The present day technology falls short in offering autonomous mobile robots that can function effectively and efficiently under unknown and dynamic environmental conditions. Insects and canines, on the other hand, exhibit an unmatched ability to navigate through a wide variety of environments and overcome perturbations by successfully maintaining control and stability. In this talk, Dr. Alper Bozkurt will present how microsystems based neural stimulation and physiological monitoring systems are used to wirelessly navigate cockroaches and train dogs to enable cyber-physical working animals. These biobots can potentially assist humans in environmental sensing and search-and-rescue applications to pinpoint hazardous material or to find earthquake victims. This is one of the on-going efforts under Integrated Bionic MicroSystems Laboratory (iBionicS Lab) which has a vision to introduce conceptually novel neural engineering methodologies and systems to interface artificial systems with biological organisms towards the next generation bionic cyber-physical systems. Such cyber-physical systems would be the building blocks of a new era where everything is connected to each other through the Internet of Things.
Alper Bozkurt is currently an Associate Professor in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. He received a doctorate degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (advisor: Prof. Amit Lal) and master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA (advisor: Prof. Banu Onaral). Dr. Bozkurt is the founder and the director of Integrated Bionic MicroSystems Laboratory at NC State where he explores novel interfaces with sensory and motor neurons, cockroaches, sphinx moths, plants, birds, canines, lemurs and humans. His recent research achievements on internet-of-bionics-things were covered by several media agencies including BBC, CNN, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Newsweek and Reuters. In parallel to his studies, he also worked as an official consultant for the Disney movie “G-Force” produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and participated to Smart America Challenge organized by the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows. Bozkurt is a recipient of the Calhoun Fellowship from Drexel University, Donald Kerr Award at Cornell University, Chancellor’s Innovation Award (twice) and William F. Lane Outstanding Teacher Award at North Carolina State University, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from National Science Foundation and IEEE Sensors Council Young Professional Award. He was included in the Popular Science Magazine Brilliant 10 list in 2015. He received best paper awards from The US Government Microcircuit Applications & Critical Technology Conference and IEEE Body Sensor Network Conference. Dr. Bozkurt is also the Testbed Leader under The National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST).