Research Roundup, March 1

Improved microneedle arrays for vaccine delivery

No one likes getting shots, but vaccines and herd immunity are important components of both public and personal health and wellbeing. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus has mainly been on developing novel vaccines to combat the virus, but equally important to having an effective vaccine is having a system that can reliably and efficiently deliver it into the human body. Focusing on this problem, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine are working together to develop better dissolvable microneedle arrays that can deliver live virus vaccines. The work is led by Burak Ozdoganlar, professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon and associate director of the Engineering Research Accelerator, and Paul Duprex, director of Pitt’s Center for Vaccine Research.

Read more about it here.

Computer History Museum honors Professor Raj Reddy

The Computer History Museum has announced that Raj Reddy, Moza Bint Nasser university professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, is among its 2021 Fellow Award honorees. The Fellow Awards recognize individuals who have a lifetime of achievement in computing and technology. Reddy was the founding director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and a former Dean of the School of Computer Science. Having done extensive work in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics, Reddy’s career has focused on societal applications of technology, particularly in developing societies.

Read more about it here.

Soft starfish robots

We are all used to thinking of robots as rigid, metallic contraptions filled to the brim with circuitry and motors, but soft robots are literally more flexible and applicable to different scenarios, especially in hazardous terrains where traditional robots may crash or malfunction. Inspired by the brittle star starfish, Zach Patterson, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering, has created a soft robot with rubber limbs capable of crawling underwater, untethered. Utilizing the concept of alloy deformations, the robot, named PATRICK, moves by contractions of its limbs caused by an applied electric current and comes replete with a fully fleshed-out computational infrastructure. Designing an untethered soft robot with on-board electronics is a major step forward for soft robotics, and Patterson sees PATRICK as a catalyst for further research into soft machines.

Read more about it here.