Mechanics, Design Thinking, and Non-traditional Materials for Soft Robotics
Robotics has created machines that can perform high-precision, high-speed tasks in well-controlled environments. However, in order to move robots into the uncertain real world, the goals of precision and repeatability are no longer suitable. Accordingly, the paradigm of soft robotics trades rigidity and high-gain control for compliance that can enable robustness, adaptability, and human-safety.
I bring together experience in mechanics, design thinking, and non-traditional materials to advance the vision of robust, adaptable, human-safe robots that can thrive in the uncertain, unstructured world.
I will present three examples of my work: 1) A soft robotic gripper exploiting gecko-inspired adhesives to grasp without squeezing, 2) Compliant, robust load-sharing among gecko-inspired adhesive subunits that allowed me to be the first human to climb a glass wall with a hand-sized area of adhesive, and 3) A soft, human-compatible high-strain actuator. I will conclude with my vision of the future, including a growing robot.