Symposium SF06-From Robotic Towards Autonomous Materials

Over the last twenty years, progress in soft robotics has motivated the materialization of physical intelligence through new forms of soft actuators, sensors, and control strategies. But the challenges of power, performance, and control in soft robotics remain limited by available materials. The natural world is inspiring a new generation of materials design paradigms, where multifunctionality not only tightly integrates multiple robotic capabilities, but enables truly autonomous behaviors. The next-generation of autonomous agents should be indistinguishable from materials, as they must truly integrate distributed actuation, perception, control, and energy capabilities. To enable this interdisciplinary vision, this symposium aims to bring several communities together – from materials science and soft robotics to chemistry and mechanics – to build beyond visions of robotic materials to truly autonomous ones.

Our symposium is structured around three core tracks. The first – robotic materials – will feature new materials for actuators, sensors, controllers, and energy. Research themes of interest are electrically-driven and chemically powered actuators, new soft material sensing and control strategies, and materials for robotic power. The second track – design and fabrication – will highlight innovations in multifunctional material fabrication, directed assembly of materials across multiple lengths scales, and modeling. The third track – autonomous materials – will explore the emergence of autonomous, self-regulatory, and intelligence in material systems, while exploring emerging areas of embodied energy, and distributed sensorimotor capabilities. Overall, the three tracks will collectively explore new applications for robotic or autonomous materials, including devices for wearables and biomedicine, untethered bioinspired robots, food security, environmental monitoring, and beyond.

Topics will include:

  • Stimuli-responsive hydrogels, liquid crystalline materials, and composites
  • Materials with distributed sensorimotor behaviors
  • Soft material logic, memory, and computation
  • Multifunctional materials for programmed shape-change, adaptability, and embodied intelligence
  • Self-healing, self-regulatory, and homeostatic materials
  • Biohybrid, autonomous materials
  • Application- and data-driven design of robotic and autonomous materials
  • Materials for energy scavenging and embodied energy
  • Autonomous soft, bioinspired, and/or microscale robots
  • Additive and digital fabrication of autonomous materials
  • Architected materials for robots
  • Modeling, simulation, and control of autonomous materials

Invited Speakers (tentative):

  • Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard University, USA)
  • Hyeon Seok An (Cornell University, USA)
  • Thomas Angelini (University of Florida, USA)
  • Bilge Baytekin (Bilkent University, Turkey)
  • Lucia Beccai (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy)
  • Philip Buskohl (Air Force Research Laboratory, USA)
  • Kyujin Cho (Seoul National University, Republic of Korea)
  • Amir Gat (Technion–Israel Institute of Technology ology, Israel)
  • Daniel Goldman (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Ryan Hayward (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)
  • Mirko Kovac (Imperial College London, United Kingdom)
  • Jennifer Lewis (Harvard University, USA)
  • Shlomo Magdassi (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
  • Barbara Mazzolai (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy)
  • Shingo Meada (Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan)
  • Markus Nemitz (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA)
  • Monica Olvera De La Cruz (Northwestern University, USA)
  • Jang-Ung Park (Yonsei University, Republic of Korea)
  • Kirstin Petersen (Cornell University, USA)
  • James Pikul (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Jordan Raney (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Metin Sitti (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany)
  • Nancy Sottos (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)
  • Jeong-Yun Sun (Seoul National University, Republic of Korea)
  • Zeynep Temel (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
  • Michael Tolley (University of California, San Diego, USA)
  • Zhong Lin Wang (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Timothy J. White (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)
  • Xuanhe Zhao (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Robert Shepherd
Cornell University
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Yoav Matia
U.S. Army Research Laboratory
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Ryan Truby
Northwestern University
Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Huichan Zhao
Tsinghua University
Mechanical Engineering

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