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.

Plain-language description

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.