Hard Problems? Soft Robots!

Lecture given by Matthew Borgatti at BsidesHH 2014:
Autonomous moving things come in two flavors. You’ve got robots, and you’ve got biology. Seldom in the natural world do you find solutions to the problems of grasping, manipulating, and moving like the ones we’ve come up with. Instead you find complex integrated systems that distribute load and provide power in a thousand brilliant ways.

This talk introduces some biological systems (like the beak of a squid which allows a creature basically made of protein-rich jelly to bite the heads off things orders of magnitude harder than it on the durometer scale), describes the engineering behind them, and discusses methods newly minted through digital fabrication and 3d printing for duplicating them.

In Matthew’s research at Super-Releaser he’s designed pneumatic soft robots with the goal of generating complex practical mechanisms from simple, easily mass produced methods. He’s going to bring his experience making things like a walking quadruped cast from one single seamless piece of silicone to a discussion of what’s on the cutting edge of soft robotics, where these technologies can be applied, and how you can start playing with your own squishy robots.