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