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RI Seminar: Michael Wang
From Compliant Mechanisms to Hyper-Elastic Robots

Michael Wang
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore

September 12, 2014, 3:30-4:30, NSH 1305

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Compliant mechanisms provide kinematic solutions for transferring or transforming motion or force in a mechatronic system. Rather than relying on sliding or rolling motion as in traditional mechanics, compliant mechanisms produce their mobility based on the deflection of flexible members. This enables the integration of multiple functions into simple topologies, by embedding sensors and actuators to build fully functional and distributed devices capable of complex tasks. Further, the simple topologies in structural, mechanical, and electronic integration could lend themselves to advanced manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing with materials specialized in electro-mechanical sensing and actuation in addition to structural support, such as electroactive polymers and nanoparticle composites. Compliant mechanisms show promise for developing soft robots in addressing many pressing needs such as next generation medical implants and biomimetic medical devices.

This presentation describes an overview of a class of such compliant mechatronic systems and methods for their design and fabrication. It focuses on a computation method for designing compliant mechanisms with distributed compliance and/or made of multiple materials. It also presents an overview of exploratory solutions to modeling of soft continuum, hyper-elastic simulation for soft robots, distributed control of soft actuators (polymers or fluids), strategies for soft manipulation and locomotion, and rapid prototyping and fabrication of hyper-elastic robots.

Additional Information

Host: Matt Mason

Appointments: Jean Harpley (

Speaker Biography

Michael Yu Wang is a Professor at National University of Singapore (NUS). Before joining NUS in 2014, he served on the engineering faculty at University of Maryland and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has numerous professional honors–National Science Foundation Research Initiation Award, 1993; Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award from Society of Automotive Engineers, 1994; LaRoux K. Gillespie Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 1995; Boeing–A.D. Welliver Faculty Summer Fellow, Boeing, 1998; Distinguished Investigator Award of NSFC; Chang Jiang (Cheung Kong) Scholars Award from the Ministry of Education of China and Li Ka Shing Foundation (Hong Kong), and the State Natural Science Prize (Class II) from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. He received the Kayamori Best Paper Award of 2001 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the Compliant Mechanisms Award-Theory of ASME 31st Mechanisms and Robotics Conference in 2007, Research Excellence Award (2008) of CUHK, and ASME Design Automation Award (2013). He was a Senior Editor of IEEE Trans. on Automation Science and Engineering, Associate Editor of IEEE Trans. on Robotics and Automation and ASME Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering. He is a Fellow of ASME, HKIE and IEEE. He received his Ph.D. degree from Carnegie Mellon University (1989).