IGM Colloquium: Prof. Mike Tolley, Biologically inspired soft robots

© 2018 EPFL / Prof. Mike Tolley

© 2018 EPFL / Prof. Mike Tolley

Design, Fabrication, and Control of Biologically Inspired Soft Robots
Robotics has the potential to address many of today’s pressing problems in fields ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to disaster relief.

However, the traditional approaches used on the factory floor do not perform well in unstructured environments. The key to solving many of these challenges is to explore new, non-traditional designs. Fortunately, nature surrounds us with examples of novel ways to navigate and interact with the real world. Dr. Tolley’s Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab seeks to borrow the key principles of operation from biological systems and apply them to robotic design. This talk will give an overview of projects in the lab demonstrating approaches to the design, fabrication, and control of soft robotic systems. These projects seek to develop bioinspired systems capable of navigating the world by walking, digging, and swimming, of interacting directly with humans and delicate objects, and of self-assembly by folding.

Michael T. Tolley is Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and director of the Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab at the Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego (bioinspired.eng.ucsd.edu). Before joining the mechanical engineering faculty at UCSD in the fall of 2014, he was a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University. He received the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science from Cornell University in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He received the B. Eng. degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal in 2005. His research interests include biologically inspired robotics and design, origami-inspired fabrication, self-assembly, and soft robotics. His work has appeared in leading academic journals including Science and Nature, and has been recognized by awards including a US Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program award and a 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award