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From Monolithic Systems to Soft Robots
ME-EM Graduate Seminar Speaker Series
Dr. Girish Krishnan
University of Illinois
Abstract: While robots and engineering artifacts are becoming increasingly intelligent, innovations in their structural design have not kept pace. Most robots still consist of myriad bulky rigid parts connected by interfaces or joints leading to non-optimal performance. In contrast, around 90% of nature’s species (invertebrates) are designed seamlessly and use material elasticity to undergo spatial continuum deformation. In this talk, I will demonstrate the translation of this bioinspired design paradigm, namely distributed compliance in two fields: monolithic compliant mechanisms and soft robots.
While design theory is well developed for load bearing structures and rigid link mechanisms, I will introduce a new visual technique towards designing spatial compliant or flexible mechanisms that are simultaneously flexible and load bearing. The resulting methodology can be used to design negative Poisson’s ratio architectures and shape adaptive structures.
Applying the paradigm of distributed compliance to soft mechanisms leads to a class of soft robotic actuators that combine fibers, pressurized fluids and stretchable elastomeric skins. Design and analysis of fiber reinforced soft robots is complicated because of the coupling of the local microstructure with large global deformations. I will present a unique modeling technique to analyze their pressure induced deformation behavior, and accompanying insights on how soft robots can be designed by combining different fiber reinforced building blocks. Furthermore, I will demonstrate the efficacy of this method through two examples: an upper extremity exoskeleton, and a soft continuum manipulator.
Bio: Prof. Girish Krishnan is an Assistant Professor in the Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He obtained a PhD degree from University of Michigan in 2011, and a Masters degree from Indian Institute of Science Bangalore in 2007. Prof. Krishnan is the recipient of the 2015 NSF Early Career Award (CAREER), 2016 UIUC council award for excellence in advising and 2017 Freudestein Young Investigator award (ASME). He has published around 15 peer-reviewed journals, 30 conference proceedings, and holds two patents.
Invited by Susanta Ghosh
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