FlowIO Platform: Making Soft Robotics Seamless and Accessible for Everyone

About this event

About the Speaker:

Ali Shtarbanov is an HCI Researcher, System designer, and Ph.D. candidate at MIT Media Lab. He develops open-source platforms, tools, and other enabling technologies that empower researchers, designers, artists, and makers with new technological opportunities to rapidly bring projects and ideas to life. His current work focuses on developing and deploying novel tools and resources for soft robotics and programmable materials to make prototyping and innovation in those fields more seamless and more accessible. Ali is the inventor of the FlowIO platform which is currently being used by over a dozen HCI and robotics researchers in 10 countries. His prior research was on multimodal interactive interfaces and mid-air haptic feedback.Ali’s works have been published in CHI, UIST, SIGGRAPH, and have been featured in major exhibitions and news outlets. He has won several design and research awards including Gold Medal at the CHI’21 Student Research Competition by ACM, iF DESIGN TALENT AWARD, Best Poster at IROS, A’Design Award, Hackaday Prize, and others. Ali has also served as a judge and reviewer for various venues including Hacking Arts, IEEE HAVE, and MIT Technology Review’s 35 Under 35 Europe. He holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University – both Summa Cum Laude, a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction from MIT, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. also from MIT.

About the Event:

Platforms like Arduino and Raspberry Pi democratized electronics and portable computing. FlowIO aims to liberate in a similar way programmable materials and soft robotics. FlowIO is a miniature pneumatics development platform with a software toolkit for control, actuation, and sensing of soft programmable materials, enabling researchers, artists, and makers to unleash their creativity and to realize their ideas quickly and easily. The modular hardware design of FlowIO makes it suitable for projects with a wide variety of pressure, flow rate, and sensing needs. While a complete software toolkit — featuring mobile and desktop graphical user interfaces, Bluetooth controls, and APIs for Arduino and JavaScript — enables users from any technical and nontechnical background to start using the platform within seconds. FlowIO is made available to the world under a new non-profit distribution model, where it is supported by donations and provided free of charge for noncommercial use to approved users who can do can do amazing and inspiring projects with FlowIO. In this talk, he will present the vision behind FlowIO; some technical details about the platform; the distribution model he developed and the philosophy behind it; a few application examples provided by users; as well as the broader overarching vision, called SoftRobotics.IO, of which FlowIO is one part.

40 Spaces available in the Dyson Library on first come first serve bases or LIVESTREAM- link:


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