Design Symposium: “Informal Robotics” with Robert Wood, Conor Walsh, and Rob MacCurdy; Moderated by Chuck Hoberman

Unlike traditional robots, informal robots are light, flexible, and pliant; their fabrication involves the embedding of processors, sensors and actuators within materials such as folded laminates, soft gels, or woven fabric. Intelligence—both computational and material—emerges synergistically from these innovative configurations.This interdisciplinary symposium will bring together leading practitioners of informal robotics who will present their work in areas including ambulatory, swimming and flying robots, soft exo-suits to enhance mobility, and self-organizing robot collectives.

After these presentations, a moderated discussion will explore how informal robotics is situated within a broader convergence of computation, materials and manufacturing (e.g., metamaterials, programmable matter), and how these trends present opportunities for design at the product, architectural, and urban scales. Following the program, we will have a reception during which researchers and students will demonstrate their original informal robots.

Organized/Moderated by:
Chuck Hoberman, Lecturer in Architecture, Harvard GSD and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

With speakers:
Robert Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Conor Walsh, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Rob MacCurdy, Researcher, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Supported by the Rouse Visiting Artist Fund.

For accessibility accommodations, please contact the events office in advance at events@gsd.harvard.edu or (617) 496-2414.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office at (617) 496-2414 or events@gsd.harvard.edu.