Our research encompasses the development of new communicating materials like silicones, hydrogels and liquid crystal elastomers for soft robotic functions. Those materials are capable to communicate by transmitting information between man and machine or between machines mutually. We foresee that we can make materials that can feel, sense and behave. As a long-term perspective one can foresee the development of evolutionary self-learning soft robotics following nature's approach to intelligent soft machines.Projects description
In our research team we develop responsive materials that address the advancing needs in specialized medicine, man-machine communication and miniaturized mechanics. Smart soft materials are in potential capable to fill in gaps in present technologies and to generate new, specialized functions making use of their ability to adapt their shape, to comply to confined and sensible spaces and to provide their functional duty on location.
A key aspect of our projects is to translate molecular effects to macroscopic phenomena which, in turn translate into (robotic) devices. Consequently, the approach to successfully develop new robotic functions adapted to their field of application must be multidisciplinary, containing all the aspects from materials design/development, photonics, electronics and mechanics. In the material, the various molecular functions are brought together, and the soft robot is given a body, which can be as simple as a thin film actuator or coating, but also be complex consisting of a composite of materials in an accurate three-dimensional shape. It brings organic and inorganic materials together in hybrid materials, built around soft electronics. More information can be found at www.danqingliu.nl