October 19, 2022
Fabricating robots using additive design and manufacturing methods has the potential to transform when, where and how the advantages of robots are brought to bear.
Take this FlexTech Master Class to explore the potential applications and how to use new design tools, 3D printing methods and multi-material additive manufacturing to convert ideas into solid electromechanical robotic systems.
Led by Dr. Robert MacCurdy and Prof. Greg Whiting of the University of Colorado, Boulder, this course will provide you new ways to approach manufacturing, additive design and the role of robots.
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Current electromechanical design practice is predicated on the exercise of expert-level judgement through an interactive and iterative design and fabrication process that requires skilled humans at every step. This approach doesn't scale because it is labor intensive, and therefore biases robots toward longer-lasting, more general-purpose (and expensive) designs in order to justify the development and fabrication costs. Though appropriate in some cases, not all applications are well-served by this process. Many robot applications might be better-served by rapidly-built special-purpose or single-use machines, but automated design and fabrication tools will be critical to control costs, accelerate development, and be responsive to application needs.
The overall goal is to make electromechanical systems (robots) so easy to design and fabricate that we could enable people who are application experts (but not necessarily robot design or fabrication experts) to rapidly create robots for their specific needs. Although Roboticists claim that robots are for dull, dirty, and dangerous use-cases, the community predominantly uses them for the first case, because robots are currently expensive and slow to build, which makes them precious. If we change this situation by making robots practically disposable/expendable, we could potentially re-imagine many robot use-cases.
With this future in mind, new design tools to convert high-level requirements specified by non-experts into concrete electromechanical design plans, new materials that leverage multi-material additive manufacturing, and new multi-material 3D printing methods to automatically convert these designs into functional robots are being developed. During this course we will describe these various areas of current study as well as possible applications for 3D printed robotics.
About the Instructors
Dr. Robert MacCurdy is an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder where he leads the Matter Assembly Computation Lab (MACLab). He is developing new algorithms, materials, and fabrication tools to automatically design and manufacture electromechanical systems, with a focus on robotics. Rob did his PhD work with Hod Lipson at Cornell University and his postdoctoral work at MIT with Daniela Rus. He holds a B.A. in Physics from Ithaca College, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and an M.S. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.
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