From Razor Clams to Robots: the Mathematics Behind Biologically Inspired Design


Hosoi, Anette


Session Description

Witness the latest innovations in the field of biologically-inspired design in this inspiring keynote lecture. Many natural systems have evolved to perform certain tasks-climbing, sensing, swimming-as perfectly as possible within the limits set by the laws of physics. This observation can be used both to guide engineering design and to gain insights into the form and function of biological systems. We will consider both of these themes in the context and crawling snails, diffing clams and swimming microorganisms. We will discover how and analysis of the physical principles exploited by snails and clams leads to the development of novel robotic diggers and crawlers, and explore the role of mathematics in the design, control, and assessment of unconventional robotic systems.

Speaker Bio

Anette (Peko) Hosoi is a professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago and went on to become an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in the MIT Department of Mathematics and at the Courant Institute, NYU. She is a leader in the study of the hydrodynamics of thin fluid films and in the nonlinear physical interaction of viscous fluids and deformable interfaces. Her work spans multiple disciplines including physics, biology and applied mathematics, and is being used, in collaboration with Schlumberger-Doll Research, Bluefin Robotics, and Boston Dynamics to guide the engineering design of robotic crawlers and other mechanisms. Prof. Hosoi is an exceptional, innovative teacher and an inspiring mentor for women in engineering. She was awarded the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching, and a MacVicar Fellowship. She is a recipient of the 3M Innovation Award and has held the Doherty Chair in Ocean Utilization at MIT. She is a Radcliffe Institute Fellow and was recently nominated to become a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Her research interests include fluid mechanics, bioinspired design and locomotion, with a focus on optimization of crawling gastropods, digging bivalves, swimming microorganisms and soft robotics.

Conference/Event Name
Winter Enrichment Program 2015

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