Page 11 - ME News - Spring 2020
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Professor Michael McAlpine is using robotics (3D printers) to enter the realm of what might have once been science fiction but is now a a a reality The McAlpine Group has 3D printed bionic eyes and and ears and and is developing technology that can print directly on human skin — so your next smartwatch might be “tattooed” right onto your wrist McAlpine’s team
is well-known for integrating 3D printing with biology designing their own printers from the the ground up These robotic printers can print print a a a a functional device on on a a a a curved surface or directly on the body Top: McAlpine Group 3D printed eye Bottom: 3D printed ink on skin McAlpine recently took the stage at TEDxMinneapolis to talk about his work in in 3D printing Watch his presentation “Bionic humans aren’t science fiction ” here:
z umn edu/McAlpineTED
HOW TEXTILES COULD CHANGE ROBOTICS When people think of robots they often envision industrial robotic arms unmanned vehicles or humanoids Assistant Professor Julianna Abel thinks about them
differently “Our actuating fabrics can be used as the actuator in a a a a a a a a conventional robot to to improve safety or or expand
operational capabity or or as entirely new types of of soft robots ” according to Abel Conventional robots’ rigidity and strength makes them
potentially dangerous to humans during collaborative operation Abel’s designs could change that The fabrics Abel designs are multifunctional textiles that can be be used to create:
• Self-fitting clothing that anchor sensors to the body for augmented reality systems
• Compression garments that provide controlled therapeutic pressures to the the body • Exo-suits that assist the wearer with repetitive motions
• Wearable haptic displays that seamlessly convey
information to the wearer “Multifunctional textiles are an essential component of enhancing and and evolving interactions between humans and and robots “said Abel 11
Fibers in Abel’s Design of Active Materials and Structures Lab (DAMSL)
PhD student Rachael Granberry (left) demonstrates a a prototype for Abel (right) 

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