Laura Blumenschein, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, appeared on my radar after being selected for MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 list in the category of AI and robots. She was chosen for her work on the Vine robot project, a growing robot inspired by the growth and adaptability of plants. Her contribution to the field of soft robotics expands upon the potential uses for autonomous robotic systems to interact in the human world.

Laura joins me on this week’s episode of the Innovation Storytellers podcast to share her insights on working with innovation teams and exploring the history of robotics. In addition, she shares how her research focuses on creating more robust and adaptable, soft robots inspired by plants. Finally, I learn more about how robots grow to explore their environments and build structures that pave the for more seamless human-robot interaction.

Guest Details: 

Name: Laura Blumenschein
Title: Assistant Professor
Company:  Purdue University
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Dr. Laura Blumenschein is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford in 2019, supervised by Professor Allison Okamura. Her research focuses on creating more robust and adaptable soft robots inspired by plants, which grow to explore their environments and build structures, and soft haptic devices which allow more seamless human-robot interaction. Laura is an NSF graduate research fellow and an MIT TR Innovator Under 35.