In a bid to create a more sustainable and interconnected world, Dr. Nanshu Lu, a prominent researcher in the Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department and part of the affiliated faculty at TMI at UT Austin, is set to reveal groundbreaking innovations in flexible electronics. 

Dr. Lu was invited as a keynote speaker at the Nature Conference entitled “Flexible Electronics – Science for a Sustainable World” because of their pioneering work developing flexible and stretchable electronics to bridge humans and robots for a sustainable society.

Dr. Lu's research dives into the world of "E-Tattoos," a fancy term for ultrathin and ultrasoft electronic devices that can be worn on the skin. These devices, made through a unique "cut-and-paste" process, include circuits, sensors, and stimulators. The goal is to seamlessly integrate technology with the human body, enabling better health tracking or communication and interaction between humans and robots. E-Tattoos, made of functional materials including graphene, open up possibilities for the wireless, continuous and multimodal sensing of the human body. Essentially, they turn the human body into a digital interface for improved human-robot connections. On the robotic side, Dr. Lu introduces "E-Skins," soft sensors designed for robots to mimic the properties and functionalities of human skin. One notable breakthrough is the Hybrid Response Pressure Sensor (HRPS), which allows robots to respond to touch more like humans. This means more accurate and gentle interactions, whether robots are feeling for objects or gripping them firmly.

Dr. Nanshu Lu's journey as a researcher has been nothing short of impressive. Hailing from Tsinghua University and earning her Ph.D. from Harvard, she has become a leader in the field of soft electronics. Her accolades include being a highly cited researcher, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and recognition by MIT Technology Review as one of the 35 Innovators Under 35.

Her work, which has received awards like the US NSF CAREER Award, DOD Young Investigator Awards, and the ASME Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award, is driving advancements in technology that could reshape how humans and robots coexist.

Earlier this year, she gave a TEDx UTAustin talk titled “E-skins and e-tattoos: Your cybernetic future”. It not only earned an Editor's Highlight but also garnered extensive viewership.

As we enter an era where technology is increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, Dr. Nanshu Lu's research signifies a leap towards a more symbiotic relationship between humans and robots. With E-Tattoos digitizing our bodies and E-Skins bringing a human touch to robots, the future Dr. Lu envisions is not only high-tech but also sustainable and interconnected.

For those interested in learning more about Dr. Nanshu Lu's work, visit her research group webpage and follow her on Twitter: @nanshulu.