July 9  10:00   – 16:00   
The Living Machines Workshops will be held at the Kasugano International Forum in Nara, Japan.

1 - Closing Vico’s Loop: Addressing Challenges in Science and Society with Living Machines.  
Paul Verschure and Tony Prescott


2 - The Science of Soft Robots 
Tetsuya Horiuchi, Kenjiro Tadakuma, Koh Hosoda, Koichi Suzumori,  Masahiro Shimizu


3 - Bioprinting   

NB: this workshop is now integrated into the workshop "The Science of Soft Robots"


1 – Closing Vico’s Loop: Addressing Challenges in Science and Society with Living Machines

The Living Machines approach asserts that an important element of our science is to instantiate our theories of biological systems as embodied models or machines. The step of building a physical model helps us to explain the biological phenomena of interest, make predictions at multiple levels of description and control physical devices.  This strategy has many antecedents, but one that should be more widely known is the work of the 18th century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico who famously proposed that we can only understand that which we create. This workshop will explore how the path proposed by Vico can lead not only to better science (understanding), and useful engineering (new life-like technologies in form and function), but can also guide us towards a richer view of human experience and of the boundaries and relationships between science, engineering, and art.  Each of the contributions to the workshop will look at efforts to create physical model systems that close “Vico’s loop”— helping to understand our natural world whilst creating life-like artefacts with the potential for beneficial societal impact.
Reference: Formal Minds and Biological Brains II: From the Mirage of Intelligence to a Science and Engineering of Consciousnesssee Consciousness (2013) Verschure, Paul FMJ IEEE Intelligent Systems, 28(5), 35-8.


Tony Prescott, University of Sheffield,
Paul Verschure, ICREA and IBEC Barcelona,


9:30 -10:00 Registration and Welcome
10:00 -11:00 “Limits and future perspectives of a constructive approach to artificial minds”. Minoru Asada, University of Osaka, Japan

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 -12:30 “Biomimetic robots as neuroscientific models and therapeutic tools“. Tony Prescott, Sheffield Robotics, UK
12:30-13:30  “From neutrophil biology to living micro-machines’. Scott Simon, UC Davis, USA

13:30-14:30 Lunch

14:30-15:30  “Exploiting Low-Dimensionality in Human and Robot Behavior for advanced assistive roboticsTom Shibata, Kyutech, Japan
15:30-16:30 “Soft-bodied caterpillar-like testbed developed with digital fabrication to close Vico’s loopTakuya Umedachi, University of Tokyo, Japan
16:30-17:30 “From brain science to the real-world and back: Vico’s loop as a strategy for impactful sciencePaul Verschure, ICREA/IBEC
17:30-18:00 General Discussion



The “Science of Soft Robot”s in Japan ( focuses on “softness” peculiar to organisms as a platform for life phenomena. The international trend of science and technology “from hard to soft” is driven by the desire to replicate the behaviors and functions of humans and living organisms. This area brings together academic researchers in diverse fields that refer to “softness” as an organic collection of biology, information science, materials science, and mechanical/electrical engineering. As the introduction of softness will induce a paradigm shift in research, we believe that vast knowledge, which has not been drawn from existing academic fields, will be elucidated.


Tetsuya Horiuchi, AIST, Japan
Kenjiro Tadakuma, Tohoku Univerisity, Japan
Koh Hosoda, Osaka University, Japan
Koichi Suzumori, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Masahiro Shimizu, Osaka University, Japan
Patrick Thayer, CELLINK



9:00  Registration and Welcome
9:30:00 -10:00 “3D Bioprinting and Biomaterials for soft robotics applications” Dr. Patrick Thayer, CELLINK
10:00 -11: 00 “Hands on bioprinting “Bioink calibration, Printability optimization, Multi material printing””

11:00 – 11:15 coffee break

11:15 -12: 00 Advanced printing: vasculature network printing etc.
12:00 – 13:00 lunch break

13:00-13:30 “Science of Soft Robots in Japan“. Tetsuya Horiuchi, AIST, Japan
13:30-14:00  – TBA – Ardian Jusufi, Max Planck Institute, Germany
14:00-14:30 “Bio-machine hybrid system that grows“. Masahiro Shimizu, Osaka University, Japan

14:30-15:00 Coffee Break

15:00-15:30 “Organic actuation and control in soft biohybrid robots“. Victoria Webster, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
15:30-16:00”Anatomy tells animal mechanisms: How giraffes support and move their big body?” Megu Gunji, National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan
16:00-16:30 “Animal-like control of robots with soft actuators“. Alexander Hunt, Portland State University, USA