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MEAM Seminar: “Merging Human-Machine Intelligence with Soft Materials Technology”

November 10 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Whereas human tissues and organs are mostly soft, wet and bioactive; machines are commonly hard, dry and biologically inert. Merging humans, machines and their intelligence is of imminent importance in addressing grand societal challenges in health, sustainability, security, education and joy of living. However, interfacing humans and machines is extremely challenging due to their fundamentally contradictory properties. At MIT Zhao Lab, we exploit soft materials technology to form long-term, high-efficacy, multi-modal interfaces and convergence between humans and machines. In this talk, I will first discuss the mechanics and general principles to design extreme properties including tough, resilient, adhesive, strong, fatigue-resistant and conductive for soft materials. Then I will discuss a set of soft materials technology platforms, including i). bioadhesives for instant strong adhesion of diverse wet dynamic tissues and machines; ii). bioelectronics for long-term multi-modal neural interfaces; iii). biorobots for teleoperated and autonomous navigations and operations in previously inaccessible lesions such as in cerebral and coronary arteries. I will conclude the talk with a perspective on future human-machine convergence enabled by soft materials technology.

Xuanhe Zhao

Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Xuanhe Zhao is a professor at MIT. The mission of Zhao Lab is to advance science and technology on the interfaces between humans and machines for addressing grand societal challenges in health and sustainability with integrated expertise in mechanics, materials and biotechnology. A major focus of Zhao Lab’s current research is the study and development of soft materials and devices for translational medicine. For example, Zhao Lab’s invention of the hydrogel-elastomer tough hybrid is used in tissue phantoms for training doctors and researchers in medical imaging all over US, and the Kirigami bandage developed by Zhao Lab benefits thousands of patients for joint-pain relief each year

Dr. Zhao is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, ONR Young Investigator Award, SES Young Investigator Medal, ASME Hughes Young Investigator Award, Adhesion Society’s Young Scientist Award, Materials Today Rising Star Award, and Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher. He held the Hunt Faculty Scholar at Duke University, and the d’Arbeloff Career Development Chair and Noyce Career Development Professorship at MIT.


November 10
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
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