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AST: Elephant Trunks: A New Grasp on Robotics

Aug 28, 7PM
Atlanta Brewing Company, 2323 Defoor Hills Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

FOOD UPDATE – WE HAVE FOOD! the food truck is unable to be there. BUT an spectacular donor is so excited about this topic that they are providing Jimmy Johns for everyone and the 1st 50 beers! Can’t wait to see all you elephant lovers there!

COVID UPDATE – this event is in a well-ventilated, open-air, warehouse. In accordance with CDC guidelines – we request everyone wear a mask and unvaccinated individuals stay home. Read our full in-person guidelines here.

Elephants are the largest terrestrial mammal in the world and their trunks have fascinated scientists since Darwin observed their behavior in 1871. Their trunks are made entirely of muscle a property like mammal tongues and octopi’s arms.  Elephants have the precision to pick up a tortilla without breaking it but can also toss a lion away with ease. All this maneuverability and flexibility of the trunk is done without bones or joints, making elephant trunks an ideal source of biological inspiration for soft robotics. Soft robotics is an up-and-coming field of using soft materials to allow for flexible movement similar to that of the elephant trunk. However, African bush elephants in 2021 were moved from vulnerable to endangered for their conservation status with current estimates showing them extinct in the wild by 2038. Therefore, we must work towards conserving elephants and other species in tandem with other scientific discoveries so future generations can experience these animals and their important impacts their natural habitats.  

Join Andrew Schulz, PhD Candidate at Georgia Tech in Mechanical Engineering for this fabulous talk.

Andrew is currently a 4th year PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech researching elephant trunk biomechanics and conservation technology. Andrew did his undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Math from Oklahoma State and now works on studying how animals, like the elephant, can move in miraculous ways and applies it to engineering by gaining bio-inspiration from these animals. Andrew has started Tech4Wildlife at Georgia Tech a student organization that works to connect engineers, scientists, and businesspersons with the field of conservation of wildlife. Through designing equitable and indigenous technology interventions students are working on projects ranging from elephant conservation in Africa to fox and coyote conservation in Atlanta. Andrew is planning on graduating from Georgia Tech in Summer of 2022 and will pursue a faculty position after graduation. 

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