The natural world motivates a new paradigm for robot design: advancing machine intelligence by way of new materials for robot bodies, whose mechanical and physicochemical properties yield advanced capabilities and autonomous behaviors akin to those of living organisms. Soft robotics has exemplified how a materials-driven approach to robotics has expanded robots’ abilities, opened new avenues for wearable and biomedical machines, and transformed our ideas of what a robot is and can be. However, continued advances are needed to address fundamental limitations in fabrication, power, and control. To address these interdisciplinary challenges, this symposium will bring together researchers from soft and microscale robotics, stretchable electronics, active matter, mechanics, and chemistry to share research that advances robotics by way of new materials.
This symposium is structured around three research themes. The first theme - robotic components from soft and architected materials - will feature new materials for actuation, perception, power, and control capabilities in soft robots and devices across all scales. Innovations of special interest include electrically-driven soft actuators, self-powered components, chemical power strategies, and iontronic devices. The second theme - integrated design and fabrication strategies for robotic materials - will showcase progress in manufacturing. Methods of particular interest will facilitate distributed actuation and sensing capabilities, multi-material fabrication, multiscale assembly, and/or paths towards the end-to-end design, fabrication, and evaluation of robotic materials. The third theme - advances in the modeling and control of materials for physical machine intelligence - will highlight theoretical contributions that will improve robotic material design and fabrication. The symposium will broadly explore new applications for robotic materials, including autonomous/untethered systems, wearable and biomedical devices, smart textiles, and beyond.
Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
University of Connecticut
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Center for Micro-BioRobotics