Biohybrid and Organic Robotics Group (B.O.R.G.)

Lab group logo

Animals have long served as an inspiration for robotics. However, many of the mechanical properties, physical capabilities, and the behavioral flexibility seen in animals have yet to be achieved in robotic platforms. Towards addressing this gap, research in the CMU B.O.R.G focuses on the use of organic materials as structures, actuators, sensors, and controllers towards the development of biohybrid and organic robots. The research group’s long-term goal is to develop completely organic, autonomous robots with programmable neural circuits. Such robotic systems will have future applications in medicine, search and rescue, and environmental monitoring.

Faculty

Victoria Webster-Wood

Victoria Webster-Wood

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Courtesy Appointment in Biomedical Engineering

Joining the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Fall 2018, Webster-Wood established the Biohybrid and Organic Robotics Group (B.O.R.G.), bringing together bio-inspired robotics, tissue engineering, and computational neuroscience to create novel devices.  

 

Publications

Vickie Webster-Wood’s most recent list of publications can be found on Google Scholar

Office
Scaife Hall 309
Phone
412-268-3017
Fax
412-268-3348
Email
vwebster@andrew.cmu.edu
Google Scholar
Victoria Webster-Wood

Projects

Research in the CMU B.O.R.G. focuses on the study and application of organic tissues to create sustainable, biocompatible robotic systems. By studying existing tissues (such as skeletal muscle or neural circuits), we seek to identify design guidelines for bio-inspired and biohybrid robots. We can also use tissues, or cells isolated from these tissues, to grow novel organic systems in order to build biocompatible robots seeking to capture the compliance, behavioral flexibility, and force-to-weight ratios seen in living organisms. 

 

 

Research team

Michael Bennington

Michael Bennington

Doctorate

Research interests
biomechanics, neuromechanics, biorobotics, and computational modeling
Kevin Dai

Kevin Dai

Doctorate

Research interests
Bio-robots and controls
Kathleen Gladson

Kathleen Gladson

Doctorate

Ashlee Liao

Ashlee Liao

Doctorate

Co-Advisor
Jessica Zhang
Research interests
biorobotics, biomechanics, neural controls
Kuanren Qian

Kuanren Qian

Doctorate

Co-Advisor
Jessica Zhang
Research interests
bioinspired robotics, neuron growth modeling
Saul Schaffer

Saul Schaffer

Doctorate

Research interests
biohybrid actuators, prosthetics, 3D printing, metamaterials
Wenhuan Sun

Wenhuan Sun

Doctorate

Research interests
Bioinspired robotics, bio-3D printing actuators, and robots
Annie Chen

Annie Chen

Undergraduate

Research interests
Mechatronics
Nickia Muraskin

Nickia Muraskin

Undergraduate

Research interests
bio-inspired robotics and prosthetics
Allison Rojas

Allison Rojas

Undergraduate

Research interests
product design, medical device design, design for emerging markets and developing countries

Lab alumni and past researchers

  • Gordon Gao (MS)
  • Jason Paulovich (MS)

Courses

Current courses

Course Course Name Location Units Semester Offered
24-354 Special Topics: Gadgetry: Sensors, Actuators, and Processors Pittsburgh 9 Fall

Join us

If you are interested in joining the CMU B.O.R.G. please read the appropriate section below.

Undergraduates: Projects are advertised through the MechE newsletter as they are available. Please refer to this information for opportunities to join the lab or email Dr. Webster-Wood with the tag [Undergrad] in the subject if you are interested in whether new projects may be becoming available.

Graduate students: All graduate students (MS or Ph.D.) will only be considered through the official CMU application system. Please apply online. If you are an admitted MS student and would like to learn about available projects please refer to the MS Canvas page or email Dr. Webster-Wood with the tag [MS] in the subject.

Postdocs: No postdoc positions are available at this time.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Media mentions


CMU Engineering

Tuning synthetic collagen threads for biohybrid robots

Researchers in Victoria Webster-Wood’s Biohybrid and Organic Robotics Group are using techniques from tissue engineering to refine tendon-like collagen threads for a new generation of robots.

Mechanical Engineering

Biomechanics for teens

National Biomechanics Day is a worldwide celebration that strives to bring the complex world of biomechanics to high school students through hands-on activities, demonstrations, and Q&A sessions with real-world professionals.

CMU Engineering

NSF CAREER grants awarded to engineering faculty

Four engineering faculty received NSF CAREER awards to support their education and research goals.

CMU Engineering

Sea slugs to provide clues in understanding the brain

As the co-principal investigator on an NSF NeuroNex project, Victoria Webster-Wood will investigate the impact of neuromodulators on muscle actuation and modeling biological motor control in engineering frameworks.

Mechanical Engineering

Reassess, recalibrate, and transform

Mechanical Engineering students and faculty adapted with innovation and agility to finish the spring 2020 semester during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mechanical Engineering

We have a Wimmer

As a 2020-2021 Wimmer Faculty Fellow, Victoria Webster-Wood plans to design interactive demonstrations and to build virtual labs for the course “Gadgetry: Sensors, Actuators, and Processors.”

Webster-Wood named Wimmer Faculty Fellow

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood has been named a 2020-2021 Wimmer Faculty Fellow. The fellowship is designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work.

Future Tech Podcast

Webster-Wood on biohybrid and organic robotics research

MechE’s Victoria Webster-Wood was a guest on the Future Tech Podcast and discussed her research in developing biohybrid and organic robots. Webster-Wood describes how she and her lab are integrating muscle and neurologic tissue of animals into robots.

Mechanical Engineering

From bioinspired to biohybrid

Victoria Webster-Wood uses organic materials to build robotic devices for future applications in medicine and environmental science.

Science Friday

Webster-Wood featured on podcast panel

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood, who will be joining the department in the fall of 2018, was interviewed for her work on biohybrid robotics on WNYC’s Science Friday podcast.

create

Webster-Wood quoted on future direction of biohybrid robotics

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood’s was included in create’s list of “10 big robotics challenges that need to be solved in the next 10 years."

3D Print

Webster-Wood featured on 3DPrint.com

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood was featured on 3DPrint.com in an overview of her work as one of the leading researchers in the newly christened field of "organismal engineering."