MEMS Seminar: Harnessing Structure and Materials Intelligence for High-Performance Soft Robots
Traditional rigid robots are precise (low error tolerance), rigid (non-deformable), and "cold" (non-responsive to external environment). By contrast, soft robots are flexible (high tolerance for adaptively), soft (highly deformable for safe interaction), and smart (embodied structure and materials intelligence). Soft robotics opens a new avenue for renovating traditional robotic designs, which has recently attracted growing interest from the broad communities of materials, mechanics, sensing, robotics, dynamics, control, and computer science.
In this talk, I will discuss our recent work in embodying mechanical intelligence of structural designs and/or materials intelligence of soft active materials in soft robotics, for achieving delicacy in manipulation, high speed in locomotion, and autonomy and intelligence. I will first talk about utilizing the ancient paper cutting art of kirigami for programming 3D curved shapeshifting via geometric mechanics guided design, as well as its application in nondestructive and delicate grasping. Then, I will discuss how to leverage bistable and multistable structures for achieving high-speed locomotion in soft mobile robots including running and swimming. Finally, I will discuss an example of integrating structural designs with soft active materials for achieving autonomy and intelligence in soft robots.