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Collaborative Projects

Biomimetic Technologies for Soft-bodied Robots
A major project at the ATL is the development of technologies to exploit soft materials in new types of devices. The initiation of this collaboration was made possible by a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation and is co-directed by David Kaplan, professor of biomedical engineering, and Barry Trimmer, professor of biology and representing a consortium of seven Tufts faculty members from five departments in the School of Engineering and the School of Arts & Sciences.  An initial prototype robot from this project "SoftBot", was recently featured in an exhibition (Design and the Elastic Mind) at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

Microfabrication teaching facility
The trustees of the Elizabeth A. Lufkin - Richard H. Lufkin Memorial Fund awarded the university a grant to support the establishment of a microfabrication teaching facility. The microelectronics and microsensors industry continues to grow worldwide, and this grant brings microfabrication equipment to Tufts students, who are using it to gain hands-on manufacturing experience in emerging techniques with cutting-edge research and industrial applications. The facility is available to all members of the ATL and is directed by Prof. Robert White.

Chemical robots: morphing, soft-material robots for covert access
In a new project funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) researchers at the ATL are developing chemical robots that will be so soft that they will be able to squeeze into spaces as tiny as 1 centimeter, then morph back into something 10 times larger, and ultimately biodegrade.  These devices could extend the capabilities of today's unmanned ground vehicles by accessing urban environments, tunnels, caves and debris fields.  Once in place, the energy-efficient chembots could survey the area using little power and then morph to accomplish their task.  For example, they might gain entry to an Improvised Explosive Device to gather information or potentially disable the device. Other applications include landmine detection, search and rescue in hazardous conditions and biomedical diagnosis.

In addition to Professors Trimmer and Kaplan, team members include Associate Professor Luis Dorfmann, civil and environmental engineering, Assistant Professor Valencia Joyner, electrical and computer engineering; Visiting Assistant Professor Gary Leisk, mechanical engineering; Assistant Professor Sameer Sonkusale, electrical and computer engineering; Assistant Professor Robert White, and Assistant Professor Jason Rife, mechanical engineering.

 
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