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Department News

Underwater Snail-o-Bot gets kick from light

  • 26 February 2020

Light-fueled liquid crystal gels used to create robot inspired by aquatic invertebrates

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart in cooperation with Tampere University in Finland developed a gel-like robot inspired by sea slugs and snails they are able to steer with light. Much like the soft body of these aquatic invertebrates, the bioinspired robot is able to deform easily inside water when exposed to this energy source. Due to specifically aligned molecules of liquid crystal gels – its building material – and illumination of specific parts of the robot, it is able to crawl, walk, jump, and swim inside water. The scientists see their research project as an inspiration for other roboticists who struggle to design untethered soft robots that are able to move freely in a fluidic environment. Such inventions could one day play a pivotal role in the research field of minimally-invasive robotic medical applications.

Hamed Shahsavan Amirreza Aghakhani Metin Sitti Yubing Guo Linda Behringer


Acoustically driven microrobot outshines natural microswimmers

  • 03 February 2020

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have designed and fabricated an untethered microrobot that can slip along either a flat or curved surface in a liquid when exposed to ultrasound waves. Its propulsion force is two to three orders of magnitude stronger than the propulsion force of natural microorganisms such as bacteria or algae. Additionally, it can transport cargo while swimming. The acoustically propelled robot hence has significant potential to revolutionize the future minimally invasive treatment of patients.

Amirreza Aghakhani Oncay Yasa Metin Sitti Linda Behringer


Yichao Tang receives Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

  • 16 December 2019

The scientist working in the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart will be supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for two years to continue his soft robotic research in Germany.

Yichao Tang Metin Sitti Linda Behringer


Jiachen Zhang receives Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

  • 22 July 2019

The scientist working in the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart will be supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for two years to continue his soft robotic research in Germany.

Jiachen Zhang


Jellyfish-inspired robot wins Best Paper Award in prestigious Robotics Science & Systems Conference

  • 02 July 2019

The scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart who invented Jellyfishbot win the Best Paper Award at a prestigious robotics conference and have their work published in Nature Communications. Their research holds great potential when investigating the impact of environmental changes in the ocean’s ecosystem. Another aim is for Jellyfishbot to be applied in the treatment of cancer.

Metin Sitti Xiaoguang Dong Wenqi Hu Ziyu Ren Tianlu Wang Linda Behringer Valerie Callaghan


Novel approach to self-assembling mobile micromachines

  • 25 June 2019

How the components come together depends on their design and shape and the resulting dielectrophoretic forces when exposed to an electric field.

Metin Sitti Yunus Alapan Mehmet Berk Yigit Linda Behringer


Leading researcher in small-scale robotics receives ERC Advanced Grant

  • 28 March 2019

One of the world's most prestigious research funding programs supports Intelligent Systems research in Stuttgart

The European Research Council is awarding a 2.5 million Euros research grant to Dr. Metin Sitti, who is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. Sitti is the head of the Physical Intelligence Department and one of the world's leading researchers in the field of small-scale and soft robotics and its use in medical applications. The funding will go toward ground-breaking basic research in soft-bodied miniature mobile robots. These tiny machines could one day have a radical impact on non-invasive medical interventions and diagnostics.

Metin Sitti Richard Segar Linda Behringer


Metin Sitti publishes a News & Views article in Nature

  • 22 March 2019

Robotic collectives inspired by biological cells

A robotic system has been demonstrated in which the random motion of individual components leads to deterministic behaviour, much as occurs in living systems. Environmental and medical applications could follow.

Metin Sitti


Metin Sitti receives Rahmi Koç Medal of Science

  • 22 November 2018

Award recognizes most promising researchers of Turkish origin

Metin Sitti Linda Behringer


A slippery world in bio-inspired robotics

  • 27 August 2018

A roboticist at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems studies the multifunctional feet of the desert locust and its jumping behavior on different surfaces to extract the traits which contribute to enhancing surface friction and stop slips. The scientist then built a robot inspired by the locust. His findings about the morphological intelligence of the insect contribute to solving the complex locomotion problems seen in even the most advanced robots. This new field of research is increasingly gaining attention within the scientific community, so much so that renowned science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the researcher´s findings in its latest edition.

Matthew Woodward Metin Sitti Linda Behringer