Rethinking Robotics: Worms, tongues and elephant trunks

Join fellow U of T alumni and members of the community for a lecture on continuum robotics, the biology that has inspired this field, and the real-world applications that cannot be achieved with conventional robots.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Le Dome Banquet Hall

1173 North Service Road East
Oakville, ON (View map)

  • 6:45 p.m. Doors open
  • 7:00 p.m. Remarks and presentation
  • Q & A to follow


Free parking available on site

Presented by

Associate Professor

Professor Jessica Burgner-Kahrs
Associate Professor in the Departments of Mathematical & Computational Sciences, Computer Science, and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
Director, Continuum Robotics Laboratory
University of Toronto Mississauga

Robotics. The word conjures up so many images: industrial mechanical arms; Roomba vacuums; Star Wars droids; drones; and humanoids. But continuum robotics is vastly different from conventional robots and from the ideas created by the world of entertainment and science fiction. Inspired by biological trunks (e.g. elephant), tentacles, tongues and worms, continuum robots (or invertebrate robots) have a joint-less body which is continuous and exhibits a flowing, curved and flexible structure. In her presentation, Dr. Burgner-Kahrs will provide an overview of continuum robot designs and touch upon the research advancements and challenges in modelling, planning and controlling motion. She’ll also discuss their application in performing minimally invasive surgeries that cannot be done with conventional surgical tools. With their complex bending motions and skillful manipulation of even the smallest spaces, think about what continuum robots can do that is not possible with serial robot arms, mobile robots or humanoids!

Dr. Burgner-Kahrs is an Associate Professor of Mathematical & Computational Sciences, Computer Science as well as Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and the founding Director of the Continuum Robotics Laboratory at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She holds a Diploma and doctoral degree in Computer Science from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. Before moving to Toronto, Dr. Burgner-Kahrs held appointments at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA and Leibniz University Hannover, Germany. Her research focus lies on continuum robotics and is driven by applications in minimally-invasive surgery and non-destructive inspection. Dr. Burgner-Kahrs research was recognized by the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2015 and the Engineering Science Prize in 2016 among others. She was entitled Germany’s Young Researcher of the Year 2015 and nominated as a Young Global Leader from the World Economic Forum in 2019.

Please contact Alumni Relations if you require information in an alternate format, or if any other arrangements can make this event accessible to you.

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UTM Beyond the Campus

Dr. Burgner-Kahrs’ lecture is part of an ongoing series of compelling lectures for alumni and community members, hosted by the University of Toronto Mississauga. UTM Beyond the Campus brings the latest research and ideas from UTM faculty to your neighbourhood keeping you informed, inspired and connected.

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