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Programmable self-assembly

  • 01 June 2017

Scientists under the lead of Metin Sitti at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have recently constructed a material system that provides dynamic self-assembly.

To be alive, biologically speaking, means to be able to breath, to eat, to drink, to grow, to age, and, perhaps, to move. Food is the energy source, and metabolism translates the stored chemical energy into biochemical energy to sustain live functions. The physical abstraction of this energy transduction by living organisms is extremely simple: it involves energy input and energy dissipation. This mechanistic view of life looks almost trivial, but to apply this type of thinking in the design of materials and material systems is non-trivial. Scientists under the lead of Metin Sitti at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have recently constructed a material system that requires continuous magnetic energy input and viscous dissipation to maintain its spatiotemporal patterns, and the term usually used to describe this type of material system in the research community is dynamic self-assembly.

Metin Sitti Wendong Wang

Physicists discover why drying liquid crystal drops leave unusual 'coffee rings'

  • 30 May 2017


Penn alumnus Zoey Davidson, now a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany, had been experimenting with Sunset Yellow, a dye that gives Doritos and orange soft drinks their bright colors, when he accidentally spilled some of the material.

Metin Sitti Zoey Davidson

Gecko-inspired multipurpose gripper

  • 26 May 2017

An elastic membrane covered with tiny fibres paired with a pressure differential enables a new soft gripper system with a high adhesion performance even on curved surfaces

Robots generally need a gripper that adapts to three-dimensional surfaces. Such a gripper needs to be soft to adapt to a great variety of geometries, but not too soft, as it will detach easily and not be able to bear weight for very long. Researchers working with Metin Sitti at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart developed a membrane equipped with microscopic fibres inspired by the fine hairs on a gecko's foot and attached it to a suction cup-like flexible body. An internal pressure differential ensures perfect conformation of the flexible gripper to a wide variety of surfaces and equally distributes the load over the entire contact interface. As a result, the researchers suppressed load induced stress concentrations at the edges, which strongly reduced the adhesion. The gripper demonstrates a 14-times higher adhesion than grippers without this load sharing mechanism.

Metin Sitti Sukho Song Dirk Drotlef

Functional Microrobots Could Harbor Bioengineering Apps

  • 22 May 2017


A new study suggests that untethered micron-scale mobile robots can navigate and non-invasively perform specific tasks inside hard-to-reach body sites. Currently being designed, fabricated, and tested at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and Carnegie Mellon University, the first-generation microrobots will be able to deliver therapeutics and other cargo to targeted body sites, as well as to enclosed organ-on-a-chip microfluidic devices with live cells. A new two-step approach is use to provide the microrobotic devices with desirable functions. The first step uses three-dimensional (3D) laser lithography to crosslink light-responsive polymers.

Metin Sitti Hakan Ceylan Immihan Ceren Yasa

Bacteria-Driven Drug Delivery Carriers: A Paradigm Shift

  • 18 May 2017

Advanced Science News

Congrats to Babak, Oncay and Jiang that their paper, “Bioadhesive bacteria-driven microswimmers for targeted drug delivery in the urinary and gastrointestinal tracts”, is highlighted on their news website

Metin Sitti Babak Mostaghaci Oncay Yasa Jiang Zhuang

Sticky gripper can lift flasks and tomatoes

  • 16 May 2017

Nature.com A gecko-inspired adhesive could help robots to climb bumpy walls and grasp fragile objects.

The hairs that make geckos’ feet sticky have inspired the invention of adhesives for flat surfaces, but creating strong adhesives that can grab complex, 3D objects has proved a challenge. Metin Sitti at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, and his colleagues spread elastic microfibres, or ‘hairs’, across a soft, stretchy membrane, allowing it to mould and stick to a surface. The team attached this to a ‘gripper’ layer. Reducing the pressure inside the gripper spreads the load evenly across the sticky membrane, strengthening the bond between it and the target object. Changing the pressure in the system increased the membrane’s ‘stickiness’ 14-fold, allowing the device to suspend a variety of hard and soft objects, from fluid-filled flasks to tomatoes.

Metin Sitti Sukho Song Dirk Drotlef

3D-microrobots voor minuscule chirurgie

  • 16 May 2017


Een kleine robot die door een eenvoudige medische injectie in het menselijk lichaam wordt gebracht en daar rechtstreeks en doelgericht een niet te opereren tumor bestrijdt. Dit klinkt misschien een beetje als science fiction, maar onderzoekers werken momenteel druk aan het moderniseren van de gezondheidszorg met behulp van bio-engineering. De uitdagingen zitten vooral in het ontwerp, productieproces en de codering van de microrobots die dit moeten gaan realiseren.

Metin Sitti Hakan Ceylan Immihan Ceren Yasa

Sciencemag.org Gecko-inspired gripper could help robots climb walls

  • 15 May 2017

“The design of the backing is key to making these adhesives function properly for most applications, and this is a very exciting development.” The technology has several potential applications, says Metin Sitti, an author of the study and a mechanical engineer at the Max Planck Institute ...

Metin Sitti Sukho Song Dirk Drotlef

3D-Mikroroboter für minimal-invasive Chirurgie (Medizin Aspekte)

  • 11 May 2017


Ein kleiner Roboter, der mühelos mittels Injektion in den menschlichen Körper gelangt, die gesunden Organe meidet und das Ziel – einen nicht operablen Tumor – findet und direkt behandelt… Klingt dies nicht nach Science-Fiction? Um es Wirklichkeit werden zu lassen, arbeiten immer mehr Forscher an der Vision, wesentliche Bereiche der Medizin und Biotechnologie zu revolutionieren. Das Design und die Herstellung solcher Mikroroboter, sowie auch die Ausstattung mit den entsprechenden Funktionalitäten, stellen jedoch noch große Herausforderungen dar.

Metin Sitti Hakan Ceylan Immihan Ceren Yasa