Outreach

CU Science Discovery - Aerospace Summer Camp | July 14, 2017 

The Keplinger Research Group partnered with the CU Science Discovery Aerospace Engineering Summer Camp to introduce students to the world of soft robotics and artificial muscles. Students got hands-on experience building their own radially-stretched dielectric elastomer actuators and using a waveform generator to operate them at high voltages. We were able to show them a completely new class of soft actuators as well.


Students get hands-on experience with  VHB elastomer tape.


CU Science Discovery Lab Tours | July 13, 2017 

The Keplinger Research Group hosted a tour for CU Science Discovery students during their introduction to the program. After a presentation on soft robotics, the students built and tested their own radially-stretched dielectric elastomer actuators. Finally, we showed them some demonstrations of our own!

Students practice their artistry with creative electrode geometries 
made from carbon grease.

Students watch as their creations come alive 
under the supervision of PhD student Shane (left).


Northglenn High School Visit March 23, 2017 

The Keplinger Research Group hosted students from Northglenn High School who are studying Aerospace Engineering. We were able to introduce them to the field of soft robotics and show them demonstrations of our various electrostatic actuators!

High school students react as PhD students Nick and Shane 
demonstrate an actuator springing to life under high voltage.


Boulder Valley Regional Science Fair March 3, 2017 

High school senior Ashley Aguilar joined the Keplinger Research Group as part of her senior culminating project. Under the mentorship of PhD student Nicholas Kellaris, she learned about dielectric elastomer generators and investigated their potential as sound energy harvesters. She entered her work into the Boulder Valley regional science fair, won second place in the Energy & Transportation category, and moved on to the state science fair! At the state science fair Ashley won three awardsSenior Division Energy 2nd place, SWE Award from Society of Woman Engineers Rocky Mountain Division, and Award for Excellence in Science and Engineering from United States Department of Commerce. Congratulations Ashley!


Ashley showing off her project on dielectric elastomer generators.


Nevin Platt Middle School Visit March 2, 2017 

The Keplinger Research Group hosted students from the Nevin Platt Middle School CHOICE program as part of an integrated project class focusing on biomimicry. We are glad we could show them why we are so excited about soft robotics and artificial muscles.

Students watch Dr. Keplinger (right) demonstrate our actuators in action.


CU Science Discovery - Stem Research Experience | July 2016, 2017 
The Keplinger Research Group partners with CU Science Discovery to host two high school students for three weeks in July. In 2016 PhD student Tim Morrissey mentored high school students Sunil and Max to investigate ways to construct dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) and reduce the cost of artificial muscles.

Max (left) focusing with Sunil (right) supervising while
painting carbon grease on a DEA speaker.

Sunil (left) and Max (right) presenting 
at the CU Science Discovery poster session.

In 2017 PhD student Shane Mitchell mentored high school students Brennan and Cem to explore ways to improve the performance of our electrostatic actuators at lower voltages.

Cem succeeds at making a dielectric elastomer actuator!

More information about the Stem Research Experience can be found on the CU science discovery website. All interested parties should contact CU science discovery directly. 
   Teaching 
  
  

Class

Semester

Instructor Rating

Course Rating

GEEN 1400

Engineering Projects

Fall 2017

In progress

In progress

MCEN 4045

Design Project 1

Fall 2017

In progress

In progress

MCEN 4228/5228

Soft Machines

Spring 2017

6.0/6.0

5.8/6.0

GEEN 1400

Engineering Projects

Fall 2016

5.6/6.0

5.3/6.0

MCEN 4228/5228

Soft Machines

Spring 2016

5.8/6.0

5.5/6.0

GEEN 1400

Engineering Projects

Fall 2015

5.8/6.0

5.6/6.0


Course Descriptions

Mechanical Engineering: Soft Machines | MCEN 4228/5228
Introduces soft machines as a new paradigm of engineering that starts to impact healthcare, consumer electronics, renewable energy and collaborative robotics. Prepares students to participate in research on soft machines by starting with fundamentals of soft materials and by covering soft robotics, stretchable electronics, energy harvesting and functional polymers. Includes guest lectures, a literature review and a hands-on lab project.

Youtube video from Soft Machines lab project.
Group members: E. Acome, M. Moreno, G. Chavez, D. Tsvankin, R. Visvanathan

General Engineering: Engineering Projects | GEEN 1400
First-year students solve real engineering design problems in interdisciplinary teams. Design projects vary by section. Curriculum focuses on iterative design process, teamwork and team dynamics, supporting design with testing and analysis, and technical writing. Completed projects are exhibited at an end-of-semester design expo. 

Team Fantastic Four presenting their design project at the end-of-semester 
design expo. They built a "Laser-tar" where strings of a guitar are replaced with lasers.

Mechanical Engineering: Design Project 1 | MCEN 4045
First part of a two-course capstone design experience in mechanical engineering. Covers problem definition, determining design requirements, alternative design concepts, engineering analysis, proof-of-concept prototype and CAD drawings. Students make several oral design reviews, a final design presentation, and prepare a written report.