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Professor Jonathan Rossiter - University of Bristol. Bristol, , GB

Professor Jonathan Rossiter Professor Jonathan Rossiter

Professor of Robotics and Head of the Soft Robotics Group | University of Bristol


Inventing soft robots that can fix human and environmental problems

Areas of Expertise (5)

Soft Robots

Smart materials



Artificial Intelligence


Professor Jonathan Rossiter is Head of SoftLab, the Soft Robotics Group in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. He leads on the development of smart materials and highly flexible soft robots for applications ranging from human health and environmental protection to construction and smart clothing. His work includes major research projects on soft robotic implantable medical devices, power trousers, and printable, biodegradable and edible robots. His work on environmental protection and low-cost healthcare includes collaborations with India and Africa, tracking and removing pollutants in waterways and investigating low cost prosthetic interfaces. His core soft robotics technologies have been extended to investigate the state of pipes, ducts and roads.

Professor Rossiter's background is in artificial intelligence, electrical engineering, computer science and engineering mathematics. He was awarded a Royal Society Fellowship to study robots in Japan and a EPSRC Research Fellowship. His current post is funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies award, and aims to make soft robotics ubiquitous. He has presented a Ted Talk on 'A Robot That Eats Pollution', which has had more than 1.3 million views, and has had significant global media interest in his work. Most prominently, his project on the use of ‘smart trousers’ received widespread acclaim, for its approach to using artificial muscles to improve the lives of people with mobility problems.






What are Soft Robots? Soft Robotics The row-bot that feeds on pollution | Jonathan Rossiter | TEDxWarwick ElectroSkin publicity video


Media Appearances (5)

Revolutionary New Robots Run So Fast They Could Overtake Cheetahs

Euronews  online


One example of how a soft robot can be used for emergency rescue is an artificial octopus developed at Bristol Robotics Lab in the UK. It searches for victims under collapsed buildings following an earthquake. “The robot can deform itself to squeeze into small gaps and ‘worm’ itself into the structure. When it finds a casualty trapped in the debris it can exert localised forces to create an air pocket,” says Research Lead, Professor Jonathan Rossiter.

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This Robotic Hand Stays Cool by Sweating

Smithsonian Magazine  online


This version of the bot didn’t have a way to take in more water, but the researchers say that a future iteration could. Doing so would provide a natural solution to one of soft robotics' biggest hurdles, says Jonathan Rossiter, head of the soft robotics group at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, who was not invovled in the study.

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Stretchable skin-like robot crawls and convey objects

eeNews Europe  online


In a paper titled “All-Soft Skin-Like Structures for Robotic Locomotion and Transportation” published in the journal of Soft Robotics, the researchers led by Professor of Robotics Jonathan Rossiter developed what they describe as ElectroSkin robots, consisting of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) and soft electroadhesives (EAs) in a fully compliant multilayer composite skin-like structure.

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How These Robotic Trousers Could Help People Walk Again

Independent  online


Could the answer to mobility problems one day be as easy as pulling on a pair of trousers? A research team led by Bristol University’s Professor Jonathan Rossiter recently unveiled a prototype pair of robotic trousers that they hope could help some disabled people walk without other assistance.

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Pneumatic octopus is first soft, solo robot

BBC News  online


"One thing that's been missing so far has been putting them all together," Prof Rossiter told the BBC, adding that the octobot would be a springboard for others in the field.

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Articles (5)

Characteristic Analysis and Design Optimization of Bubble Artificial Muscles

Soft Robotics

2020 Soft robotics requires new actuators and artificial muscles that are lighter, less expensive, and more effective than current technologies. Recently developed bubble artificial muscles (BAMs) are lightweight, flexible, inexpensive, pneumatic actuators with the capability of being scalable, contracting at a low pressure, and generating sufficient tension and contraction for assisting human mobility.

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Self-Sensing Electro-Ribbon Actuators

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters

2020 In this letter, we investigate the viability of capacitance self-sensing of electro-ribbon actuators, allowing them to be used simultaneously as an actuator and a sensor. Initially the electro-ribbon actuator was implemented only as a sensor, and it was found that the exponential relationship between capacitance and displacement made the device a poor sensor at distances greater than 2 mm.

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Tunable, multi-modal, and multi-directional vibration energy harvester based on three-dimensional architected metastructures

Applied Energy

2020 Conventional vibration energy harvesters based on two-dimensional planar layouts have limited harvesting capacities due to narrow frequency bandwidth and because their vibratory motion is mainly restricted to one plane. Three-dimensional architected structures and advanced materials with multifunctional properties are being developed in a broad range of technological fields.

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Stretchable bifilar coils for soft adhesion and sensing

Materials & Design

2020 It is desirable to equip soft-smart materials and structures with actuation, sensing, and adhesion functionalities. A multifunctional stretchable bifilar coil capable of soft adhesion and sensing is presented in this work. The fully-soft flat bifilar coil, based on the Tesla coil design, can be fabricated by encapsulating a cost-effective, easy-to-implement, and scalable liquid-metal-elastomer-tube in a soft planar composite.

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Electroadhesion Technologies for Robotics: A Comprehensive Review

IEEE Transactions on Robotics

2019 Electroadhesion (EA) is an electrically controllable adhesion mechanism that has been studied and used in fields including active adhesion and attachment, robotic gripping, robotic crawling and climbing, and haptics, for over a century.

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