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Program Activities

Overview

This new conceptualization of soft robots as machines that are adaptable, multifunctional and safe to operate will create devices that are capable of complex tasks that are difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional robots.

To achieve these goals it is necessary to combine research expertise across extremely diverse fields. Not only must we develop a better understanding of soft materials, we must also know how to make new ones. We need to know how to build appropriate structures, actuators and sensors; how to control movements in high deformation devices; and how to interface electronics, optics and power solutions into such non-traditional materials.

The IGERT program integrates four broad themes (Materials, Controls, Structures and Biocomponents) and 9 academic departments (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Mathematics).

The core IGERT training is embedded within each departmental PhD program and will involve active research as part of a Research Mentoring Team, participation in a week-long Neuromechanics and Bioengineering Boot Camp, access to Life Skills classes and seminars focused on career development and Innovation Challenge workshops in entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving approaches designed to foster the translation of research findings to inventions. IGERT participants will also be eligible to apply for an IGERT Fellowship and International Research Opportunities.