IRIM Robotics Seminar—Rob Shepard

The Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines presents “The Evolution of Soft Robotics” by Rob Shepard of Cornell University. The event will be held in the Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Rooms 1116-1118, from 12:15-1:15 p.m. and is open to the public.


The field of soft mechanisms and sensors provides an exciting opportunity for new hardware development in robotics, a field that is becoming more and more important. This talk describes the development of soft mechanisms, sensors, and their integration into robots for purposes that span from biomimicry, biomedical devices, to virtual reality immersion. My research group, the Organic Robotics Laboratory (ORL), chooses to use intrinsically soft elastomers to compose our robots and have created sensors based on optical waveguides, actuators based on poroelastic foams, and color changing robots based on stretchable, light emitting capacitors. The materials, processing, and mechanics of these systems will be discussed, as well as the potential for future development and integration of these (and other) systems.


Rob Shepherd is an assistant professor at Cornell University and the director of the Organic Robotics Lab (ORL). Research in the ORL focuses on using synthetic adaptation of natural physiology to improve machine function and autonomy, spanning these primary areas: bioinspired robotics, haptic interfaces, soft sensors and displays, and advanced manufacturing. The group uses soft materials, mechanical design, and novel fabrication methods to replicate sensory organs such as dermal papillae, replicate organs that rely on actuation such as the heart, and to power soft actuators and robots.

Shepherd is the recent recipient of an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. His work has been featured in popular media outlets such as the BBC, Discovery Channel, and PBS’s NOVA Science documentary series.

Event Details


  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Location: Marcus Nano Bldg., Room 1116-1118

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Josie Giles
IRIM Marketing Communications Manager