Were you able to fulfill all your planned objectives?
Although my actual exchange experience did not follow the plan that I had initially proposed, I was able to achieve a modified version of what I had proposed as well as an additional project.
Did this experience inspire you or enable you to continue your career?
Yes, during my NCCR exchange, I was primary author on one paper and a co-author on another paper, both of which were submitted and accepted to the IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft) 2018. While working with fellow researchers at the Reconfigurable Robotics Lab (RRL) at EPFL, we discovered a need to embed sensing functionalities into soft, human-safe actuators for wearable robots. This allowed me to bring in my expertise from my home university (sensing) and integrate it with technology developed in RRL. Furthermore, one of my RRL labmates was able to expand upon my initial foray in creating a soft touch sensor, and use it to create an elegant method for sensing touch at any custom resolution. Needless to say, I have been inspired by and have learned a great deal from my labmates at RRL. Moreover, the experience of stepping out and working with experts outside my own research field has been invaluable and is a lesson I will keep in mind as I continue performing research.
Did your host lab aid the quality of your research?
Yes, my host lab was helpful in guiding me through potential solutions as I ran into problems and in providing a sense of the bigger picture that my work fits into.
How do you feel your association with NCCR Robotics has had an overall impact on your studies and future career?
My association with NCCR Robotics has broadened what I thought was possible for my future career. I had previously not considered continuing my studies nor undertaking my career abroad. After this experience, I see many more opportunities and possible paths ahead.
What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?
I am currently working towards finishing my thesis, entitled “Integration of Soft Robotic Components into Fabrics”. I focus on creating the materials, manufacturing methods, and design of robotic components that can be embedded into fabrics to create technology such as clothing that can help detect and prevent an injury before it occurs. I plan to continue doing hands-on research in the future, working in the area of functional materials and how we can manufacture these into useful devices.