From Robotic Towards Autonomous Materials

TYPEStatistical & Bio Seminar
Speaker:Yoav Matia
Affiliation:Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University
Location:Lidow Nathan Rosen (300)

Over the last twenty years, progress in soft robotics has motivated the materialization of physical intelligence through new forms of soft actuators, sensors, and control strategies. Nevertheless, the challenges of performance, and control in soft robotics remain limited by available materials. The natural world is inspiring a new generation of materials design paradigms, where multifunctionality not only tightly integrates multiple robotic capabilities, but enables truly autonomous behaviors. In this talk, I present my work on morphological intelligence, the embedding of logic in otherwise inert structural material, to organically merge control functions into the material without adding technological complexity. Next, I present an investigation of a novel approach to making a system with internal moving parts continuously function under deformation without jamming; showing its utility in a scalable elastomeric pump designed specifically to satisfy the needs of soft robotics. Last, I present these developments as fundamental precursor mechanisms for emergent material-based autonomy and agency where materials act on their own behalf. Part of a future vision of autonomous materials where information, agency, and computation are embedded into the material by virtue of internal architecture and physical mechanisms rising from multiphase multiphysics interactions organic to both the systems and the manufacturing method – The next generation of autonomous agents should be indistinguishable from materials, and integrate distributed actuation, perception, control, and energy capabilities.