The Organic Robotics Lab (ORL) focuses on using synthetic adaptation of natural physiology to improve machine function and autonomy. Our research spans three primary areas: bioinspired robotics, soft sensors and displays, and advanced manufacturing. We use soft materials, mechanical design, and novel fabrication methods to replicate sensory organs such as dermal papillae, replicate organs that rely on actuation such as the heart, and to power soft actuators and robots.
Professor Rob Shepherd is an Engaged Learning + Research Faculty Fellow at Cornell University. One of our primary goals is to convert the iterative design & manufacturing process developed in professor Shepherd's courses and research at Cornell into an instructional resource that can be widely disseminated. Previously, we developed a program for teaching robotics to K-12 students using soft materials that resulted in a peer-reviewed publication: Air-Powered Soft Robots for K-12 Classrooms.
Sanlin's work on patient specific left atrial appendage occluders is featured on the cover of Nature Biomedical Engineering!
Bryan successfully defends his PhD dissertation. Congratulations, Dr. Peele!
Kevin Passes his A-exam.
Sanlin successfully defends her PhD dissertation. Congratulations, Dr. Robinson!
Ben's work on buckled foam actuators is featured in Soft Robotics!
James's work on texture-morphing camouflage is featured in Science!
Bryan and Ben's work on stretchable transducers for kinesthetic interactions in virtual reality is featured at SIGGRAPH '17!
TJ's work on conductive 3D-printed hydrogels is featured in Advanced Functional Materials!
TJ's work on Click chemistry stereolithography for soft robots that self-heal is featured in Journal of Materials Chemistry B!
Professor Shepherd's review paper on fluid-driven soft robotics is featured in Advanced Engineering Materials!
Kevin Passes his qualifying exam.
Patricia Passes her qualifying exam.
Chris successfully defends his PhD dissertation. Congratulations, Dr. Larson!
Rob Shepherd awarded the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award.
Huichan's work on stretchable optical sensors published in Science Robotics.
Huichan successfully defends her PhD dissertation, and Rob successfully graduates his first PhD student.
Ilse's work on metal foams composites is featured on Nova's Treasures of the Earth Documentary.
Lihong and Sanlin's work synthetic arteries published in Advanced Eng. Materials.
Capt. Kevin O'Brien featured on cover of Airman Magazine.
Sanlin passes her A-exam. Congratulations, Sanlin!
Work from the Organic Robotics Lab is featured in episode of Rai Tv's SuperQuark.
Shuo's paper on stretchable displays published in Advanced Materials.
Rob is awarded $650,000 grant from Army Research Laboratory. Press Release
Ilse passes her A-exam. Congratulations, Ilse!
Bryan passes his A-exam. Congratulations, Bryan!
Shuo defends his master's thesis. Congratulations, Shuo!
Chris, Bryan, Shuo, and Sanlin's work on stretchable displays covered in Discovery Channel, NBC News, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, CS Monitor, Popular Science, Huffington Post, Scientific American, Science Magazine Podcast, Washington Post, New Scientist, Wired, RCS Chemistry World, The Verge, and El Mundo.
Highly stretchable electroluminescent skin for tactile sensing and optical signaling published in Science. Congratulations to Chris, Bryan, Shuo, and Sanlin.
'Morphing Metal and Elastomer Bicontinuous Foams for Reversible Stiffness, Shape Memory, and Self-Healing Soft Machines' published in Advanced Materials. Congratulations Ilse!
Ben passes his A-exam. Congratulations, Ben!
Chris passes his A-exam. Congratulations, Chris!
Shepherd Lab is awarded the SURP grant from NASA to work on 3d printing of low-RMS SiC mirrors in collaboration with JPL.
The Shepherd Lab wins the 2015 Soft Robotics Design Competition for its Soft Wheel Robot.
'3D printing antagonistic systems of artificial muscle using projection stereolithography' published in Biomimetics and Bioinspiration. Congratulations Bryan Peele!
Chris' book chapter entitled '3D Bioprinting Technologies for Cellular Engineering' published in Springer.
'Integrated soft sensors and elastomeric actuators for tactile machines with kinesthetic sense' featured on the cover of Extreme Mechanics Letters. Congratulations Sanlin Robinson!
'Poroelastic Foams for Simple Fabrication of Complex Soft Robots' featured on the cover of Advanced Materials. Congratulations Ben Mac Murray!
'Direct Ink Writing of Silicon Carbide for Microwave Optics' featured on the cover of Advanced Engineering Materials. Congratulations Chris Larson! Click here to see Materials Views article.
TJ passes his A-Exam. Congratulations TJ!
Professor Shepherd wins the Philosophical Life Raft Debate at Cornell University. Congratulations Rob!
The Shepherd Lab receives Engaged Learning & Research Fellowship grant.
Huichan passes her A-exam. Congratulations!
The Shepherd Lab receives grant from the Army Research Office (ARO).
The Shepherd Lab receives Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
'Scalable manufacturing of high force wearable soft actuators' published in Extreme Mechanics Letters. Congratulations Huichan!
Ilse passes her Q-exam. Congratulations!
Professor Shepherd receives the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award for his work on “Co-Continuous Metal-Elastomer Foam Actuators for Morphing MAVs.” Press Release
Bryan passes his Q-exam. Congratulations!
Ben passes his Q-exam. Congratulations!
Professor Shepherd receives the Young Alumnus Award for Material Science from the University of Illinois.
Ilse awarded the Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
Bryan awarded the Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
Professor Shepherd receives the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award.
Chris passes his Q-exam. Congratulations!
Huichan passes her Q-exam. Congratulations!
The Shepherd Lab is focused on the advancement of soft robotics systems. This includes walking robots, soft electronic skins that sense touch and shape in response to mechanical stimuli, and biomimetic actuators that mimic the function and movements of natural organs, such as the heart. We achieve this by coupling bio-inspired design with advanced fabrication methods (e.g., 3d printing, soft lithography, and rotational molding).