of California, Berkeley, USA


  • Alberta Longhini, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Danica Kragic, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Daniel Seita, University of Southern California, USA
  • David Held, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Peter Corke, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia


If you have any questions please contact Michael Welle at the email: mwelle AT kth DOT se