Welcome to the Laboratory for Soft Machines & Electronics (SME) at the School of Packaging, Michigan State University (MSU). We are focusing on the design, mechanics and physics of soft  (active) materials and soft robotics, the design and fabrication of flexible, stretchable and printed electronics, as well as  the 3D & 4D printing of advanced functional materials.  We are employing a combination of  experimental, numerical and theoretical methods to exploit the fundamental mechanics and physics of advanced materials, and to design and fabricate novel machines and electronics using advanced technologies for a variety of applications in energy, food, healthcare, infrastructure and agriculture, ranging from durable buildings to tunable surfaces and interfaces, to stretchable and wearable electronics, as well as materials and technologies for Internet of Things (IoTs) and smart packaging systems in supply chain. 

Research Hightlight

Soft Manipulator System

We invented a new soft manipulator system that can achieve on-demand stiffness tuning and remote controlling with self-powered HMI. The paper is published in Advanced Materials Technologies.

Soft human-like hands

Need a robot with a soft touch? MSU Spartan engineers has designed and developed a novel humanoid hand that may be able to help. This new research is reported by MSU Today.

Wearable CNT-forest SCs

We developed a new stretchable supercapacitor based on Au-CNT-forests, paving new avenues for designing novel power-independent portable and wearable electronics for broad applications, published in Matter.

Stretchable SCs via MXene-rGO Composite

We developed a method to overcome the cracking problem of MXene based energy devices for stretchable or wearable applications. See our ACS Nano paper! 

Phase Transition of Active Bilayer Structures

We have theoretically and numerically investigated the phase transition and optimal actuation of bilayer structures under biaxial active strains. See paper published in Extreme Mechanics Letters!

Hybrid Energy Harvesting

Recent advances on the hybrid energy harvesting system by combining triboelectric nanogenerators and other energy harvesting methods are reviewed. The paper is published in Matter

Forest fire alarm system

A novel high-performance multilayered cylindrical triboelectric nanogenerator (MC-TENG) is designed to harvest the kinetic energy of tree branches for powering a fire sensing system in a forest. 

Soft Smart Gripper

We have developed a new type of smart robotic gripper, targeting at applications in packaging automation and agriculture harvesting. This research is published in Advanced Materials Technologies

Novel Triboelectric Nanogenerators

We have developed a new type of wave energy harvester, hierarchically structured triboelectric nanogenerator (HS-TENG) to harvest the huge blue energy for large-scale deployments. This research is published in Nano Energy 

Bacteria Self-Organize to Build Pressure Sensors

We have demonstrated one way of fabricating a 3-D dome-shaped structure based entirely on the principle of self-organization via bacteria. See paper published in Nature Biotechnology!

Smart Agriculture System

We are working novel electronics for smart agricultures to address the big challenge in production, protection and food security faced by human. The review on soil sensors are published in Advanced Materials

Precision Processing

We investigated the electrorheological fluid-assisted polishing technique in processing conductive materials with ultra-high precision at small scales for novel electronic and optical devices. 

Magneto-active elastomers

We have proposed a modified continuum theory and finite element framework for magneto-actuated large deformation and instability of magneto-active elastomers.

Stretchable Supercapacitors from Crumpled CNT-forests

Stretchable supercapacitors based on crumpled CNT-forests are fabricated, offering a new opportunity for next‐generation self-powered stretchable electronics.

Fully Printed, Flexible, Stable & Hysteresis-free CNT-TFTs

This study reports hysteresis-free carbon nanotube thin-film transistor (CNT-TFTs) fabricated entirely using an aerosol jet printing technique! See Advanced Electronics Materials!  

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4D Printed SCs