LCSR Seminar: Ryan Sochol “Games without Frontiers: Beating Super Mario Bros. 1-1 with a 3D printed Soft Robotic Hand”
“Games Without Frontiers: Beating Super Mario Bros. 1-1 with a 3D-Printed Soft Robotic Hand”
Ryan D. Sochol, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Affiliate Faculty, Fischell Department of Bioengineering
Executive Committee Member, Maryland Robotics Center
Fischell Institute Fellow, Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices
Affiliate Faculty, Institute for Systems Research
James Clark School of Engineering
University of Maryland, College Park
Over the past decade, the field of “soft robotics” has established itself as uniquely suited for applications that would be difficult or impossible to realize using traditional, rigid-bodied robots. The reliance on compliant materials that are often actuated by fluidic (e.g., hydraulic or pneumatic) means presents a number of inherent benefits for soft robots, particularly in terms of safety for human-robot interactions and adaptability for manipulating complex and/or delicate objects. Unfortunately, progress has been impeded by broad challenges associated with controlling the underlying fluidics of such systems. In this seminar, Prof. Ryan D. Sochol will discuss how his Bioinspired Advanced Manufacturing (BAM) Laboratory is leveraging the capabilities of two alternative types of additive manufacturing (or “three-dimensional (3D) printing”) technologies to address these critical barriers. Specifically, Prof. Sochol will describe his lab’s recent strategies for using the 3D nanoprinting approach, “Two-Photon Direct Laser Writing”, and the inkjet 3D printing technique, “PolyJet 3D Printing”, to engineer soft robotic systems that comprise integrated fluidic circuitry… including a soft robotic “hand” that plays Nintendo.
Prof. Ryan D. Sochol is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering within the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prof. Sochol received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University in 2006, and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009 and 2011, respectively, with Doctoral Minors in Bioengineering and Public Health. Prior to joining the faculty at UMD, Prof. Sochol served two primary academic roles: (i) as an NIH Postdoctoral Trainee within the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and (ii) as the Director of the Micro Mechanical Methods for Biology (M3B) Laboratory Program within the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center at UC Berkeley. Prof. Sochol also served as a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tokyo. In 2019, Prof. Sochol was elected Co-President of the Mid-Atlantic Micro/Nano Alliance. His group received IEEE MEMS Outstanding Student Paper Awards in both 2019 and 2021 and the Springer Nature Best Paper Award (Runner-Up) in 2022. Prof. Sochol received the NSF CAREER Award in 2020 and the Early Career Award from the IOP Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering in 2021, and was recently honored as an inaugural Rising Star by the journal, Advanced Materials Technologies, in 2023.