C2ST Speakeasy with Matthew Spenko July 21

Matthew Spenko

Matthew Spenko

Join IIT Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Matthew Spenko on Tuesday, July 21, from 7-9 p.m. at Geek Bar Beta, , located at 1941 W. North Ave., Chicago for C2ST Speakeasy. Spenko will chat about “Bio-Inspired Climbing Robots.”

In the robotics community, there is considerable interest in mobile robots that can climb and perch on a wide variety of building surfaces. These robots can be useful for sensor placement and long-term surveillance. The key is the design of controllable attachment mechanisms that can easily turn the adhesion on and off, to allow the robot to move across a surface. There have been numerous solutions for climbing specific wall types (e.g. electromagnets for ferromagnetic walls); however, these robots have limited usefulness in the real world as they tend to be too specialized.

The Robotics Lab@IIT has taken a cue from nature, and developed controllable adhesives that can be applied to multiple different surface materials with varying roughness. The adhesives are composed of gecko-like fibrillar stalks with an electrostatic adhesive backing. The two technologies work well in combination, often providing an adhesion pressure that is greater than the sum of its parts. This talk will discuss the bioinspired design process that lead to this design, and provide examples of robots and grippers that use the technology.

Spenko is an associate professor in the Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Department at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Spenko earned the B.S. degree cum laude in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1999 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001 and 2005 respectively. He was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Scholar in the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Center for Design Research at Stanford University from 2005 to 2007. He has been a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology since 2007 and received tenure in 2013. His research is in the general area of robotics with specific attention to mobility in challenging environments. He is a member of IEEE, ASME, and ISTVS as well as an associate editor of the Journal of Field Robotics. His work has been featured in popular media such as CNET, Engadget, and DiscoveryNews. You can currently see examples of his work at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry’s Robot Revolution exhibit.

Attendance is free, but registration is strongly encouraged. To register, click here.

Registration does not ensure a seat, so please arrive early. Great food and drink will be available for purchase.

This program is presented in partnership with Geek Bar Chicago.

For more information, contact Andrea Poet at apoet@c2st.org or 312.567.5795.