2018 MRS Spring Meeting

Call for Papers

Symposium SM01—Soft Materials, Sensors, Electronics, Displays and Actuators—Functional Components for Soft Machines and Robots

Soft machines and robots require a range of components with functionalities that cannot be achieved using traditional, rigid constructs. These components include: soft, tough materials of high elasticity, soft sensors, displays, electronics, antennas, and actuators, and adaptive, stimuli-responsive materials and structures. The properties needed from these technologies are rarely satisfied by one type of material; rather, the required function is only achieved by combining different materials, which span a diverse range of properties (e.g., mechanical, optical, electronic, thermal, etc.), together into hierarchical structures, composites, or assemblies. This process bridges the disciplines (chemistry, physics, mechanical and electrical engineering, etc.) of materials science, presenting a number of key challenges: (i) mitigating the mechanical and thermal mismatch between different materials during synthesis and operation, (ii) predicting the behavior of inherently non-linear mechanical systems, (iii) balancing the necessary performance characteristics of materials with the limitations of chemical and/or mechanical compatibility, and (iv) choosing appropriate modes (chemical, electrical, pneumatic, or combinations thereof) of power, communication, and control for systems that lay outside traditional engineering space. Strategies that overcome these challenges and enable the design, fabrication, integration, control, and operation of such functional, hybrid materials are critical to realizing the core technologies necessary to soft machines and robots.

Advances in numerous areas (e.g., soft materials, actuators, and sensors) make it easier to imagine a world filled with soft devices built to carry out a range of tasks, but they also illuminate a grand challenge for the community: Unlocking the promise of soft machines/robots requires methods that enable the facile combination of several soft components to yield functional systems. To illustrate and address this challenge, this symposium will cover the state of the art in this emergent and fast moving area of materials science by surveying the subsets of the field and bringing together a unique collection of invited speakers who represent critical areas. By providing a forum for this diverse set of scientists, this symposium represents a unique opportunity to shape the future of soft robots and machines.

Topics will include:

  • Synthesis of new elastomeric polymers with programmed mechanical properties (e.g., toughness, modulus, self-healing qualities, etc.).
  • Mechanics of non-linear soft materials.
  • Functional soft/hard composites and hybrid structures.
  • Soft electronics, sensors, displays, power supplies, and antennas directly applicable to the operation of soft machines/robots and similar synthetic systems.
  • Soft actuators: pneumatic, chemical, thermal, etc.
  • Soft machines and robots: design, fabrication, control, and application.

Invited Speakers:

  • Michael Dickey (North Carolina State University, USA)
  • Christoph Keplinger (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)
  • Rebecca Kramer (Yale University, USA)
  • Joshua Lessing (Soft Robotics Inc., USA)
  • Jennifer Lewis (Harvard University, USA)
  • Carmel Majidi (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
  • Cagdas Onal (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA)
  • Jamie Paik (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Panagiotis Polygerinos (Arizona State University, USA)
  • Wilson Poon (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
  • Jeong-Yun Sun (Seoul National University, Republic of Korea)
  • Michael Tolley (University of California, San Diego, USA)
  • Conor Walsh (Harvard University, USA)
  • George Whitesides (Harvard University, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Stephen Morin
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
402-472-4608, smorin2@unl.edu

Ozge Akbulut
Sabanci University
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences

Robert Shepherd
Cornell University
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
607-255-8654, rfs247@cornell.edu

Adam Stokes
The University of Edinburgh
Institute of Integrated Micro and Nano Systems, School of Engineering
United Kingdom
44-0-131-650-5611, Adam.Stokes@ed.ac.uk

Keywords for Abstract Submission

Composite elastomers, Hybrid elastomers, Soft actuators, Soft electronics, Soft robotics, Soft sensors