Plenary Speakers

Professor Kouhei Ohnishi
Keio University. Japan

Tuesday July 4, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Soft Robotics by Real Haptics

The standardization based on “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” had been a backbone through 20th century.  However aging society to come needs independent service for independent person to maximize each QOL.  So-called service robot with touching ability instead of young generation should come into our future life.  Real haptics is not only a technology to transmit the force/tactile sensation but a strong tool to transfer the motion skill including contact task to the service robot.  The talk introduces what is such “soft robotics”, how it works, and so on.


Professor Kouhei Ohnishi received BE, ME and Ph.D in all electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1975, 1977 and 1980 respectively.  He has been with Keio University since 1980 and is a Professor.  At IEEE, he served as a President of the Industrial Electronics Society in 2008 and 2009.  He received the Dr Ing Eugene Mittelmann Achievement Award from IEEE IES in 2004.  At IEEJ (Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan), he was a President in 2015 and 2016.  He received a Meritorious Contribution Award from IEEJ in 2017.  He received Purple Ribbon Medal Award from His Majesty the Emperor in 2016.  He authored and co-authored many papers and books including “Motion Control Systems” (Wiley) co-authored with Professor Asif Sabanovic.  He is a Fellow of IEEE, IEEJ, and JSME.

Dr.  Jun Ueda
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
Wednesday July 5, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Cellular Actuators inspired by Biological Muscles, Dr.  Jun Ueda, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA

Actuators are one of the key components in robotic and mechatronic systems. Motions generated by actuators enable computer-controlled systems to interact with the physical world. Inspired by unique characteristics of biological muscles, a system-level approach was taken to design, fabricate, control, and analyze new robotic actuators, resulting in a unique and powerful methodology for biologically inspired actuation. In this talk, the concept of cellular actuation is introduced, where mechanical structures with an array of single amplified piezoelectric actuators operate in parallel or series according to the needs of the application. Such actuators are fast and provide smooth contraction, which is interesting for human-like movements in arms and eyes..


Dr. Jun Ueda is currently an Associate Professor and Woodruff Faculty Fellow in the G.W.W. School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Ueda received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, in 1994, 1996, and 2002 all in Mechanical Engineering. From 1996 to 2000, he was a Research Engineer at the Advanced Technology Research and Development Center, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan. He was an Assistant Professor of Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, from 2002 to 2008. During 2005-2008, he was a visiting scholar and lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He joined the G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor in 2008.  He is currently the Director for the Robotics PhD Program at Georgia Tech and Associate Chair in Academics in the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) at Georgia Tech. He received a Fanuc FA Robot Foundation Best Paper Award in 2005, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award in 2009, and Advanced Robotics Best Paper Award in 2015. He is the chair of the ASME Biosystem and Healthcare Technical Committee. He served on the editorial board of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the ASME Journal of Mechanics and Robotics, IEEE RAS Robotics and Automation Letters, and International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications. He is the author of Cellular Actuators: Modularity and Variability in Muscle-Inspired Actuation, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2017.


Dr. Rainer Bischoff
KUKA AG, Germany

Thursday July 6, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Towards cognitive mechatronics for the future of robot-based automation

Humankind is facing disruptive technological innovation, e.g., in the fields of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. These changes will prove to have at least as much impact on society over the next half a century as the Internet and mainstream IT technology had over the last 50 years. The talk will discuss the future of robot-based automation based on cognitive mechatronic systems. It addresses recent developments and technological innovations as well as new application domains and non-technological issues from a European and KUKA perspective.


Dr. Bischoff is Head of KUKA’s Corporate Research department responsible for research and technology development preceding product development. Dr. Bischoff received his „Doktor-Ingenieur“ degree from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology for his contributions towards the development of personal robots. He serves as Vice-President Industry of euRobotics AISBL – the European Robotics Association he helped to create to unite European roboticists and to engage in a public-private partnership with the European Commission. For leadership and outstanding contributions to the cooperation of academia and industry, and for managing and promoting significant technology transfer in the area of industrial and service robotics he was granted the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award in 2012. In 2015, he received the IROS Toshio Fukuda Young Professional Award for his technical contributions to the personal robotic assistant HERMES and his effort in uniting the European Robotics Community.