ISD Seminar - Designing Mechanical Intelligence in Magnetic Robots

Events 02 May 2024
Events Date02 May 2024 Events11:00am - 12:00pm EventsRoom 5510 (Lift 17-18), Academic Building, HKUST

Modern mechatronic systems provide precision and automation through highly specialized sensors, controllers, actuators, and batteries connected by electrical wires. Many natural organisms (e.g., bacteria, fungi, and plants) have evolved intelligent behaviors without sharing the same system architecture. Instead, the functions are partially encoded in the material and structures, and the control is performed by mechanical interactions between the material and the environment.

In this talk, I will show that by designing complex magnetization patterns, mechanical intelligence can emerge in magnetic soft robots. The development of these multifunctional soft robots poses challenges for the design, fabrication and control of soft magnetic materials and structures. I will discuss various methods for programming the magnetization patterns from the micrometer to the centimeter scale. I will also show the unique advantages and functions that can be achieved with novel magnetization in various soft robotic systems. Magnetic soft robots with complex magnetization can facilitate fundamental studies of active matter systems, construction of metamaterials, and design of novel biomedical devices.

The speaker

Hongri (Richard) Gu is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Physics Department of the University of Konstanz, working with Prof. Clemens Bechinger. He studied mechatronics engineering at Zhejiang University from 2009 to 2014. During his undergraduate studies, he participated in the Young Scientist Exchange Program at Tokyo Institute of Technology from 2012 to 2014. Later, he started the Master's program in Micro and Nano System at ETH Zurich and graduated in 2016. From 2017 to 2021, he conducted Ph.D. research at the Multi-Scale Robotics Lab, ETH Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Brad Nelson. During his Ph.D., he also worked as an editorial assistant for Science Robotics and Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems, processing submissions in the field of microrobotics, medical robotics, and soft robotics.

His research focuses on the development of structured magnetic materials and robotic systems for future disruptive medical technologies through the investigation of multi-scale physiological transport and the invention of new medical devices and surgical tools. Hongri received the ETH Medal for outstanding Ph.D. thesis in 2022 and won the Best Talk Award for microTAS 2022. His research has been published in prestigious journals such as Nature Communications, Science Robotics, and Nature Machine Intelligence.