Welcome to the Seminar Series in Physical AI

In the seminar on March 19, Prof. Metin Sitti from Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems gave a talk on "Soft-bodied Small-scale Mobile Robots".

Prof. Metin Sitti

Metin Sitti is the director of Physical Intelligence Department at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany. He is also a professor in D-ITET at ETH Zurich. He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University (2002-2014) and a research scientist at UC Berkeley (1999-2002) in USA. He received BSc and MSc degrees (1994) from Boğaziçi University, Turkey, and PhD degree from University of Tokyo, Japan (1999). His research interests include physical intelligence, small-scale mobile robotics, bio-inspiration, new robotic materials, and untethered soft medical devices. He founded nanoGriptech Inc. to commercialize his lab’s gecko-inspired microfiber adhesive Setex® technology. He is an IEEE Fellow. As selected awards, he received the Breakthrough of the Year Award in the Falling Walls World Science Summit 2020, ERC Advanced Grant in 2019, Rahmi Koç Science Prize in 2018, SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer Award in 2011, and NSF CAREER Award in 2005. He received many best paper and video awards in major conferences, including the Best Paper Award in the Robotics Science & Systems Conference in 2019. He is the editor-in-chief of Progress in Biomedical Engineering and Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics and associate editor in Science Advances and Extreme Mechanics Letters journals.


Soft-bodied Small-scale Mobile Robots

Untethered small-scale mobile robots have the potential to revolutionize healthcare, since they have the unique capability of accessing, operating and possibly staying inside hard and currently not possible to reach small spaces inside the human body non-invasively. On the other hand, soft-bodied robots have unique capabilities with compared to their fully rigid counterparts, such as shape changing and programming, physical adaptation, safe operation, and multifunctionality. Using such unique capabilities of soft robots for medical applications, we propose new miniature soft medical robots that are actuated using external magnetic fields. We first developed a shape-programming methodology for 2D magneto-elastic materials, and used such materials to create magnetic soft millirobots inspired by soft-bodied organisms, such as spermatozoids, caterpillars, and jellyfishes. A magneto-elastic sheet-shaped soft robot is demonstrated to be able to have seven or more locomotion modalities to be able to navigate in complex environments, such as inside the human body. Next, a baby jellyfish-inspired magneto-elastic milliswimmer is shown to realize multiple functionalities by producing diverse controlled fluidic flows around its body. Then, an array of cilia-inspired magneto-elastic cilia is developed to generate metachronal waves for efficient biofluid pumping and fluidic object manipulation. Also, various 3D metastructures-based soft robots with specific medical functionalities are introduced under ultrasound type of medical imaging modalities. Finally, liquid crystal elastomer type of stimuli-responsive materials are integrated with magneto-elastic composites towards self-sensing and self-adapting physically intelligent robots at the small scale.




Previous seminars:





Prof. Salvador Pané i Vidal  

Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH-Zürich 

Materials for Small-Scale Robots

Prof. Bram Vanderborght

Vrije Universiteit Brussel 

Soft Materials for Human-Robot Interaction

Dr. Joost Brancart

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Stimuli-responsive Materials for Self-Healing Applications
Dr. Aslan Miriyev Columbia University in the City of New York Materials for Soft Robotics


The seminar series is moderated by:

Prof. Mirko Kovac


Dr. Frank Clemens


Dr. Aslan Miriyev