Soft robots have the potential to adapt their morphology, properties, and behavioral control policies towards different tasks or changing environments. This adaptive capability is often inspired by biological systems. For example, some spiders and caterpillars transition from walking gaits to rolling to escape predation. Across larger timescales, caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis enables land-to-air transitions, while mobile to sessile metamorphosis, as observed in sea squirts, is accompanied by radical morphological change. During this talk, I will present three shape-shifting robot platforms: robotic skins, robotic fabrics, and a hybrid rigid-soft robot with morphing limbs for amphibious locomotion, as well as several multifunctional material developments that enable synthetic morphing capabilities.
About the Speaker
Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio is the John J. Lee Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University. Focusing on the intersection of materials, manufacturing, and robotics, her group is deriving new multifunctional materials that will allow next-generation robots to adapt their morphology and behavior to changing tasks and environments. She is the winner of multiple of early career awards including the NSF Career Award, the NASA Early Career Award, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, and the ONR Young Investigator Award. She was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for her approach to manufacturing liquid metals through printable emulsions and scalable sintering methods. She also received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers, for her development of robotic skins that turn inanimate objects into multifunctional robots. She serves as an Associate Editor of Soft Robotics, Multifunctional Materials, and Transactions on Robotics, and was General Chair of the IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics in both 2020 and 2021. In 2019, she was named an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer. She also serves on the Technology, Innovation & Engineering Committee of the NASA Advisory Council.