CU Boulder scientists will showcase research on soft robots, color-changing tattoos and the neuroscience of decision-making onstage at the upcoming TEDxMileHigh conference in Denver.
The speaker series, called Reset, will take place December 1 at the Bellco Theater and is open to the public. It will feature talks from 14 scientists, advocates, entrepreneurs and more, including CU Boulder faculty members Carson Bruns, Sabine Doebel and Christoph Keplinger.
TEDxMileHigh provides leaders from across Colorado with a platform to share their ideas and visions for the world. This particular conference will delve into the roadblocks to creating lasting change and how people can overcome them.
Learn more about the CU Boulder researchers taking part in this event:
Bruns is an assistant professor in the ATLAS Institute and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He runs the Emergent Nanomaterials Lab, described as “an interdisciplinary group of scientists who think big and build small.”
A chemist and artist, Bruns’ research focuses on manipulating molecules at ultra-small scales. He has designed new rotoxanes, tiny molecular machines that look like beads on a string, and “tech tattoos,” skin inks that can change colors. Bruns envisions that such chameleon tattoos may have diverse medical uses, including signaling when you’re running a fever or responding to changes in your blood chemistry.
Doebel is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She studies how children develop executive function—the ways in which the mind can regulate a person’s thoughts and actions. That function is key to a lot of skills that children need in life, including how they achieve goals and interact with their friends and parents.
Earlier this year, Doebel used a twist on the classic “marshmallow test” to examine how social norms influence self-control in children. She found that young children were more likely to wait to receive two marshmallows—instead of getting one right away—if they thought that members of their “in group” were waiting, too.
Keplinger is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He and his colleagues have advanced the field of soft robotics. Unlike the metallic and clunky droids of science fiction, these artificial muscles are squishy enough to pick up a raspberry and strong enough to lift a gallon of milk. They can also be made from low-cost materials and can heal themselves after electrical damage.