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Material Intelligence

From Functional Materials to Material Computing


Workshop Organizers


Aslan Miriyev

Dr. Aslan Miriyev is a Scientist at the Materials and Technology Center of Robotics at Empa, Switzerland, and Visiting Researcher at the Aerial Robotics Lab in the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London, UK. In these capacities, Dr. Miriyev works at the nexus of materials and robotics to develop bio-hybrid soft intelligent robots of the future. Dr. Miriyev is particularly interested in synthesizing robots via the interdisciplinary effort of creating physical artificial intelligence.

Before joining Empa and Imperial College London, Dr. Miriyev spent three years at Columbia University in the City of New York as a postdoctoral researcher in the Creative Machine's Lab. In this role, Dr. Miriyev has developed a new type of self-contained soft material-actuators. Dr. Miriyev obtained his Ph.D. degree in Materials Engineering from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.


Philip Buskohl

Dr. Philip R. Buskohl is a Research Mechanical Engineer in the Functional Materials Division at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).  The Division delivers materials and processing solutions to revolutionize AF capabilities in Survivability, Directed Energy, Reconnaissance, Integrated Energy and Human Performance.  Phil has authored over 32 peer-reviewed papers ranging from the chemical-mechanical feedback of self-oscillating gels, design of reconfigurable origami structures, and mechanical computing concepts. His research interests include nonlinear elasticity, optimization methodology for material design, and mechanically adaptive materials.  

Dr. Buskohl is currently a member of the Flexible Materials & Processes research team at AFRL, where he provides mechanical analysis and design concepts for conformal and deformable electronics packaging. He serves as the government co-lead of the Modeling and Design technical working group for NextFlex, the OSD manufacturing institute for flexible hybrid electronics.  Phil initiated a collaboration with the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate to improve the packaging ratio of phased array antenna satellites for launch using origami design principles and flexible electronic components. He is also an active member of the US-Israeli technical working group, helping to establish collaborations in the areas of additive manufacturing and metamaterials.


Robert Shepherd

Rob Shepherd is an associate professor at Cornell University’s Organic Robotics Lab (ORL), which focuses on using synthetic adaptation of natural physiology to improve machine function and autonomy. His work has been featured in popular media outlets such as the BBC, Discovery Channel, and PBS’s NOVA science documentary series. He has a B.S. and Ph.D. in Material Science & Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an M.B.A. from University of Illinois. At Cornell, he teaches a course on “Innovative Product Design via Digital Manufacturing,” which is intended to teach students about understanding customer needs and quickly prototyping and testing solutions. He has several patents in the space of robotics and materials for 3D printing, and is a founder of Organic Robotics Incorporated, a startup focused on using stretchable sensors in smart clothing for body tracking applications. He also is the recent recipient of both an Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award.

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Mirko Kovac

Prof. Mirko Kovac is Head of the Materials and Technology Center of Robotics at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. He is also Director of the Aerial Robotics Laboratory at Imperial College London and Royal Society Wolfson Fellow.  His research is focused on the development of flying and biohybrid soft robotic solutions for digital infrastructure systems. Prof. Kovac's particular specialization is in robot design, hardware development, and multi-modal robot mobility. Previously, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory as part of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in Cambridge, USA. He obtained his Ph.D. with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) in 2005. During his studies, he was a research associate with the University of California in Berkeley USA, RIETER Automotive Switzerland, the WARTSILA Diesel Technology Division in Switzerland, and CISERV in Singapore. Since 2006, he has presented his work in more than 70 international proceedings and journals and has won several best paper awards. He has also delivered more than 30 keynote lectures and he regularly acts as an advisor to government, investment funds, and industry on robotics opportunities.

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