Soft Robots for Delicate and Effective Interactions with
Humans: Multi-Scale Soft Biomedical Robots
Harvard Biodesign Laboratory
Soft robots are constructed from compliant materials, resulting in machines that can safely interact with the natural environments. Given their inherent compliance, they are particularly suitable for exploring and interacting with unstructured environments, and manipulating soft, delicate, and irregular objects. These properties make soft robots particularly promising for biomedical applications, such as wearable and medical devices, given the highly compliant and delicate structures of the body. On the other hand, the compliance of soft robots limits their ability to effectively apply forces on objects whose stiffness is comparable to the one of the robot itself, leading to the challenge of matching the compliance of soft devices with the environment or objects they will encounter. During this talk, I will describe progress in soft robotics and its potential for revolutionizing biomedical devices. I will introduce a soft manipulator inspired by the structure and the manipulation capabilities of the octopus tentacle, which is able to selectively tune its stiffness to address the challenge of impedance matching. I will also introduce the potential of soft robotics at the millimeter and micrometer scales, addressing the challenge of manufacturing complex meso-scale three-dimensional soft structures using two-dimensional processes involving laser machining, lamination, and soft lithography. These manufacturing processes could pave the way for soft microrobots as well as a new class of deployable, small, and safe medical devices.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Seaver Science Library, Room 150 (SSL 150)
Refreshments will be served at 3:15 pm.