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Cambridge robotics research on show at Robot Lab Live 2022

Cambridge robotics research on show at Robot Lab Live 2022

The Department’s Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab (BIRL) will showcase their edible, conductive and biodegradable hydrogel material for use in soft robotics as part of Robot Lab Live 2022.

We are excited to showcase our hydrogel by using it as part of a robot’s gripper. You will also witness us ‘eat’ a robot live, as this hydrogel is edible!

PhD student David Hardman

Now in its second year, this flagship event of the UK Festival of Robotics will see the Cambridge researchers take part in a two-hour livestream, hosted by the EPSRC UK-Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network, on YouTube, on Wednesday 22 June, at 4pm BST. Viewers can ask questions and interact with the 12 UK research teams.

Postdocs Dr Arsen Abdulali and Dr Ryman Hashem, and PhD students David Hardman and Fan Ye, will run demos of BIRL’s latest cutting-edge robotics technology. 

They will introduce a gelatin-glycerol sensorised hydrogel material that exhibits soft properties similar to silicone, but with some added extras. Viewers will get to see its deformable and conductive properties at work in pre-made soft wearable devices and sensors, followed by a demonstration of the material’s edible and biodegradable properties.

The wider team includes PhD students Elijah Almanzor and Grzegorz Sochacki, and Principal Technician (Robotics) Narges Hosseini.

“We are excited to showcase our hydrogel by using it as part of a robot’s gripper to dip a strawberry into melted chocolate,” said David Hardman. “You will also witness us ‘eat’ a robot live, as this hydrogel is edible! We are looking forward to seeing how its unique material properties can help further our research. The development of this hydrogel material was made possible thanks to modern additive manufacturing techniques via 3D printing.”

Watch the livestream below, on YouTube, from 4pm, on 22 June 2022.

About BIRL

The research interests of BIRL lie at the intersection of robotics and biology. Led by Professor Fumiya Iida, the team’s main goal is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the adaptivity and autonomy of animals through the investigation of dynamic robots, and to engineer new robotic applications that are more adaptive, manoeuvrable, resilient and energy efficient.

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