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Three SMR IGERT students, all PhD candidates in Mechanical Engineering, will present poster sessions at the 7th International Symposium on Adaptive Motion of Machines and Animals, to be held at MIT in June 2015. Max Hill will present "Structural Vibration for Robotic Communication and Sensing on One-Dimensional Structures" (Hill, M, Mekdara, P., Trimmer, B., & White, R.D.), which describes his team's work on the development of a robotic platform that can interpret vibrations in its substructure to make navigational decisions about its environment. Ultimately, Max hopes to develop a technology that will enable robots to communicate with each other via substrate vibration. Nikolas Kastor will present "A Synthetic Microswimmer with an Acoustically-Actuated Flagellum" (Kastor, N., Guasto, J. S., & White, R.D.), which proposes a model for a tiny flexible-flagella robotic swimmer that is actuated and imaged by medical ultrasound fields. Such a device could serve as a platform from which to perform tasks at the micro scale while swimming through a fluidic environment. Whitney Crooks will present "Using Social Media to Crowdsource Strategies for Soft- Bodied Robots" (Crooks, W., Rogers, C., & Trimmer, B.). Whitney's work is aimed at collecting and analyzing large amounts of data, generated by users logged into a Softworm Control Arena via one of the social media such as Facebook, with a goal of generating effective control strategies for deformable robots.
SMR IGERT faculty member Eric Tytell (Biology) is the recipient of two Army Research Office grants for support of research related to Soft Material Robotics. Both projects use fish to help understand how flexible organisms use their muscles to move effectively, despite perturbations or other strong forces from the fluid around them, which may help to discover strategies to control soft robots more effectively. One of these funded projects examines how fish may be able to change the effective stiffness of their bodies to help the accelerate more effectively. The other project addresses how the body and muscle can help dampen out the effects of perturbations from turbulence as a fish swims.
SMR IGERT faculty member Rob White (Mechanical Engineering) has had two papers accepted for the 168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, to be held in Indianapolis in October 2014.
SMR IGERT faculty member Eric Tytell (Biology) served on the organizing committee for a workshop on "Distributed Sensing, Actuation, and Control for Bio-Inspired Soft Robotics", which met Sept. 11-12, 2014 at the University of Maryland, College Park.
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