Engineered biomimicry and advanced testing for infrastructure will have a greater role at the annual SPIE Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation (SS/NDE) symposium in San Diego in March.
Along with 10 conferences devoted to nondestructive testing, structural health monitoring, smart sensors, and electroactive polymer actuators and devices (EAPAD), the 21st annual international symposium, 9-13 March, will have sessions on biomimicry and soft-bodied robots in engineering research and practice.
SPIE is partnering with the San Diego Zoo this year to host a panel discussion at the Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication conference on the current state of bioinspiration in the research lab, its challenges, and future solutions.
A representative from the zoo’s Centre for Bioinspiration will bring an “animal ambassador” to demonstrate how engineers can transfer ideas and capabilities from nature to commercial products, services, and processes that benefit the world.
The panel is open to all attendees and will focus on all aspects of engineered biomimicry, including education, awareness, applications, research, and funding sources.
Five plenary sessions, also open to all attendees, will cover systems for intelligent adaptive fluid-structure interactions, flexible electronics, non-contact sensing techniques, hybrid nanodevices, and other topics.
SPIE Senior Member Hoon Sohn of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in South Korea will discuss noncontact laser sensing techniques for structural health monitoring and non-destructive testing in his plenary presentation. The techniques are used to monitor and test aircraft, wind turbine blades, nuclear power plants, bridges, semiconductors, and other structures.
Other plenary speakers will be:
• Karlheinz Bock, deputy director of Fraunhofer EMFT in Germany
• Peter Cawley, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London
• Gianaurelio Cuniberti, chair of Materials Science and Nanotechnology at Technische Universität Dresden
• Roger Ohayon, professor emeritus at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in Paris
Interactive EAP session
The event will also include the annual EAP-in-Action session with demonstrations of electroactive polymer materials and opportunities for hands-on interactions. Tentatively scheduled for this year’s session will be a crawling microbot with movement inspired by an inchworm and propelled by liquid-based bending EAPs.
Also scheduled for the popular session are a computer mouse enhanced with dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) technology to provide tactile feedback into the user’s palm; wearable energy harvesters, and soft-sensor technologies such as a wireless glove powered by dielectric elastomer generators.
A high-speed, silicone, DEA-based multigripper, a candidate to be mounted on a Swiss satellite to demonstrate the possibility of orbital debris removal, will also be demonstrated.
Robert Shepherd, assistant professor at Cornell University in New York, is the EAP conference’s keynote speaker. Shepherd will discuss soft-bodied robotics, a field that is creating more sophisticated robotic motions and safer human-machine interactions by taking advantage of compliant actuators and passive dynamics to reduce design, manufacturing, and control complexity and to improve energy efficiency.
Shepherd will also describe his work as a postdoctoral fellow with the Whitesides Research Group at Harvard University (USA), where he developed pneumatic actuators in soft elastomers that took the form of a machine capable of walking, undulating, and moving in multiple gaits. These actuators can be used in concert with a microfluidic system for biomimetic camouflage and display.
Symposium chairs are SPIE members Victor Giurgiutiu of University of South Carolina (USA) and Christopher S. Lynch of University of California, Los Angeles (USA). Co-chairs are Theodoros E. Matikas, professor at University of Ioannina (Greece), and SPIE member Jayanth N. Kudva of NextGen Aeronautics (USA).
Read more about SPIE Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation.