Engineering Experience Talk Series 6
Cell-Sized Robots Powered By Biological and Synthetic Motors
3.10.2019 13:00
YER : AB4-4001
College of Engineering and Natural Sciences

Yunus Alapan, Ph.D.
Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow,
Physical Intelligence Department,
Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Dr. Yunus Alapan is currently working as a Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Physical Intelligence Department at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany. He received his B.Sc., 2011, and M.Sc., 2012, from Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey, and his Ph.D., 2016, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, all in mechanical engineering. Dr. Alapan works at the interface of robotics, biology, and soft matter, developing biomimetic and soft micro-robots/systems inspired by nature. He has authored more than 25 refereed articles in reputable journals, including Nature Materials, Science Robotics, Advanced Materials, Advanced Healthcare Materials, and Biotechnology Advances, as well as 35 conference abstracts and 3 patent applications. Dr. Alapan has received Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in 2017, the 2015 Student Technology Prize for Primary Healthcare organized by Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology, and the first place in 2014 NASA Tech Briefs’ Create the Future Design Contest in Medical Category.

Control over the microscopic world, at the scale of smallest organisms, depends on efficient miniaturization of functional machines that can operate at micro/nano-scales, which has been the topic of science-fiction for the last half of a century. Recent advances in fabrication and actuation technologies have enabled realization of wireless microrobots powered by microorganisms, external fields, and catalytic reactions. In the first part of this talk, I will present the state-of-the-art multifunctional microrobots driven by motile bacteria, E. coli, and using red blood cells as autologous and soft cargo carriers loaded with drug molecules. Such bacteria driven red blood cell microrobots offer superior performance in cargo-carrying efficiency, deformability, and biodegradability compared to conventional microrobot designs. The second part will concern reconfigurable assembly of compound mobile microrobots and micromachines out of heterogeneous functional components with programmable spatial organization via shape-encoded dielectrophoretic forces. Mobile microcars and microrotors assembled from magnetic and self-propelled motor parts offer a plethora of reconfigurable locomotion modes and enable 3D hierarchical assembly of micromachines. Programming directed assembly and controlling operational dynamics between functional components enable a rich design space and flexibility for development of more sophisticated, modular mobile micromachines, and their integration into multiscale hierarchical systems.