Autonomous Matter – Bridging the Robotics and Material Composites Communities

Robert Shepherd, Cornell University


Location: Upson 106 Conference Room Next to the Lounge

Time: 3:00p.m.

Abstract: The robotics community has been more aggressively incorporating new materials for improved performance—some call this Robotic Materials. These systems are, essentially, smaller versions of existing robots that are sometimes used in swarms; an example of this concept is “Smart Dust.” Concurrently, the materials community has been applying their knowledge towards autonomic responses—they call this Autonomous or Smart Materials. These materials have a feed forward response to applied stimulus, an example of these responses are self healing, or swelling with humidity. For example, Our research group, Organic Robotics Laboratory, is at the intersection of these two approaches. We are building towards the concept of Autonomous Matter, where sensing, computation, actuation, and power are part of a composite material. Examples of how we are moving towards the complexity and size scales that can be considered a material system with these abilities will be shown and discussed.