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Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar

Thursday, March 10, 2016
11:00am to 12:00pm
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Gates-Thomas 135
"Small is Different: Accelerating Innovation in Microrobotics through Biology"
Nick Gravish, Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiotics Lab, Harvard University,
Robots are poised to enter our everyday lives, and advances in manufacturing have paved the way for an explosion of growth in consumer and industrial microrobotics. However, robots at the milli- and microscale inhabit an "alien" world of complexity and dynamics that often defies our intuition. To confront the looming challenges of mobility and manipulation in microrobotics I propose that focused study of living systems can act as an accelerator to uncover innovative design, actuation, and control strategies. Current challenges associated with microscale mobility and manipulation in both biological and robotic systems are three-fold: 1) we lack a robust set of robotic devices for rapid hypothesis testing; 2) fluid, force, and material scaling laws at the milliscale challenge our intuition of locomotor dynamics; and 3) aerial and terrestrial environments at the milliscale are spatio-temporally complex and poorly understood. In this talk I will present research focused on uncovering the physical principles that underlie rapid, dynamic, and collective movement of microrobots and small-scale living systems, such as ants and bees. Lastly, I will discuss how closing the loop between bio-inspired robotics and robotics-inspired biology will
For more information, please contact Sonya Lincoln by phone at 626-395-3385 or by email at [email protected].