Assistant Professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
Rebecca Kramer is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Her research interests include responsive materials, micro-fabrication with soft matter, and control of soft-bodied systems. Rebecca completed her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University (2007), M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley (2008), and PhD in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University (2012). She is the recipient of a NASA Early Career Faculty Award.
Abstract: Future generations of robots, electronics, and assistive wearable devices will include systems that are soft, elastically deformable, and may adapt their functionality in unstructured environments. The emerging field of soft robotics utilizes soft active materials to address these challenges and mimic the inherent compliance of natural soft-bodied systems. As soft-matter mechanisms increase in complexity, the challenges for functionality revert to basic questions of manufacturing, materials, and design - whereas such aspects are far more developed for traditional rigid-bodied systems. This talk will specifically highlight preliminary designs for engineered fabrics and skins that address wearable applications, providing both sensory feedback and imparting motion to the wearer.