Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Guest Speaker


Soft Miniature Mobile Robots


Dr. Metin Sitti


Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems


Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 12:00:00 PM


Marcus Nano Building, Room 1116-1118


Dr. Levi Wood


Soft functional materials could enable physical intelligence for small-scale (from a few millimeters down to a few micrometers overall size) mobile robots by enabling them unique capabilities such as shape changing and programming, adaptation, and multi-functional and diverse behavior. In this talk, our recent activities on how to design, manufacture, and control new untethered soft actuators, sensors, robots, and shape-programmable materials at the milli/microscale. First, inflated soft actuators with reversible stable deformations are proposed combining hyperelastic membranes and dielectric elastomer actuators to switch between stable deformations of sealed chambers. Next, new parallel microcracks-based ultrasensitive and highly stretchable soft strain sensors are integrated with gecko-inspired microfiber adhesives for wearable medical devices adhered on the skin. Next, new untethered milli/microscale swimming robots inspired by spermatozoids and jellyfish are proposed using elastomeric magnetic composite materials. Static and dynamic shapes of such magnetic active soft materials are programmed using a computational design methodology. These soft robots are demonstrated to be able to have seven or more locomotion modalities (undulatory swimming, jellyfish-like swimming, water meniscus climbing, jumping, ground walking, rolling, crawling inside constrained environments, etc.) in a single robot for the first time to be able to move on complex environments, such as inside the human body. Ultrasound-guided navigation of such robots is possible towards medical functions such as local cargo/drug delivery.


Metin Sitti received the BSc and MSc degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, in 1999. He was a research scientist at UC Berkeley, Berkeley, USA during 1999-2002 and a professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA during 2002-2016. He is currently a director of the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany. His research interests include physical intelligence, mobile milli/microrobots, bio-inspired micro/nanomaterials, soft robots, and medical robots. He is an IEEE Fellow. He received the SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer Award in 2011 and NSF CAREER Award in 2005. He received many best paper and video awards at major conferences. He is the editor-in-chief of Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics.