Liyu Wang, Luzius Brodbeck
Fumiya Iida, Olivier Lambercy, Roger Gassert
ETH course catalogue
Prof. Barry Trimmer, Tufts University, USA
One approach to the design of new devices and materials is to study how problems have been solved in nature and to adapt these solutions for our own uses. This “biomimetic” approach is currently being used to develop a new class of robots fabricated from soft materials. These soft robots will be able to climb textured surfaces, crawl along ropes and wires and burrow into winding, confined spaces. They will be scaleable in size from a grams to kilograms, simple and cheap to build (disposable), and able to perform tasks outside the capability of current robots.
Making these machines move accurately will require the application of new concepts based on neuromechanics and embodiment (morphological computation). These conceptual breakthroughs also allow for the future production of machines that are entirely biosynthetic and biodegradable and that can be grown rather than assembled.
This workshop will introduce some soft animals as engineering model systems (“living prototypes”) and describe some surprising findings on how they might move without hydrostatic control. We will also discuss how these findings can be applied to the development of moving machines that are highly deformable. These are the early prototypes of a new type of engineering based on controlling structures built entirely of soft materials. Finally we will talk about recent work on “growing robots”, the fabrication of devices from biopolymers and living cells.
No lecture slides are available for downloading.
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