So how does a chemist speak to an industrial designer? Collaboration requires different vocabularies and information which the embedded designer needs to understand and develop. Creating novel soft devices requires new knowledge-transfer methods between disciplines. Soft robotics is an emerging field that involves constructing robotic functions from compliant materials which can exhibit specific behaviours, such as shape, stiffness and temperature changes. This makes them an ideal medium for interacting with the human body and allowing complex integration of sensors, actuators and control systems. However, to successfully develop new soft robotic functions for real-world applications, the field must become inherently multidisciplinary.
This project was an outcome of the challenge-based learning, cross-departmental masters course ‘Device Integrated Responsive Materials’.