Robotics: Science and Systems - Workshop on Humanoid Manipulation
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Call for Participation (2005)

visit the 2006 workshop


This is a call for participation for the Workshop on Humanoid Manipulation to be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of the Robotics: Science and Systems conference on June 11, 2005. Those interested should contact us at

Workshop Description

Humanoid robots are becoming increasingly commonplace in academic, governmental, and commercial research labs around the world. There are many dozens of bipeds, socially interactive heads, and upper-torso humanoids. These impressive machines can climb stairs, play musical instruments, engage in emotional displays, and assist humans in work activities. However, these machines are not able to autonomously manipulate the objects typically found in an unstructured, human-centric environment. The long-term view of humanoid robots includes applications in space exploration, robot-assisted living for the elderly, small-parts assembly in manufacturing, and agricultural harvesting. There are still many technical challenges to overcome in order for humanoids to achieve this level of manual dexterity. The workshop is a forum to foster discussion among researchers about the emerging field of humanoid manipulation in which robots safely coexist with humans and usefully manipulate objects found in unstructured and built-for-human environments. The workshop will focus on the fundamental research questions facing the field, including:

  • Perception and manipulation of the unfamiliar.
  • Achievement of human level dexterity and sensitivity
  • Biological foundations in human manipulation.
Areas for discussion include cognitive architectures, control systems, tactile perception, and visuo-motor integration, as well as key engineering issues concerning the design and real-world applications of manipulating humanoids.

Researchers who can lend important perspectives from critical areas such as control systems, machine learning, industrial manipulation, MEMS sensors, cognitive-neuroscience, developmental psychology, and computational and neural models of human motor control are also strongly encouraged to participate.


  • Mobile manipulation in built-for-human environments
  • Development of advanced perceptual systems for unstructured environments
  • Minimal-model approaches to grasping
  • Novel solutions in sensing and actuation
  • Mechanisms for human-like dexterity
  • Development of compliant and force controlled manipulators
  • Computational and neural models of the human motor systems
  • Advances in high density tactile sensing
  • Development, learning, and adaptation for reaching and grasping
  • Developmental cognitive architectures for manipulation
  • Learning of object affordances
  • Behavior-based approaches
  • Review of the state-of-the art
  • Manipulation as a social, interactive engagement
  • Bimanual and full-body grasping
  • Applications of humanoid manipulation


This is a one day workshop, beginning with invited presentations. A panel will facilitate group discussion in between presentations. In the afternoon there will be a video and poster session in the MIT CSAIL Humanoid Robotics Lab. The session will conclude with live demonstrations of the humanoid robots in the lab.

Participation and Submission

We are requesting extended abstract submissions (1-2 pages) for inclusion in the afternoon poster and video session. Submissions should contribute a perspective on the pertinent issues facing humanoid manipulation today and provide insights into technical solutions to these problems. We encourage submissions in related topic areas as well as reviews and position statements. Submissions can be sent by email to in PDF format. Accepted submissions will require a poster presentation.

Important Dates

March 30, 2005 Notification of intent to submit
April 15, 2005 Submissions due
May 1,2005 Notification of acceptance
June 11, 2005 Workshop held

Questions? Contact us at