<h3>George WHITESIDES</h3>


Harvard University, USA

Plenary Lecture | Thursday, 22 June 2017 09:15 – 10:00 hrs

~ Soft Robotics~ 

“Robotics” is a field with broad interest: it combines mechanical engineering, information science, and animal physiology with manufacturing, workforce development, economics, and other areas. The most highly developed classes of robots have been build based on conceptual models provided by the body-plans of animals with skeletons (humans, horses), and have made it possible to carry out tasks that humans and animals could not (for a variety of reasons). We are interested in robots based a different, simpler class of organisms (invertebrates: starfish, worms, octopi)—so-called “soft” robots. Because these organisms, and the robots having designs stimulated by them, have no skeletons, they provide enormous opportunities in materials and polymer science, rather than primarily in mechanical engineering. These robots or actuators are intrinsically “cooperative” (e.g., able to work safely with, or close to, humans); they dramatically simplify the complexity of the controllers required, by substituting the properties of materials for active controls; they lower cost and weight, and often increase efficiency. The most highly developed of soft “robots” are actually actuators, already transitioning to manufacturing for a variety of uses.This lecture will outline one approach to soft robots, and suggest problems and opportunities in this new field.