DISRUPTIVE: BIOINSPIRED ROBOTICS
Host Terrence McNally interviews Robert Wood. Podcast published July 27, 2015.
Hello, welcome to DISRUPTIVE the podcast from Harvard’s Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering. I’m your host, Terrence McNally.
The mission of the Wyss Institute is to: Transform healthcare, industry, and the environment by emulating the way nature builds.
Our bodies — and all living systems — accomplish tasks far more sophisticated and dynamic than anything yet designed by humans. By emulating nature’s principles for self-organizing and self-regulating, Wyss researchers develop innovative engineering solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing.
They focus on technology development and its translation into products and therapies that will have an impact on the world in which we live. At the Wyss, folks are not interested in making incremental improvements to existing materials and devices, but in shifting paradigms. In this episode of DISRUPTIVE, we will explore: BIOINSPIRED ROBOTICS.
Many of the most advanced robots in use today are still far less sophisticated than ants that “self-organize” to build an ant hill, or termites that work together to build impressive, massive mounds in Africa.
From insects in your backyard, to creatures in the sea, to what you see in the mirror, engineers and scientists at Wyss are drawing inspiration to design a whole new class of smart robotic devices.
We’re going to explore this exciting territory in a three-part episode of DISRUPTIVE, featuring three members of the Wyss faculty, CONOR WALSH, ROBERT WOOD, and RADHIKA NAGPAL.
Today’s guest, ROBERT WOOD is the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab, a founding core faculty member of the Wyss Institute, and co-leader of its Bioinspired Robotics platform. Wood completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley.
In 2010, Wood received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama for his work in micro-robotics and in 2012 was selected for the Alan T. Waterman award, the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious early career award.
Welcome, Robert Wood to DISRUPTIVE…I mentioned a few biographical highlights, but before we jump into your work, in your own words, can you tell us a bit about your path?
Wood’s Personal Path