Stefan Escaida Navarro









Hello! My name is Stefan Escaida Navarro and I’m currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at Inria Lille – Nord Europe in the team DEFROST.


For an up-to-date list of my publications, please visit my profile at Google Scholar.

Research Interests and Short Bio

My main research interests are tactile sensing and proximity sensing in robotics, where I like to look at both the design of sensors and the applications that are enabled by them. Currently, I’m working on mechanosensing for Soft Robotics. Mechanosensing covers two aspects of sensing: estimating forces acting on soft structures (“tactile sensing”) and estimating the resulting deformation (“shape sensing”). To this end I’m using SOFA, which allows me to follow a model-based approach for these tasks.

Over the last years, I’ve been helping in the organization of a series of “Workshops on Proximity Perception in Robotics” at IROS (2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021). These workshops are related to my previous work on capacitive tactile proximity sensing (CTPS), which was the topic of my PhD thesis (Dr.-Ing). During my PhD, I was at the Intelligent Process Automation and Robotics Lab (IPR) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, where I also obtained my diploma in Computer Science.

With respect to my work on CTPS, the focus was on developing applications such as tracking for HRI, teleoperation, exploration, and collision avoidance. Towards the end of the PhD, I also contributed to improving the existing technology. In the early days of my PhD, I did some work on tactile object recognition and grasping, which are subjects that continue to interest me. With the current opportunity I have to learn about Soft Robotics, I hope to be able to revisit some ideas and apply them to this new domain.

Recent Activities


  • Starting in October, I will join the Universidad de O’Higgins in Chile as an Assistant Professor 🙂
  • DEFROST organized the “2022 Summer School on Deformation in Robotics”, which was a great experience!
  • Our paper on “Model-Based Disturbance Estimation for a Fiber-Reinforced Soft Manipulator using Orientation Sensing ” has been accepted for IROS 2022 🙂 This work is a collaboration with the Soft Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich. Find the preprint here.


  • Our paper on a novel active phantom for the prostate has been published. We use the principles of model-based sensing that we have explored in our previous research to create this phantom, which we consider to be an anatomical soft robot. In the future, we hope to build more of these devices! Find the preprint here and the published version here.
  • Over the last years, my colleagues and I have been working on a survey paper about “Proximity Perception in Human-Centered Robotics”. It is now accepted for publication. Please find the pre-print here and the published version here.
  • One of the co-organizers of the “4th Workshop on Proximity Perception in Robotics” at the upcoming IROS 2021 (on-line) 🙂 The program will be available around the summer of 2021.
  • L ’ É r o s a r b é n u s  has been featured on the cover of the Soft Robotics (SoRo) journal for the April 2021 issue, very cool 😎


  • Throughout this year I was lucky to collaborate with fantastic artist Yosra Mojtahedi on her installation L ’ É r o s a r b é n u s. I’m very passionate about this project, where I worked on the fabrication, actuation and automation of the Soft Robotics devices that are a part of the installation.
  • Our paper entitled “A Model-based Sensor Fusion Approach for Force and Shape Estimation in Soft Robotics” has been accepted for RAL + IROS 2020! :). For the paper pre-print click here and for the video here.
  • One of the main organizers of the “3rd Workshop on Proximity Perception in Robotics: Towards Multi-Modal Cognition” at the upcoming IROS 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. This time it’s a full-day workshop 🙂
  • Here’s the paper describing how to fabricate a soft pad sensor with embedded cavities that I presented at the RoboTac 2019 Workshop at IROS 2019.


  • Our work on “Modeling Novel Soft Mechanosensors based on Air-Flow Measurements” has been accepted for RAL + IROS 2019! :). For the paper pre-print click here and for the video here.
  • One of the co-organizers of the “2nd Workshop on Proximity Perception in Robotics” at the upcoming IROS 2019 in Macau, China


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