Biological systems such as human skin, eagle wings, or octopus tentacles inherently integrate sensing, actuation, and controls to produce unique multi-functionality. Inspired by these biological systems, there is a growing interest in the development of smart materials capable of integrating sensing, actuation, and computation in one structure. The advancement of these smart materials will affect a large variety of applications and may lead to the development of airfoils that change their aerodynamic profile, robotic skins with a realistic sense of touch, or even a robotic tentacle that can autonomously navigate through a patient’s body to perform minimally invasive surgery or to perform exploration in hazardous places. In this talk, I will demonstrate—for the first time—the use of a network of Micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) for producing a smart material that inherently integrates sensing, actuation, and computing to produce unique multi-functionality. The novelty of this work lies in extending the use of MEMS devices from limited sensors that can only acquire analog signals to computing units that can perform complex tasks such as feature extraction, categorization, and motion control on these measured signals. The new MEMS-based smart materials can realize a robotics material in many applications such as in medical applications for improving the recovery, independence, and quality of life of individuals with a variety of disabling conditions.
Dr. Alsaleem received the B.S. degree in mechatronics engineering from The Hashemite University, Jordan, in 2003, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from The State University of New York at Binghamton, NY, USA, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. He was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wichita State University, from 2015 to 2016. Prior to this, he was a Senior Lead Algorithm Engineer at Emerson Climate Technology for four years, and a MEMS Control Engineer at DunAn Microstaq for a couple of years. Since 2016, he has been an Assistant Professor with the Architecture Engineering Department and the Mechanical Engineering Department (courtesy appointment), University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He has been an active researcher in the area of Neuromorphic Computing, MEMS, and Smart Building. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed conferences and journal papers. He has authored and co-authored over 15 pending and granted patent applications in the area of MEMS adaptive control and cloud based online monitoring and diagnostics.