The Biorobotics Laboratory is part of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Utah. BioInstrumentation, BioManipulation, and BioInspiration are the core focus areas of our research. These three focus areas are consistent with theme of the new IGERT program on Biocentric Robotics, which complements the Robotics Track here at University of Utah.
BioInstrumentation is used to monitor biological systems and how they interact with their environment. Our research involves instrumenting the human fingernail with Fingernail Sensors, and using the blood flow under the fingernail as a measure of the force applied to the fingertip.
BioManipulation involves the use of robot manipulators to introduce external forces and displacements on the human body and works in conjunction with BioInstrumentation. We are currently developing an automated mechanism to apply force to the human fingertip with up to six degrees of freedom. This will serve as a calibration platform for our Fingernail Sensors and assist with other haptics research.
BioInspiration mimics biological systems for robotic applications. We are currently developing a system with arrays of high power-density, muscle-like actuators that will allow robots to become more like humans with many degrees of freedom. This research uses Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuators, which are embedded in a bioinspired robotic vascular system for power delivery and temperature regulation.