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Strategic Research Initiatives

Modeling, Simulation and Fabrication of Bio-Hybrid Creatures: Roadmap to NSF-STC

Mattia Gazzola: Mechancial Science and Engineering

Addressing the Problem

The overarching goal of this program is to learn to assemble building blocks of life into a new class of machines capable of behavior, targeting societal impactful applications in biomedicine and robotics. Living components offer unique abilities of self-assembly, healing and growth, adaptation, autonomy, and intelligence. Their combination with artificial elements enables the fabrication of bio-hybrid robots that are compliant and biocompatible, that can process multiple sensory feedbacks and coordinate large numbers of degrees of freedom to adaptively respond to uncertain environments. Thus, they open the door for novel control strategies and applications.

Research Goals

The vision underpinning this project is to decipher how living organisms orchestrate design, body mechanics and sensory feedbacks to master the physics of surrounding environments, and to implement these principles in living machines in which functionality, behavior and autonomy emerge from the interaction between artificial scaffolds, biological components and external loads. We propose to integrate bio-physical modeling, high performance computing, machine learning and bio-hybrid fabrication techniques in a novel and unique framework for the forward and inverse design of living bots (biological robots) able to perform complex tasks in unstructured and dynamic environments (fluids, solid interfaces).