Soft Robots: Machines Inspired by Snakes, Lizards and Other Squishy Things
With Yiğit Mengüç, PhD, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University
In the movies, the typical robot is as soft as a tin can. But, inspired by animals that slither, swim and crawl, engineers are designing new robotic systems as soft as skin and muscle.
“Incredible biological mechanisms have emerged through evolution and can provide a wellspring of inspiration for roboticists,” says Yiğit Mengüç, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. “One promising area emerging from biological inspiration is the design of devices and robots made of compliant materials, as part of a larger field of research in soft robotics."
At the Corvallis Science Pub, Mengüç will present his research in soft active materials, bioinspired mechanisms and 3D printing. In his laboratory, called the mLab, he uses liquid metal alloys, biodegradable rubber, electroactive fluids and other materials that produce machines with the agility of geckos and the flexibility of snakes.
“Bioinspired mechanisms include soft muscles, adhesives and soft wearable sensors,” says Mengüç. “The mLab fabricates these materials and mechanisms through our own innovations in 3D printing and rapid digital manufacturing. Though significant challenges remain to be solved in soft materials, exciting developments promise to bring robots more and more into our daily lives.”
The Science Pub presentation is free and open to the public.
Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
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