Welcome to the BU Morphable Biorobotics Lab!
The Morphable Biorobotics lab at Boston University focuses on robotics, and how robotic technologies can impact society. We are particularly interested in how robotics can improve our lives and create new opportunities in fields like medicine, surgery, rehabilitation, and exploration.
Our research focuses on design and manufacturing of novel robotic systems that exploit advanced materials, novel actuation, and sensing modalities to operate in highly unstructured and complex environments. This requires a strong interdisciplinary research effort in mechanics, materials, design, and manufacturing to build novel robotic platforms able to exploit their structure as well as the materials they are made of, to address challenging real-world scenarios. In addition, novel approaches to robot architectures and components require the development of appropriate control strategies for systems that integrate these components.
We use bioinspiration as a design tool. Nature can provide powerful inspiration sources for finding solutions to engineering problems. In particular, the study of how animals use soft body parts to move in complex, unpredictable environments can provide useful design tools for robotic applications. Mimicking animals requires investigating the most suitable technological solutions, and often new hardware and software approaches have to be developed as well, including new materials, mechanisms, sensors, actuators, and control schemes.
The two main research areas of the lab are Soft Robotics and Medical Devices. We aim at developing the next generation of medical devices and robots capable of providing advanced adaptation capabilities to unstructured and complex environments. We are particularly interested in how robotics could change the way therapy is delivered, enabling less invasive and more effective approaches to become viable.
The lab was founded within the Boston University Department of Mechanical Engineering by Prof. Tommaso Ranzani. It houses all the necessary tools to design, fabricate, and characterize novel robotic devices. The lab employs a highly experimental approach to develop robots and we use these robots as tools to explore fundamental questions in soft robotics, actuation, fluid mechanics, controls, and material science.