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RBE Colloquium Series: Mr. Roy Kornbluh | Active Materials for Robotics: What High Voltage Can Do for You


Various images of robots at Robotics Engineering WPI alt
WPI Robotics Engineering
Friday, September 25, 2020
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm


Mr. Roy Kornbluh

Robotics Laboratory, SRI International

Active Materials for Robotics: What High Voltage Can Do for You


Friday, September 25, 2020
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Zoom link: (sign-in required)


Abstract: It started with the desire to create robotic actuators that were more like natural muscle. That work led to more than two decades of innovation in electroactive polymers based on electrostatic forces. Experience with such “soft” electrostatics led to new types of mechanical metamaterials with the ability to modulate stiffness or damping by orders of magnitude, as well as wall-climbing robots and improved grippers for materials handling. Such soft active materials are also helping to create wearable robotics for human motion augmentation and even solid-state cooling for improved thermal comfort. The talk will give a mechanical engineers perspective on developing such materials for robots and other applications.

Bio: Roy Kornbluh,  is a Principal Research Engineer in SRI International's Robotics Laboratory. Mr. Kornbluh has more than 30 years of experience at SRI and has contributed to and led a wide variety of projects to develop new electromechanical transducers for walking, crawling and flying robots as well as other systems. He is one of the principal inventors of the dielectric elastomer type of electroactive polymer artificial muscle transducer.  Mr. Kornbluh is also the principal inventor of the electrolaminate  type of mechanical metamaterial that is being applied to a variety of applications in robotics, aerospace and biomechanics. He is the author or coauthor of more than 60 publications in the areas of polymer actuators and robotics, and holds more than 30 patents in these areas. He served on the IPC of the SPIE Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices Conference and is an associate editor for the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. Mr. Kornbluh has an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. In the early 90s, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador where he helped improve rural water and sanitation systems.

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