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Personal profile

Research interests

My research involves the application of a range of scientific concepts, in order to build, power and control the next generation of machines. It has a focus on photo and chemical stimuli (including bio-hybrid systems); involves a unique combination of structural mechanics and materials science; as well as an emphasis on new approaches to realising control and energy supply “hardware”. Research interests include:

  • Architectures for integrating control signal amplification at a material or molecular level in robotic systems. This also relates to closer integration of energy storage with deployment (i.e. an artificial muscle that is also a battery).
  • Artificial muscles and actuators in general, but in particular systems exploiting the high energy storage density of chemical fuels with the spatial and temporal control offered by photo stimuli. These systems can be mechano-active polymers or fluidic systems where the fluid pressure is the result of a chemical reaction.
  • Additively manufactures artificial muscles, and 3D printing in general, but printing only for the purpose of making truly complex structures that cannot be easily manufactured with a traditional method.
  • Composite origami for high-performance, low mass flexure-based mechanics.
  • Bio-Hybrid systems, examining micro-fluidic fibre spinning of mechanically active hydrogel scaffold/encapsulation constructs. 
  • In regards to applications, I'm interested in both robotics that can be developed at a cost point and with a functionality (safety) that makes them suitable for use in everyday, low value, roles in close collaboration with humans. I’m also interested in robotics for extreme environments (i.e. offshore, nuclear and space) where the solid-state nature of much of my research is attractive to the industries involved.

Research interests

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Research Output

  • 5 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 3 Conference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

4D printing with robust thermoplastic polyurethane hydrogel-elastomer trilayers

Baker, A. B., Bates, S. R. G., Llewellyn-Jones, T. M., Valori, L. P. B., Dicker, M. P. M. & Trask, R. S., 5 Feb 2019, In : Materials and Design. 163, 8 p., 107544.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Open Access
  • 28 Citations (Scopus)
    391 Downloads (Pure)

    Light-Triggered Soft Artificial Muscles: Molecular-Level Amplification of Actuation Control Signals

    Dicker, M., Baker, A., Iredale, R. J., Naficy, S., Bond, I., Faul, C. FJ., Rossiter, J., Spinks, G. & Weaver, P. M., 23 Aug 2017, In : Scientific Reports. 7, 9197.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 14 Citations (Scopus)
    354 Downloads (Pure)

    Soft photochemical actuation systems: Tuning performance through solvent selection

    Dicker, M., Baker, A., Bond, I., Faul, C. FJ., Rossiter, J. & Weaver, P., 14 Nov 2017, ASME 2017 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems: Development and Characterization of Multifunctional Materials; Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting; Emerging Technologies, Snowbird, Utah, USA, September 18–20, 2017. New York City, U.S.: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Vol. 1. 7 p. SMASIS2017-3821

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)