Incredible biological capabilities have emerged through evolution. Of special note is the material intelligence that defines the bodies of living things, blurring the line between brain and body. Material robotics research takes the approach of imbuing power, control, sensing, and actuation into all aspects of a (primarily soft) robot body. In this talk, the research topics of material robotics currently underway in the mLab at Oregon State University will be presented. Soft active materials designed and researched in the mLab include liquid metal, biodegradable elastomers, and electroactive fluids. Bioinspired mechanisms include octopus-inspired soft muscles, gecko-inspired adhesives, and snake-like locomotors. Such capabilities, however, introduce new fundamental challenge in making materially-enabled robots. To address these limitation, the mLab is also innovating in techniques to rapidly and scalably manufacture soft materials. Though significant challenges remain to be solved, the development of such soft and materially-enabled components promises to bring robots more and more into our daily lives.
Biography: Dr. Yiğit Mengüç works at the interface of mechanical engineering and materials science, creating soft devices inspired by nature and applied to robotics. He received his B.S., 2006, at Rice University and his M.S., 2008, and Ph.D., 2011, at Carnegie Mellon University – all in Mechanical Engineering. He completed his postdoctoral work at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in 2014, then joined the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute at Oregon State University as an assistant professor. Dr. Menguc received the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) award in 2016. He is currently at Oculus Research.