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

slug-round.png

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 and biohybrid prosthetics. The research group’s long-term goal is to develop completely organic, autonomous robots with programmable neural circuits. Such robotic systems will have applications in search and rescue, environmental monitoring, and prosthetics.

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.  

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

Kevin Dai

Kevin Dai

Doctorate

Research interests
Bio-robots and controls
Email
kdai@andrew.cmu.edu
Wenhuan Sun

Wenhuan Sun

Doctorate

Research interests
Bioinspired robotics, bio-3D printing actuators, and robots
Email
sunwenhuan@cmu.edu
Gordon Gao

Gordon Gao

Masters

Research interests
biofabrication, biomechanics, and injury recovery
Email
haopengg@andrew.cmu.edu
Jason Paulovich

Jason Paulovich

Masters

Research interests
Biomechanics, prosthetics, bio-inspired robotics, biohybrid actuators
Email
jpaulovi@andrew.cmu.edu
Nickia Muraskin

Nickia Muraskin

Undergraduate

Research interests
bio-inspired robotics and prosthetics
Email
nmuraski@andrew.cmu.edu
Allison Rojas

Allison Rojas

Undergraduate

Research interests
product design, medical device design, design for emerging markets and developing countries
Email
arojas2@andrew.cmu.edu

Courses

Current courses

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

Publications

2018
  • Abraham Z, Hawley E, Hayosh D, Webster-Wood VA, Akkus O. Kinesin and Dynein Mechanics: Measurement Methods and Research Applications. ASME. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 140(2): 020805-020805-11, 2018.
2017
  • Webster VA, Young FR, Patel JM, Scariano GN, Akkus O, Gurkan UA, Chiel HJ, Quinn RD. 3D-Printed Biohybrid Robots Powers by Neuromuscular Tissue Curcuits from Aplysia californica. Springer. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 10384: 475-486, 2017.
  • Webster-Wood VA, Akkus O, Gurkan UA, Chiel HJ, Quinn RD. Organismal engineering: Toward a robotic taxonomic key for devices using organic materials. Science Robotics, 2(12), 2017.
  • Webster VA. Development of Organic Machines and Biohybrid Robots. Case Western Reserve University, 2017.
2016
  • Webster VA, Chapin KJ, Hawley EL, Patel JM, Akkus O, Chiel HJ, Quinn RD. Aplysia Californica as a Novel Source of Material for Biohybrid Robots and Organic Machines. Springer. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9793: 365-374, 2016.
  • Webster VA, Hawley EL, Akkus O, Chiel HJ, Quinn RD. Effect of actuating cell source on locomotion of organic living machines with electrocompacted collagen skeleton. IOP Publishing. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 11(3): 036012, 2016.
  • Webster VA, Nieto SG, Grosberg A, Akkus A, Chiel HJ, Quinn RD. Simulating muscular thin films using thermal contraction capabilities in finite element analysis tools. Elsevier. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 63: 326-336, 2016.
2015
  • Webster VA, Hawley EL, Akkus O, Chiel HJ, Quinn RD. Fabrication of Electrocompacted Aligned Collagen Morphs for Cardiomyocyte Powered Living Machines. Springer. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9222: 429-440, 2015.
  • Leibach R, Webster VA, Bachmann R, Quinn R. Mechanical Improvements to TCERA, a Tunable Compliant Energy Return Actuator. Springer. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9222: 410-414, 2015.

Join us

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

Undergraduates: Research opportunities are currently available for undergraduate students in sea slug habitat design, and mechatronic system design and fabrication. To learn more and to be considered for an available project, please email your CV, research interests, and a statement of interest explaining why you are interested in joining our team to thecmuborg@gmail.com. Please include the tag [Undergrad] in the subject line.

Master’s: Master’s applicants can only be considered through the standard application process. If you are interested in pursing a master’s in the CMU B.O.R.G. please apply through the online system. To learn more and to be considered for an available project, please email your CV, research interests, and a statement of interest explaining why you are interested in joining our team to thecmuborg@gmail.com. Please include the tag [Masters] in the subject line.

Ph.D.: Ph.D. applicants can only be considered through the standard application process. If you are interested in pursing a Ph.D. in the CMU B.O.R.G. please apply through the online system and indicate Prof. Webster-Wood as one of the faculty members you are interested in working with. After applying, please send an email containing a statement of interest explaining why you are interested in joining our team to thecmuborg@gmail.com. Please include the tag [PhD] in the subject line. All applications will be reviewed following the application deadline.

Post-docs: Funded post-doctoral positions are not available at this time. If you are interested in being considered for a postdoc once funding becomes available, or if you are interested in pursuing an independent fellowship to perform research that would mesh well with the CMU B.O.R.G. please email your CV, research interests, a statement of interest explaining why you are interested in joining our team, and information about your planned independent funding source if applicable to thecmuborg@gmail.com. Please include the tag [Postdoc] in the subject line.

Inquires about joining the lab that are sent to Professor Webster-Wood's university email account may not receive responses so please be sure to email thecmuborg@gmail.com, which is processed regularly.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Media mentions


CMU 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."

Case Western Reserve University

Webster-Wood lead author on foundational paper of organismal engineering

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood co-authored a paper that creates a foundation for the emerging field of biohybrid robotics that the authors dub “organismal engineering.”

Alliance of Advanced BioMedical Engineering

Webster-Wood featured for work with sea-slug tissue biobots

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood was featured in an article from the Alliance of Advanced BioMedical Engineering for her lab’s development of a biohybrid robot using living tissue from sea slugs.

The Conversation

Webster-Wood authors article on biobots

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood authored an article in The Conversation on the development of soft biohybrid robots.