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Communications: Archived Events

Summer, Fall 2016

June 20, July 14, August 15, 10:00-noon
September 27 10:00-1:00
200 Boston Avenue, Room 4745
2016 Innovation Challenge

This year's Innovation Challenge was run by Kenneth Fan, of the Tufts Technology Transfer Office. Over the course of 3 months (June 20 – Sept 27), Ken had the students prepare pitches for their innovative project ideas by exploring crucial entrepreneurial business concepts such as Business Model Canvas, Customer Discovery, and Validation of Hypotheses. On the last day of the Innovation Challenge, students made their final presentations to their colleagues and to a team of judges chosen by BME Professor David Kaplan. Each of the two winning entries will receive up to $15,000 in funding:

  • A Soft Robotic Manipulator for the Mobility Impaired (Whitney Crooks, ME)
  • Silk-based skin tissue models for in vitro diagnostics (Sarah Lightfoot Vidal, BME)

Summer 2016

August 23-29, 2016
Soft Material Robotics IGERT Boot Camp
200 Boston Avenue, Room 2615

Presented by Tufts SMR IGERT faculty and senior SMR IGERT students
This intensive week of classroom presentations and team projects was designed to introduce SMR IGERT graduate students to the interdisciplinary field of Soft Material Robotics. The 9 students in Cohorts 4 and 5 attended 12 classroom sessions on a variety of SMR-related topics, taught by faculty members from the departments of Biology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering; and by senior SMR IGERT students Whitney Crooks and Anthony Scibelli. The students also worked throughout the week on 3 team projects involving aspects of Soft Material Robotics: coding and assembly of a Braitenberg vehicle; hindlimb dissection of a small animal; and design and assembly of a 3D passive-dynamic walker.

Spring 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015
12:00-2:00pm, Tisch 103 (Mark Computer Lab)
Making Effective Research Videos III
Presented by Michael Callahan and Marc Raila, Tufts Digital Design Studio
In this final session of the 3-part series, each participant will showcase their final videos and field questions about their research.

Monday, March 9, 2015
12:00-3:00pm, Tisch 103 (Mark Computer Lab)
Making Effective Research Videos II
Presented by Michael Callahan and Marc Raila, Tufts Digital Design Studio
Session 2 of this 3-part series is a 3-hour workshop on the technical elements of editing video. In this session participants will focus on the “ins and outs" of getting images, video and content onto the screen. This workshop will begin with a hands-on training session with the video-editing program Adobe Premiere Pro going through everything from creating the project files, editing, to exporting the finished product. The second half the session would consist of either a hands-on training session with Adobe Photoshop or DDS staff would work with participants as they begin to build their video projects. Participants will choose at the beginning of Session 2 which of the 2 above options they would rather have that day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
10:00-11:30am, 200 Boston Avenue, Room 4747
Innovation Challenge Training: "Business Plan 101"

Presented by Mark Ranalli, Associate Dean of School of Engineering and Executive Director of Tufts Gordon Institute
Mark Ranalli, who has founded several successful ventures, will present an overview of how to write an entrepreneurial business plan. In 2006, Mark founded Helium, Inc., a media source that applies a crowdsourcing filtering system to community-generated content that was acquired by RR Donnelly in 2011. Soon after launching Helium, he co-founded and launched OurStage Inc., an independent music discovery platform, based on the same underlying crowdsourcing principals and relative ranking patents that are leveraged by Helium. He grew his first venture, an internet professional services agency called Basessix, Inc., from inception to three offices and more than 70 people with a client portfolio that included AT&T Broadband, Comcast, AOL, ESPN, Starz/Encore, HBO, and National Geographic. Mark received an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BSEE from Stanford University.

Monday, February 23, 2015
12:00-1:30pm, Tisch 103 (Mark Computer Lab)
Making Effective Research Videos I
Presented by Michael Callahan and Marc Raila, Tufts Digital Design Studio
This is the first of a 3-session series. Participants are expected to attend all three sessions. This first session is a 1.5-hour workshop on Digital Storytelling, including how to hook the audience, set pacing to maximize engagement, and choosing effective images/content. Participants will also learn storyboarding, scriptwriting, planning and some of the more technical aspects of producing a video. Additionally, there will be a hands-on portion of the workshop in which attendees able to interact with the cameras, recorders, and equipment available to them at Tisch Library’s Media Center. At the end of the first session each participant will be asked to produce a short video, 3-4 minutes, detailing his or her ongoing research. In-between sessions, participants will be expected to begin recording and capturing images, video and/or audio to bring with them to Session 2.

Monday, February 2, 2015
10:00-11:30am, 200 Boston Avenue, Room 4745
Levin Lab Guest Seminar:
Dr. René Doursat, National Center for Scientific Research, France
Dr. Doursat is a researcher and lecturer at the interface between computer science and biomedical engineering, focusing on computational biology and bio-inspired computing. After a detour through the software industry, he returned to academia in 2004, first as a Visiting Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, then as a Research Scientist at the Complex Systems Institute, Paris (under the CNRS) and a Guest Lecturer at Ecole Polytechnique. He was also Director of the institute for two years, but handed over this management responsibility to dedicate himself again to research. Later, he lived in the Washington DC area, where he was formally affiliated with Drexel University and taught at The Catholic University of America. In August 2014, he moved back to France to take up a new research position at the CNRS BioEmergences Lab.

Thursday, January 22, 2015
10:30am-12:00pm, 200 Boston Avenue, Room 4747
Innovation Challenge Training: "Entrepreneurial Startup 101"

Presented by John Cosmopoulos, Senior Associate Director Tufts Technology Transfer Center; and Joe Lane, CEO of SafePath Medical
John Cosmopoulos is primarily responsible for inventions from the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine. He has concluded a wide range of licenses, sponsored research and collaboration agreements; has actively facilitated formation of numerous start-up companies; and has managed relationships with licensees and industry partners. John holds an undergraduate degree in biology, an M.Sc. in molecular biology, and an M.B.A. from Queen's University in Canada. Joe Lane has 20 years of medical device development leadership experience and is currently the CEO of SafePath Medical, which is developing a suturing device. His experience comprises management, product development, manufacturing, marketing and sales support, clinical support and training, and intellectual property strategy. Joe has been awarded ten patents and has several patents pending. He holds an MBA cum laude from Babson College and MS and BS degrees in engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Fall 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
10:30am-12:00pm, 200 Boston Avenue, Room 4745
Innovation Challenge Training: "Intellectual Property 101"

Presented by Erika Bechtold, Tufts Technology Transfer Center
Erika is a licensing associate responsible for working with senior staff to support faculty in Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. She recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at MIT focusing on biological engineering of new tools for study of basic malaria parasite biology. She holds a B.S. in chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Wake Forest University.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
10:30am-12:00pm, 200 Boston Avenue, Room 4747
Innovation Challenge Training: "Negotiations 101"

Presented by Dr. Erik Halvorsen, Senior Director, Tufts Technology Transfer Center
Dr. Halvorsen's experience in technology transfer spans patents and licensing, business development, marketing, investing, and clinical trials which he integrates for the purpose of translating research and innovation into new products that can benefit the public. He is a frequent lecturer and has served as a board member and adviser to early-stage companies in the fields of drug discovery, clinical diagnostics, health care information technology, and social robotics. He has a B.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in neuropharmacology from the University of Virginia, as well as an M.S. in human anatomy from the Medical College of Virginia.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
12noon-1:00pm
200 Boston Avenue, Room 4747
"Soft Robotics research in Europe"

Presented by Dr. Laura Margheri, Biorobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
Biomedical engineer Laura Margheri holds a post-doctoral research position at the BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Polo Sant'Anna Valdera, Italy. She is currently serving as the coordinator for the European RoboSoft Action Group.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
12noon-1:15pm
200 Boston Avenue, Room 4745
"Career Exploration"

Presented by Dr. Jacquie Ashmore, Frauenhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems
After completing a PhD in Fluid Dynamics at Harvard in 2003 and a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Cambridge, Jacquie Ashmore worked on a wide variety of engineering projects at TIAX LLC as principal in a mechanical analysis group. She has served as Head of Science and Innovation at the British Consulate and as Director of Program Development for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jacquie also sits on the board of New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE).

Summer 2014

August 20-26, 2014
Soft Material Robotics IGERT Boot Camp
200 Boston Avenue, Room 4745
Presented by members of Tufts SMR IGERT faculty
This intensive week of classroom presentations and team projects is designed to introduce SMR IGERT graduate students to the interdisciplinary field of Soft Material Robotics. Students attended 12 classroom sessions on a variety of SMR-related topics, taught by faculty members from the departments of Biology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering. Students also worked in small teams on 3 projects involving aspects of Soft Material Robotics: hindlimb dissection of a small animal; assembly of a Braitenberg vehicle; and design and assembly of a 3D passive-dynamic walker. View photos and videos from the 2014 Boot Camp >

Spring 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014
2:00pm

SMR IGERT International Research Presentation

SMR IGERT Fellow Whitney Crooks, PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering, presented a talk on her research experience with Soft Material Robotics IGERT International Partner ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. Whitney spent 16 days in July/August 2013 as a guest of Dr. Iida Fumiya at the Bio-Inspired Robotics lab at ETH. During her stay, she used SimMechanics software to model the motion of the Softworm, a soft-bodied caterpillar-like robot developed here at Tufts. Due to the Softworm's intrinsic non-linear behavior, modeling its motion in traditional software proves difficult. At ETH, Whitney developed a "continuous joint" model in which the Softworm is broken up into a large number of rigid links and joints that represent the Softworm's high degree of freedom. She was able to successfully simulate the Softworm moving forward.

Friday, February 21, 2014
1:00-4:00pm

Innovation Challenge Session #3

This was the final segment of the Innovation Challenge Training, which was designed to help SMR IGERT students look at their research through the lens of market and commercialization. As the culmination of the Innovation Challenge, the students evaluated the funding requirements of their own (and their peers') projects, and then allocated $30,000 from the SMR IGERT Competitive Innovation Incentive Fund to selected projects to help them move toward proof of concept.

Summer 2013

August 19-23, 2013
Soft Material Robotics IGERT Boot Camp
200 Boston Avenue, Room 4745

Presented by members of Tufts SMR IGERT faculty

This intensive week of classroom presentations and team projects was designed to introduce SMR IGERT graduate students to the interdisciplinary field of Soft Material Robotics. Students attended 10 classroom sessions on a variety of SMR-related topics, taught by faculty members from the departments of Biology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. Students then worked in small teams to create biomimetic robots that reproduce some aspect of animal movement, using a variety of hard and soft materials.

Spring 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
12noon-1:30pm
200 Boston Avenue, Room 4745

"Career Exploration"
Presented by Dr. Vishesh Vikas, post-doctoral researcher, Biology, Tufts University

Dr. Vikas obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida and is currently working with Prof. Barry Trimmer in the Neuromechanics and Biomimetics Devices Laboratory. His research interests include robot & humanoid control, biped locomotion, robot dynamics & kinematics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, optimal estimation, computer vision and nonlinear control systems. Dr. Vikas holds a patent for a gravity-invariant inclination estimation sensor whose operation is inspired by the human vestibular system.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
12noon-1:30pm

"From Benchtop to Startup"
Presented by Prof. Ayşe Asatekin, Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Tufts University

Ayşe Asatekin co-founded Clean Membranes, Inc. during the last few months of her Ph.D. with two other MIT graduates. She was involved in fund raising as the inventor and technical lead. After the company received venture funding in December 2010, she joined the company as principal scientist, and was involved in various aspects of the scale-up and commercialization process until she joined Tufts University faculty last September. She shared her experiences throughout this process, from starting the company to working in a start-up environment.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
12noon-1:30pm

"Bioinspired approaches to materials and studies of the abiotic-biotic interface"
Presented by Dr. Carole Perry, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
9:00am-2:00pm

IGERT Robotics Hackathon

Fall 2012

Thursday, December 6, 4:00pm, 51 Winthrop St., Medford Campus
Knox Lecture Series in Engineering Ethics: Virtues and Vices of Social Robots
Presented by Matthias Scheutz, Associate Professor, Director, Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory,
Tufts University

Social robots are slowly but surely becoming part of our society, from simple vacuum cleaning robots, to entertainment robots, robot pets, robot dolls, therapy robots, and many others. In this talk, Professor Scheutz will contrast the potential benefits of developing and deploying social robots with the potential dangers of having such robots in our lives.

Thursday, November 1, 2012, 5:30am-6:30am, delivered live via streaming video
"Living Machines: Soft Animals, Soft Robots and Biohybrids"
A guest lecture by Professor Barry Trimmer, Henry Bromfield-Pearson Professor of Natural Sciences,
Tufts University
Presented as part of the ShanghAI Seminar series hosted by Prof. Rolf Pfeifer, University of Zurich

Monday, September 10th, 4:00-5:00pm, Nelson Auditorium
"Soft Robotics: self-organization, embodiment, and biological inspiration"
An invited seminar by Professor Rolf Pfeifer, University of Zurich, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
A joint seminar –hosted by the IGERT: Soft Material Robotics Program and the Cognitive Science PhD program