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Symposium SB11-Bio-based and Biomimetic Polymers in Soft Robotics

Robots are anticipated to becoming an indispensable part of our daily lives. Traditional robots (e.g., autonomous vacuum cleaners) are expected to transform into more complex robots to care for the ill, or collaborate with human beings in difficult working environments from underwater and space operations to minimally invasive surgeries. Exoskeletal robots can enhance the physical capabilities of human body, and the components of robots can be implanted into the human as active prostheses that are controlled through human-machine interfacing. To accomplish these expected tasks, next-generation robots will require functional soft materials. Specifically, for a better robot-human interface, a soft, flexible, and dynamic outer layer is necessary to cover the rigid, stiff surface of robots, as the hard human skeletal system is covered by soft skin. The motivation for this Symposium originates from the suitability of multifunctional polymer films as artificial skins for robots, which allow for all-terrain adaptability and mobility. In the ideal case, the skin of such robot can withstand extreme environments while maintaining its functions, such as sensing, energy conversion and storage, actuating, computing information, and the self-healing - once damages and injuries occur on the skin. Furthermore, biocompatibility, including foreign body reactions, and immune responses, should be addressed for long-term contact between human skin and robot skin in the example of active prostheses. It is believed that adapting bioinspired, bio-enabled, and biomimetic polymeric materials is the approach to providing innovation for the future of robotics. Therefore, it is the aim of this Symposium is to stimulate the collaboration of scientists and engineers who are working in robotics, synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, biology, biomaterial science, and conventional materials science.

Topics will include:

  • Soft robots
  • Biomimetic materials
  • Bio-enabled materials
  • Shape-memory materials
  • Protein-based polymeric materials
  • Stimuli-responsive polymers
  • Self-healable polymers
  • Sensors and actuators
  • Artificial detectors and skins
  • Polymer heterostructures, laminates and composites
  • Dynamics of/in polymers
  • Analysis, assessment, and diagnostics of soft matter
  • A tutorial complementing this symposium is tentatively planned.

Invited Speakers (tentative):

  • Zhenan Bao (Stanford University, USA)
  • Gurthwin Bosman (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)
  • Blair Brettmann (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Qing Chen (Empa–Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Switzerland)
  • Mmantsae M. Diale (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
  • Michael Dickey (North Carolina State University, USA)
  • Peter Fratzl (Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany)
  • David Gracias (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
  • Olle Inganas (Linköping University, Sweden)
  • Christoph Keplinger (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany)
  • Tjaart Kruger (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
  • Wendimagegne Mammo (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia)
  • Abdon Pena-Francesch (University of Michigan, USA)
  • Huisheng Peng (Fudan University, China)
  • Ritu Raman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
  • John A. Rogers (Northwestern University, USA)
  • Stephan V. Roth (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, Germany)
  • Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci (Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria)
  • Robert Shepherd (Cornell University, USA)
  • Helen Tran (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Jie Xu (Argonne National Laboratory, USA)
  • Shu Yang (University of Pennsylvania, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Minkyu Kim
University of Arizona
Department of Materials Science and Engineering / Department of Biomedical Engineering
No Phone for Symposium Organizer Provided , [email protected]

Artur Braun
Empa–Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Department of Advanced Materials & Surfaces
No Phone for Symposium Organizer Provided , [email protected]

Danielle Mai
Stanford University
Department of Chemical Engineering
No Phone for Symposium Organizer Provided , [email protected]

Newayemedhin Tegegne
Addis Ababa University
Department of Physics
No Phone for Symposium Organizer Provided , [email protected]

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MRS publishes with Springer Nature

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