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Transformable Robotic/Material Systems


Robots are, of course, made from materials _ but is it possible to create materials from robots? New concepts point in this direction. Research into programmable matter, deformable metamaterials and modular robotics are bringing programmable functionality to the material level. This talk will explore new approaches to developing robotic/material systems, and propose possibilities for cross-platform research between the Bioinspired Robotics and Adaptive Material Technologies platforms.

Creating material systems that reconfigure or self-assemble represent a challenge that is closely related to the design of transformable structures. In each case, selective control over large numbers of individual elements is a basic requirement. Drawing from built examples, practical methods to simultaneously achieve structural integrity, mechanical function, and integrated actuation will be discussed.

The presentation will also consider strategies for achieving similar performance on a material level, which requires much smaller physical features in combination with even higher numbers of components. Focus will be on fabrication techniques utilizing ¥in-house’ capabilities from the AMT and robotics platforms, including 3D printing, laminate manufacturing as well as chemical/biological processes from the Aizenberg lab.

This talk will also introduce recent work in Ðreconfigurable prismatic materialsÓ, a new design approach where a broad range of transformable space-filling structures can be generated from periodic 3D assemblies of rigid plates connected by elastic hinges. This ongoing research is in collaboration with Katia Bertoldi, James Weaver and Johannes Overvelde.

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