Sample Research

Welcome to WPI Soft Robotics Lab!

Our research focuses on unconventional robotic systems that utilize mechanical compliance as part of their intelligence. A soft system is inherently safe and adaptive, while being not particularly precise or strong. Our general aim is to harness the advantages of flexibility in mechanics as a form of embedded intelligence. Our research tends to reside at the intersection of bio-inspiration and scientific curiosity in general.

In other words, we are interested to build bio-inspired and soft robots and study how these new systems change the way we design, dynamically model, control, and develop motion planning and other algorithms for the next generation of robots.

Highlights

2020-10: We received a new NSF grant for our research studying wearable haptic soft robots and robotic teleoperation interfaces.
2019-09: Supported by a new NSF Research Traineeship grant, we started a new graduate student training program called Future of Robots in the Workplace - Research & Development (FORW-RD) Program, where we focus on robotic interfaces, assistants, and collaborators.
2019-02: Our research on origami-inspired snake-like mobility was featured on IEEE Innovate.
2018-08: Prof Onal received an NSF CAREER grant to support our research studying Origami-Inspired Modular Soft Robotics.
2018-03: Congratulations to Shou-Shan Chiang for receiving a PhD Global Research Scholarship to perform research with our collaborators in Europe.
2017-10: Our research on soft robotic snake-like mobility was featured on phys.org, R&D World, iHLS, and Telegram.
2017-08: We received a new NSF grant for our research studying intelligent soft robotic snake mobility.
2017-06: Our soft robotic salamander won IEEE ICRA 2017 Soft Robotics Speed Challenge Congratulations to Ming Luo and Yinan Sun for developing the world's fastest soft mobile robot!
2017-04: Congratulations to our MQP Capstone Project Team working on Animatronic Eyes for winning the Provost's MQP Award.
2017-04: Congratulations to Shadi Kalat for receiving the first place award at WPI Graduate Research and Innovation Exchange (GRIE) in Robotics and Cyberphysical Systems.
2017-03: Congratulations to Junius Santoso for receiving a PhD Global Research Scholarship to perform research with our collaborators in Europe.
2017-03: Soft Robotics Lab will perform robot demonstrations as part of TouchTomorrow.
2016-11: WPI Robotics Engineering Program received the inaugural ABET Innovation Award.
2016-09: Congratulations to Siamak Faal for receiving the IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE) 2016 Best Paper Award for his paper "Regionally Growing Random Trees: A Synergistic Motion Planning and Control Algorithm for Dynamic Systems".
2016-09: Prof. Onal received the James Nichols Heald Research Award.
2016-08: Our research on accessible robot making is featured in RoboHub.
2016-06: Our research on soft robotic sensing and control was featured in Robot Magazine, EduBots Section.
2016-05: Congratulations to our MQP Capstone Project Team working on Haptic Soft Robotic Gloves for winning the RBE Director's MQP Award, Mason Emerging Innovators Award, and Honorable Mention at Intel Cornell Cup.
2016-05: Congratulations to Weijia Tao for receiving the RBE Outstanding Senior Award.
2016-05: Prof. Onal received WPI ME Department Excellence in Research Award.
2016-04: Prof. Onal received a WPI Faculty Achievement Award.
2016-04: Our paper "Robot Makers: The Future of Digital Rapid Design and Fabrication of Robots" received the Robotics and Automation Magazine Best Paper Award.
2016-03: We are organizing RoMa2016 (Robot Makers: The future of digital rapid design and fabrication of robots), a workshop to be held in conjunction with Robotics Science and Systems Conference.
2016-03: Our research on elastomeric soft robotics was featured in Robot Magazine, EduBots Section.
2016-01: Our paper "Slithering towards autonomy: a self-contained soft robotic snake platform with integrated curvature sensing" was selected as one of the Bioinspiration & Biomimetics Highlights of 2015.
2015-09: Our soft robotic snake made the cover of Bioinspiration & Biomimetics - Special issue on Bioinspired Soft Robotics.
2015-08: Congratulations to Erik Skorina for receiving a graduate research fellowship.
2015-07: Soft Robotics Lab is part of the Make Schools Alliance.
2015-10: We received a new NSF grant for our research studying cyber-physical smart robotic prosthetic hands and human augmentation systems.
2015-04: Congratulations to Siamak Faal for receiving the WPI TA of the Year Award.
2015-02: Our autonomous soft robotic fish article was one of 100 most-read articles from Mary Ann Liebert in 2014.