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RBE Colloquium and FORW-RD Thinking Series: Dr. Kris Dorsey, Smith College | Challenges and opportunities in designing tunable, soft mechanical sensors


Various images of robots at Robotics Engineering WPI alt
WPI Robotics Engineering
Friday, March 05, 2021
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm




Dr. Kris Dorsey

Picker Engineering Program, Smith College

Challenges and opportunities in designing tunable, soft mechanical sensors

Friday, March 5, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Virtual:  (sign-in required)


Abstract: Physically-soft mechanical sensors are poised to unlock exciting new applications in wearable devices, robotics, and human-machine interfaces. Typically with these sensors, tuning their properties through the device geometry is a challenge. A promising development in soft mechanical sensors is hierarchically-patterned structures within the sensor, which enables both deformation selectivity and the ability to tune, and potentially reconfigure, sensing properties.

I will discuss challenges and recent work related to designing and fabricating hierarchically-patterned sensors, including origami-patterned and kirigami-patterned sensors. I will also present work in enhancing the stability and mechanical selectivity of stretchable sensors, and discuss applications for such sensors in wearable healthcare applications and soft robotics.  


Bio: Kris Dorsey is an assistant professor of engineering in the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College. She was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and University of California, San Diego. Dr. Dorsey graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering and earned her Bachelors of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Olin College.

She founded The MicroSMITHie Lab at Smith College to investigate micro- and miniature-scale sensor design and to prepare undergraduates for graduate study in engineering. Her current research interests include novel morphology soft sensors, stability concerns for soft-material sensors, and sensors for soft robots and wearable medical devices. 

Dr. Dorsey has co-authored several publications on hyper-elastic strain sensors, novel soft lithography processes, and the stability of gas chemical sensors. In 2019, she received the NSF CAREER award.


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