“My Robot Will Crush You With its Soft Delicate Hands!” talk at 32C3

I’ve been going to CCC for years, but this is the first time I’ve gotten a talk accepted in one of the main venues. It was thrilling to share my research with such a wide audience. I spoke about the kinematics of soft bodied organisms, designing soft robots, and future applications for compliant mechanisms. Below is a complete video of the talk and the Q&A session afterwards.

You can view my slides directly here.

Header photo by Sascha Ludwig.

Soft Robots in Space

I spoke at the NYC NASA SpaceApps conference last weekend about how soft robots might end up in space in the next few years. I covered mechanical counterpressure suits, exercise on the International Space Station, enhancing strength on EVA’s, and how space turns your heart into a sphere. Stick around for the Q&A segment at the end, where I get to field some questions from real-life astronaut Catherine Coleman.

You can see my slides here.

Cover image by ZEISS Microscopy.

Soft Robotics Talks at NYCResistor

I’m trying to get more people playing with soft robots. I’m releasing open source design files, tutorials, and now teaching classes. They’re a useful tool to add to any roboticist’s engineering toolbox, and if they were more widely known I think we’d see them outside the research lab and applied to practical problems.

I’ve taught a couple of seminars on soft robotics (demonstrating how I fabricate the Glaucus) over the last few weeks. I’m also giving a few talks soon – one at a seminar for engineering simulations, and another at NYC’s Spaceapps Hackathon.

You can find more information on the last few classes on the Soft Robotics Technology Meetup page, the ACM-NYC Meetup page, and NYCResistor’s blog. I’ve embedded video of the ACM talk below.


Title photo by David Rey. You can find more of his photos of this event at the NYC Soft Robotics Technology Group Meetup here.

“Hard Problems? Soft Robots!” at BsidesHH 2014

I’ve been going to CCC for a while. I’ve given some talks (mostly on the lightning talk track) and have generally had a good time. More and more, though, I’ve gotten interested in gatherings that orbit big events like CCC, Maker Faire, and HOPE. Unconferences, Bsides, and nether-conferences like BarCamp are less formal than a traditional conference, and often have the kind of wiggle room for instant breakout sessions and long Q&A.

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Print Your Own Robot: Part 5 29c3

I’ve finally gathered my wits after a whirlwind tour of Europe, starting at CCC, giving some talks and connecting up with potential collaborators, to Berlin to meet hackers I hadn’t seen in years, to Brussels to play with some material science experiments in impact resisting plastics. While at CCC I gave three talks, two lightning talks on digital fabrication and the strange world of news advertisement, and a 15 minute talk on the methodology and philosophy behind my soft robots. I’ll be uploading the short talks sometime soon, but for now please see my soft robots lecture after the jump. Continue reading

MAKEzine Interview Postscript

Recently I was interviewed by Make Magazine for their series Meet the Makers. You can listen to the podcast here. What follows is some extra links, photos, and resources that help illustrate the projects I mentioned in the interview.

I was incredibly flattered when Mark Frauenfelder asked me if I wanted to be one of the makers interviewed for the MAKE Podcast. I jumped at the chance. Now, having concluded the interview just a few minutes ago I wanted to share some links to the projects I mentioned, offer up a little further reading, and provide downloads for the open source designs I alluded to during my chat with Mark.

This is the tensegrity structure I built as a class project ever so long ago. It’s made of cotton string and 3/16″ dowels and supports a 1/2″ steel ball bearing exactly 24″ off the ground.

Here is a picture of the metal rod tensegrity structure I mentioned. Here’s a photo of the load bearing one that was a class project way back in college.

I talked for a bit about Smooth-On, the company that makes a whole bunch of mold making and casting projects, and how they had a tutorial on getting a metal look using cast plastic and metalized powder. I’ve found the relevant section inside one of their Youtube videos here. You might also want to look into the SFX powder pigment Pearl-Ex for playing with adding cool colors and effects into your casting/sculpting projects.

If you’d like to find out more about my huge mobile pipe organ project, The Anywhere Organ, you can find pictures up on Flickr, a running record of the progress I’m making up on its Tumblr, video of it in action here, and downloads for the design on Thingiverse. Continue reading