2022-11: TED Talk on the future of machines that move like animals
My TED Talk just came online on 8 November 2022. It’s about rethinking how we make intelligent and silent machines by using artificial muscles instead of motors. Most machines such as robots are made of rigid metals and plastics and use rotating motors or fast-spinning propellers. But there are no rotating motors in nature. Nature uses muscles to wiggle, walk, or run smoothly. Muscles combined with soft materials are more adaptive and safer to use.
In the Soft Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich, we create robots with silent artificial muscles. These muscles directly transform electrical energy into contractions. Imagine a submarine that has no more propellers but instead swims by moving its deformable tail from side to side, just like a real fish. That’s the kind of system we are looking into. We also have started to print, grow, and control real muscles from living cells. These lab-grown muscles are derived from natural resources, which makes them a great candidate for sustainable biomimetic machines that one day will safely integrate with us and also decrease emissions and pollution.
Check out my TED2022 talk at: go.ted.com/robertkatzschmann
2022-02: TED Fellow
Excited to be part of the 2022 cohort of TED Fellows, whose work spans five continents and represents 14 countries. I will get a chance to speak about my group’s soft robots on stage at TED in Vancouver. I am looking forward to learn from all the fellows and also share an idea of my own. The full announcement and a description of all selected TED Fellows is here.
2020-07: Starting Assistant Professorship at ETH Zurich
I have started a robotics research group at ETH Zurich in July 2020. You can find our latest ongoing projects on the lab’s website: https://srl.ethz.ch
Below are some of the highlights.
2018-05: Defending PhD Thesis
“Soft robotic fish swims alongside real ones in coral reefs” featured in:
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Reuters, BBC, NBC News, Nature, CNN, Wired, CNBC, TechCrunch, LA Times, NPR, CNET, Mashable, The Verge, Forbes, IEEE Spectrum, Popular Mechanics, Science Magazine, Scientific American, etc.