Maryland Robotics Center Seminar: Biologically Inspired Soft Mobile Robots
Friday, September 16, 2022
Michael T. Tolley
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Jacobs School of Engineering
UC San Diego
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 recent projects in the lab that investigate the ways in which the use of non-rigid materials can help solve challenging problems in robotics. These projects seek to develop bioinspired systems capable of navigating the world by walking, digging, and swimming (inspired by animals like turtles, worms, and squid) and of interacting safely with humans and delicate objects.
Michael T. Tolley is Associate 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 at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science from Cornell University in 2009 and 2011, respectively. His research seeks inspiration from nature to design robotic systems with the versatility, resilience, and efficiency of biological organisms. Example topics include soft robots, origami robots, and systems capable of self-assembly. 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.