On Wednesday evening, the Coalition for National Science Funding (or CNSF) held their yearly Exhibition on Capitol Hill. The exhibition, probably best described as a science fair with some really smart people, is a showcase of research and education projects supported by the National Science Foundation. It gives a great venue to show members of Congress and Congressional staff what the American people have funded.
CRA, a member of CNSF, sponsored two grad students and a postdoc from MIT to come to Washington to talk about their work. Joseph DelPreto and Ankur Mehta talked about their printable robots; super cheap, 3D robots that can be printed on a 2D printer. Robert Katzschmann demonstrated his autonomous, self-contained soft robotic fish, which is considered a “soft robot”. Check out some demonstrations of his work in these two videos. All three young researchers are advised by Daniela Rus at MIT, who is also a CCC Council member.
All of this research and work is supported from the CISE directorate at NSF. Both projects were well received by the attendees of the exhibition; in fact, two members of Congress stopped by their table, as did the head of the NSF CISE directorate, and multiple Congressional staffers and NSF employees.
A number of other organizations had tables and were showing off NSF funded research. From Tufts University’s “Engineering Solutions to Clean Water;” to the Entomological Society of America’s “Optimizing Crop Yields: Pollinators, Pests and Pathogens;” to American Psychological Association and Vanderbilt University’s joint table of “Russell the Robot: Engaging Children with Autism through Psychological and Engineering Research,” the event was a great display of the different types of research being supported by the Foundation. Click here to see a full list of participating organizations and what each exhibitor was presenting.