Abstract: Innovation in soft sensor and actuator technologies is extremely important for future robots with medical applications, such as minimally invasive surgeries and human rehabilitation, where human-machine interactions are highly critical. This talk will discuss emerging technologies that enable us to transform traditional rigid robots to future soft robots to be used in healthcare. The talk will mainly focus on describing biologically inspired novel design and manufacturing processes, including: i) soft sensing - hyperelastic artificial skin sensors with multi-modal sensing capability; ii) soft actuation - smart pneumatic artificial muscle actuators with integrated sensing, inspired by biological muscles; and iii) soft robots - wearable rehabilitation and assistive robots equipped with the soft sensors and actuators as application systems. The talk will also discuss advanced manufacturing technologies for building multi-material and multi-functional 3D soft smart composite microstructures (SSCM).
Bio: Yong-Lae Park, Ph.D., is a Technology Development Fellow in the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, working on embedded optical sensing for robots in extreme environments. His current research focuses on bio-inspired soft robotics and micro-robotics for healthcare. Further interests include novel manufacturing technologies for soft smart structures at micro-scales. He was awarded a NASA Tech Brief Award from NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), in 2012. He was awarded a Technology Development Fellowship for independent postdoctoral research for three years from the Wyss Institute, in 2010. His recent paper on soft artificial skin was a cover article of the IEEE Sensors Journal in 2012.