What do elephants have to do with healthcare? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. An example of an innovation inspired by nature is a soft fabric gripper, modeled after an elephant’s trunk. It can wrap around an item and pick it up without damaging it.
The field of Soft Robotics integrates knowledge from many different disciplines, including material science, engineering science, computer science, biology, zoology, health science, and business innovation. Soft robots like the elephant trunk gripper can also be useful in many different sectors where fragile objects are handled. One of the sectors where Soft Robotics can be of particular value, is in healthcare.
On 10 and 11 February, a Symposium about Soft Robotics in Healthcare featuring leading experts in the field takes place on the campus of Delft University of Technology, hosted by Aimée Sakes (Technische Universiteit Delft) and Rob Scharff (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia). All the different disciplines linked to Soft Robotics will be discussed, and how to apply them in the design of soft robots. Some keynote speakers have already been announced, Barbara Mazzolai (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) and Dr. Adam Stokes (University of Edinburgh) will both give an inspirational lecture.
If you want to completely immerse yourself in the world of Soft Robotics, there is also a 2-week Winterschool from 31 January until 11 February 2022. The Winterschool is full-time and will consist of lectures, workshops, case studies, excursions, and social events.