Cornell Engineers Turn to Nature for Solving Machinery’s Age Old Dilemma

While machines seem to have boundless capabilities, there has been one factor limiting machines since their inception: heat. Cornell engineers, Prof. Rob Shepherd, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Prof. Emmanuel Giannelis, material science and engineering, sought to battle heat through sweating — the same method employed by students walking up the slope on a hot summer day. Shepherd and Gianelis employed 3D-printing techniques to stimulate sweating in robots, which they are currently testing on a robotic hand. High powered robots currently require maintenance after extended use because of the heat they build up during use. One of the collaborators from Shepherd’s Organic Robotics Lab, Anand Mishra, told The Sun the initial research project was “bio-inspired” — the basic functions of living things influenced the researchers, prompting them to design this multifunctional robotic hand.