Advancing Robot Manipulation Through Open-Source Ecosystems

2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) Conference Workshop

This full-day workshop was held during the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2023 conference on May 29, 2023 in London.

All workshop materials and notes are available on Google Drive: 


Advancement in robot manipulation is limited by a lack of systematic development and benchmarking methodologies, causing inefficiencies and even stagnation. There are several assets available in the robotics literature (e.g., YCB, NIST-ATB), yet an active and effective mechanism to disseminate and use them is lacking, which significantly reduces their impact and utility. This workshop will take a step towards removing the roadblocks to the development and assessment of robot manipulation hardware and software by reviewing, discussing, and laying the groundwork for an open-source ecosystem. The workshop aims to determine the needs and wants of robot manipulation researchers regarding open-source asset development, utilization, and dissemination. As such, the workshop will play a crucial role for identifying the preconditions and requirements to develop an open-source ecosystem that provides physical, digital, instructional, and functional assets for performance benchmarking and comparison. Discussions will include ways for maintaining ecosystem activity over time and identifying methods and principles to achieve a sustainable open-source effort. Accordingly, the invited speakers of this workshop includes experts that led well-established, successful open-source efforts (e.g., Robotarium, ROS-Industrial) along with experimentation experts and developers of newer open-source assets (e.g., NIST-MOAD, Household Cloth Object Set). The overarching goal is to learn from the successful examples and open communication channels between new and experienced researchers.

Key Takeaways

Based on the discussions had at the workshop, a set of key takeaways have been summarized and organized into topics below:

Replicability techniques

Running another user’s code


Modular software pipeline

Open-source datasets

Benchmarking robot manipulation performance




Presentations and guided discussion will take place across three categories:

After each category sessions' presentations and Q+A for each presenter is completed, a guided discussion will be facilitated amongst the workshop participants. The following topics, among others, will be put forth to motivate these discussions:


Sean Wilson

Georgia Institute of Technology

Cindy Grimm

Oregon State University

Felix Widmaier

Max Planck Institute of Intelligent Systems

Lily Baye-Wallace

Southwest Research Institute

Jürgen “Juxi” Leitner

LYRO Robotics

Megan Zimmerman

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Irene Garcia-Camacho

Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial


Consider contributing to this workshop! See below


Invited talks: 30 minutes each (20 presentation + 10 questions)

Short talks: 15 minutes each (12 presentation + 3 questions)

All times given are in London local time (GMT +1)


Remotely Accessible Infrastructure and Open-source Hardware

Lunch break

Open-source Software and Functionality

Open-source Benchmarking Protocols and Datasets


The workshop will be hybrid, with a focus on in-person participation, but a virtual option for remote attendees to watch presentations and participate in discussion will be available. Join the COMPARE project Slack workspace, channel #icra-2023-workshop, to participate in discussions pre, during, and post-workshop: 


Short papers are sought to be presented that discuss issues faced, successes achieved, and/or analyses of the current landscape of robotic manipulation when developing or utilizing open-source assets and conducting benchmarking. Submissions may be in the form of position papers, proposals for new efforts, or reporting of new results, 2-4 pages, with the expectation that authors of accepted papers will provide a presentation at the workshop and participate in topic discussions. 

Submissions of papers should use the ICRA 2023 format, 2-4 pages in length (excluding references), anonymization not required. Contributed papers should fit into one or more of the following topics of the workshop: open-source hardware and infrastructure, open-source software and functionality, open-source benchmarking protocols and datasets, the availability of open-source assets, their composition, applicability or lack there of, benefits of open-source, and barriers to implementation, among others.

All submissions will be reviewed and authors of accepted papers will be asked to give a 10 minute talk at the workshop. At least one author of each accepted submission must register for the workshop and attend in-person; remote presentation will not be allowed.

Submissions should be e-mailed to with the text “[ICRA 2023 Workshop Submission]” in the subject line. Authors of accepted submissions are encouraged to upload their papers to; they will also be hosted on a publicly accessible Google Drive folder and linked on the workshop website along with presentation slides and videos of presentations.

IEEE RAS Technical Committees

This workshop is endorsed by:



Please contact Adam Norton with any questions or comments via e-mail: 

Funded by the National Science Foundation, Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems (POSE), Award TI-2229577