Exercise: Reading and Skimming

This is both a topical survey and practice in top-down research reading.


  1. Become familiar with the range of topics considered to be soft robotics.

  2. Practice quick reading to identify the context and purpose of a paper.


  1. Read the Rus and Tolley 2015 survey paper [R86] in detail.

    1. Please allow at least two hours.

    2. Please jot down unfamiliar words or phrases for us to review as a group.

    3. Try not to get stuck on completely unfamiliar terminology; keep reading and see if you can infer meaning from context.

    4. Try not to get stuck on a baffling section; please note it for questions and move on.

    5. Be sure to read through all the titles of the cited papers in the reference section.

  2. Pick three new papers to skim quickly.

    1. You can either pick from the survey paper references or the course bibliography.

    2. Read through quickly (5-10 min). Read the abstract, skim the figures, skim the references, skim the related work, read the main points.

    3. Can you articulate both the general area of work within soft robotics and the main takeaway lesson?

  3. Write a site post with a sentence-length synopsis of each new paper, each

    followed by the citation in the same style as the course bibliograpy. This is typically: authors, title, journal or booktitle, volume, pages, year, DOI.


  1. Short blog post.