Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Majidi Receives NASA's Early Career Faculty Space Tech Research Grant
Assistant Professor Carmel Majidi was one of seven to receive the NASA Early Career Faculty Space Tech Research Grant, worth up to $200,000 per year for a maximum of three years of research.
Majidi's project, Multi-Purpose Artificial Muscle and Sensor Array for Untethered Soft Robots, will accelerate the application of soft machines to space robotics by introducing a "soft robotic tissue" composite embedded with soft elastic sensors, circuit wiring, rigidity-tunable elements, and actuators. These general-purpose elastic films will be millimeters thick and cover a large area. Because the films are soft and stretchable, they can conform to any shape or volume without exerting mechanical resistance. When integrated into clothing, soft robotics, or collapsible structure, the elastic composites can function as “artificial” skin, nervous tissue, or muscle. Potential applications range from strain, pressure, and curvature sensing for shape and contact detection to compact actuators that enable mobility and manipulation without reliance on bulky motors, transmission systems, or pneumatic hardware.
According to NASA's press release, "The selected technology research areas require dramatic improvements over existing capabilities for future science and human exploration missions."
Majidi runs the Soft Machines Lab at CMU, exploring multifunctional materials for soft robots that are safe for human interaction.