Barbara Mazzolai: "Robots that grow like plants"
Barbara Mazzolai, Coordinator of the IIT Center for Micro-BioRobotics (CMBR), gives a lecture on bioinspired robotics, a topic which can count on a rich scientific literature. More recently, the use of soft materials and variable stiffness technologies has represented an emerging way to build new classes of robotic systems that are expected to interact more safely with natural unstructured environments and with humans, with an improved ability of dealing with uncertain and dynamic tasks. The potential impact on society of plant-like self-creating robots could be huge and wide, e.g., in rescue, medical applications, space, or environmental monitoring. Since the design of these robotic solutions is deeply based on a few selected plant features, a new view of robots for biology can be envisaged, with the goal to give insights on the organisms themselves and open new exciting opportunities both in science and engineering.