Peer Review by Leah Walko

J. -Y. Lee and K. -J. Cho, “Development of magnet connection of modular units for soft robotics,” 2017 14th International Conference on Ubiquitous Robots and Ambient Intelligence (URAI), Jeju, Korea (South), 2017, pp. 65-67, doi: 10.1109/URAI.2017.7992886.

  1. Do you have any conflict of interest in reviewing this paper?
    • No
  2. Expertise. Provide your expertise in the topic area of this paper.
    • 2 – Passing Knowledge
  3. Summary. Please summarize what you believe are the paper’s main contributions to the field of soft robotics.
    • The authors of the paper contributed a design of new magnet connectors for modularized soft robot units. While the magnet connectors had lower maximum connecting strength than a previously designed screw-thread connector, these new connectors are easily modified, affordable, and simpler to assemble and disassemble. In addition, they used off the shelf magnets, which would make these connectors more accessible to the public. Overall, the paper contributed a new way to link soft units, which could be developed upon to be stronger while still maintaining their flexible and affordable benefits.
  4. Strengths and Weaknesses. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of this work? Does the paper have strengths in originality and novelty?
    • The strength of this work is in its simplicity. Despite my lack of knowledge of the field, it was easy to understand. The paper aimed to explore something it described as “intuitive,” which made the paper more accessible. While the paper’s results were interesting and practical, it lacked originality and novelty. It didn’t push the industry as forward as it could be.
  5. Soundness. Are the ideas, algorithms, results or studies technologically/methodologically sound?
    • This paper is very sound. The introduction to the paper explains their reasons behind their design and material choices. Furthermore, it takes the time to test the design and fabrication, including a bending performance test and connecting force test. I think the paper could take the tests a bit further by testing the effectiveness of them as a part of a fully designed soft robot.
  6. Related Work. Does the paper adequately describe related and prior work?
    • It does reference previous work, but the description of the prior work is lacking. It makes frequent reference to their previous research and designs without going into detail about what they entailed.
  7. Presentation. Is the paper well organized, well written and clearly presented?
    • It is very well organized and presented. It follows a natural pattern of moving from introduction, description of the design and fabrication, experimental setups, results and discussion to conclusion. It is easy to follow and understand because it follows the authors along with their thought process.
  8. Suggestions. Do you have suggestions for improving this paper?
    •  My first suggestion would be to expand upon the previous research mentioned in the paper. Since the screw-thread connector is frequently mentioned, it would be helpful to compare the specific findings of the connecting force and bending performance tests of the two different types of connectors.
    • The description of future plans is sparce and vague. The paper could go into further details about future works. It doesn’t make any specific description, but instead it vaguely sets the goal of improving the design all around.
    • The discussion section brings up multiple benefits to the magnet connector that could be expanded upon with tests. For example, it is mentioned that the magnet connectors can attach to magnetic surfaces to be used as hooks. However, no test was performed to see how much weight the magnet connectors can hold.
  9. Comments to Committee (Hidden from authors). Does the paper have enough originality and importance to merit publication? Is the paper relevant to the field? These comments will NOT be sent to the authors
    • This paper has enough originality and importance to merit publication. Though simple, this paper could serve as a solid foundation for future work and development in the field of connectors for modularized soft units. The magnet connector is a new innovation that could also serve as a key element of future soft robotic designs. It is well written and easy to understand, and thus merits publication.
  10. Overall Rating. Provide your overall rating of the paper (5 is best)
    • 4 – Probably accept: I would argue for accepting this paper.

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