Human-centered materials intelliegence via epidermal electronics and programmable matter
Achieving dynamic control over physical properties of materials is an ultimate aspiration of many engineering sciences. The past decades have witnessed phenomenal investment in developing smart materials that can transform and respond to various external stimuli. However, current approaches are mainly off-line and prescribed: design, processing, and characterization of the materials occur only prior to their deployment. In this talk, I will introduce a pathway to enable real-time human-materials interaction by creating advanced digital-physical interfaces that connect humans with materials. To interface with humans, the key challenge is to monitor human signals comfortably and accurately. I will show how epidermal electronics that incorporate high-bandwidth MEMS accelerometers capture multitudes of mechanical and acoustic processes of human body, ranging from broad classes of physiological information to precision kinematics of the core body. To interface with materials, I will describe recent advances in micro/nanomechanics, and how the area of research at the interface between complex microstructures, active metamaterials, and non-destructive testing offers new capabilities for developing programmable matter with digital access to the structure, process, and properties. Based on the two platform technologies, I will conclude by discussing new opportunities in developing human-centered materials intelligence.