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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.

  • "Signal Processing for Velocity and Range Measurement using a Micromachined Ultrasound Transducer" explores signal processing methods that can be used with a micromachined ultrasound system for measurement of distance and velocity. The primary application we are considering is small mobile robot navigation. The first author, Dominic Guri, is an undergraduate in mechanical engineering and an international student.
  • "Experimental Investigation of Crash Cymbal Acoustic Quality" was co-authored by an interdisciplinary team from Tufts and the University of Colorado, representing the fields of Mechanical Engineering, Music, Physics, and Electrical Engineering. This paper describes work done to produce a biomimetic robotic arm that strikes cymbals in a human-like but repeatable manner. The robot is used to generate acoustic data sets on cymbals. These data sets are analyzed to address the need of cymbal manufacturers for an automated methodology to quantify instrument quality.

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.

Trimmer launches new journal dedicated to the science and engineering of soft materials in mobile machines
Biology Professor Barry A. Trimmer, Henry Bromfield Pearson Professor of Natural Sciences and Director of the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory, is the Editor-in-Chief of the newly launched quarterly journal Soft Robotics, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Click here for more information about Soft Robotics, including a link to the preview edition.

Trimmer lab member wins TGI Business Plan Competition
Cinzia Metallo, Ph.D. candidate in Tufts Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Science and a member of Barry Trimmer's Neuromechanics and Biomechanics Devices Laboratory, is a winner in The Gordon Institute's 2013 Business Plan Competition. Metallo and her team won the Classic Venture Business Plan award for Myoelectra, a rehabilitation treatment in which thin, flexible wireless electrodes are implanted into the facial skin of people suffering from Parkinson's. Click here to read more.

Multi-material 3D Printing Facility
Through a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation, a new multimaterial 3D printing facility has now been installed at the Advanced Technology Laboratory. The Objet Connex500™ is Objet's top-of-the-line multi-material 3D printer and is available for research projects by contacting the facility administrator. The grant Principal Investigator is Dr. White with co-PIs Dr. Peattie and Dr. Trimmer.

Stop, Drop and Roll
Rolling Robo-Worm featured in National Geographic magazine, September, 2012
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