A concise guide to modelling the physics of embodied intelligence in soft robotics
Our paper titled A concise guide to modelling the physics
of embodied intelligence in soft robotics was just accepted
for publication in Nature Reviews Physics.
Life on Earth has had million years to evolve and adapt
to the environment. A key of this adaption is the use of
soft body parts, both in animals and humans, to interact
with the surrounding environment. Broadly speaking, this
way of leveraging the surrounding environment is known
as embodied intelligence. Its mathematical and
computational modeling remains elusive. In this paper
we discuss existing and promising modeling techniques
that can potentially close this gap, especially
if interdisciplinary work is pushed forward.
Embodied intelligence (intelligence that requires and leverages
a physical body) is a well-known paradigm in soft robotics,
but its mathematical description and consequent computational
modelling remain elusive, with a need for models that can be
used for design and control purposes. We argue that filling
this gap will enable full uptake of embodied intelligence
in soft robots. We provide a concise guide to the main
mathematical modelling approaches, and consequent computational
modelling strategies, that can be used to describe soft robots
and their physical interactions with the surrounding environment,
including fluid and solid media. We aim to convey the challenges
and opportunities within the context of modelling the physical
interactions underpinning embodied intelligence.
We emphasize that interdisciplinary work is required, especially
in the context of fully coupled robot–environment interaction
modelling. Promoting this dialogue across disciplines is a necessary
step to further advance the field of soft robotics.