Undergraduates can pursue programs in Computer Science (A.B. and as a secondary field), Engineering Sciences (A.B. and S.B., both of which are ABET accredited), and Applied Mathematics (A.B. and as a secondary field).
At the graduate level, the Division offers S.M., M.E., and Ph.D. options covering interdisciplinary research areas including: Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering. In addition graduate students may pursue collaborative options: Engineering and Physical Biology (with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences); Science, Technology and Management (joint with the Harvard Business School); Medical Engineering and Medical Physics; (Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology); and Systems Biology (with Harvard Medical School).
Faculty number approximately seventy (73 FTEs) who account for nearly $40M in annual research funds (2007/8 figure). These faculty members have particularly close ties (and there are multiple joint appointments) with the departments of Physics, Earth and Planetary Science, and Chemistry and Chemical Biology. The facilities provide 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of interconnected labs, classrooms, clusters, and offices in six buildings.
Areas of particular research focus at SEAS include Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Bioengineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Creating a new vision for multifunctional materials – November 29, 2015
- Dive of the RoboBee – October 22, 2015
- Super-slick material makes steel better, stronger, cleaner – October 21, 2015
- Home Battery: Green storage for green energy grows cleaner – September 26, 2015
- Greening the electric grid with gas turbines – September 22, 2015<
- Printing lightweight, flexible, and functional materials – September 22, 2015
- Perfect colors, captured with one ultra-thin lens – February 22, 2015
- Boston’s natural gas infrastructure releases high levels of heat-trapping methane – January 24, 2015
- Hands on: Crafting ultrathin atoms-thick color coatings on paper – December 25, 2014
- Airway muscle-on-a-chip mimics asthma – September 29, 2014
- For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges – September 18, 2014
- Cheap and compact medical testing – August 19, 2014
- A self-organizing thousand-robot swarm – August 15, 2014
- Carbon-fiber epoxy honeycombs mimic the material performance of balsa wood – June 26, 2014
- Researchers use light to coax stem cells to repair teeth – May 29, 2014
- ‘Heart disease-on-a-chip’ – May 12, 2014
- Brighter inks, without pigment and they never fade | structural color
- An Essential Step toward Printing Living Tissues | Printing Living Tissue
- Robotic construction crew needs no foreman
- Electrical generators driven by changes in humidity from sun-warmed ponds and harbors
- Organic mega flow battery promises breakthrough for renewable energy
- Programming smart molecules: Could Make Chemical Reactions Intelligent
- Synaptic transistor learns while it computes
- Entering a New Dimension: 4D Printing
- Cross-Disciplinary Team From Harvard and Dana-Farber Brings Novel Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine to Human Clinical Trials
- A Big Step on the Road to Soft Machines
- ‘Groovy’ hologram creates strange state of light at visible and invisible wavelengths
- Seeing depth through a single lens – Breakthrough Inexpensive 3D
- New coating turns ordinary glass into superglass
- Lifelike cooling for sunbaked windows
- Printing Tiny Batteries
- This Robotic Bee Just Took Flight, To Pollinate Crops And (Maybe) Spy On You
- Robotic insects make first controlled flight
- Robot hands gain a gentler touch
- Rethinking wind power
- Counting the twists in a helical light beam
- Bioinspired fibers change color when stretched
- Prefabricated healing kit: Injectable sponge delivers drugs, cells, and structure
- Tough gel stretches to 21 times its length, recoils, and heals itself
- Flat lens offers a perfect image
- New coating evicts biofilms for good
- Artificial jellyfish created from rat heart tissue and silicone
- In New Mass-Production Technique, Robotic Insects Spring to Life
- Carnivorous Plant Inspires Coating That Resists Just About Any Liquids
- Mobile phones in developing nations could charge up using dirt
3D printing and laser annealing of conductive metallic inks without supports could lead to customized electronic and biomedical devices
“Flat” and “rigid” are terms typically used to describe electronic devices. But the increasing demand for flexible, wearable electronics, sensors, antennas and biomedical devices has led a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to innovate an eye-popping new way of printing complex metallic architectures – as though they are seemingly suspended in midair.
Reported online May 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this laser-assisted direct ink writing method allows microscopic metallic, free-standing 3D structures to be printed in one step without auxiliary support material. The research was led by Wyss Core Faculty member Jennifer Lewis, Sc.D., who is also the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at SEAS.
“I am truly excited by this latest advance from our lab, which allows one to 3D print and anneal flexible metal electrodes and complex architectures ‘on-the-fly,’ ” said Lewis.
Harvard researchers design a tunable, self actuated 3-D material
Imagine a house that could fit in a backpack or a wall that could become a window with the flick of a switch.
Harvard researchers have designed a new type of foldable material that is versatile, tunable and self actuated. It can change size, volume and shape; it can fold flat to withstand the weight of an elephant without breaking, and pop right back up to prepare for the next task.
The research was lead by Katia Bertoldi, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), James Weaver, Senior Research Scientist at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Chuck Hoberman, of the Graduate School of Design. It is described in Nature Communications.
“We’ve designed a three-dimensional, thin-walled structure that can be used to make foldable and reprogrammable objects of arbitrary architecture, whose shape, volume and stiffness can be dramatically altered and continuously tuned and controlled,” said Johannes T. B. Overvelde, graduate student in Bertoldi’s lab and first author of the paper.
The structure is inspired by an origami technique called snapology, and is made from extruded cubes with 24 faces and 36 edges. Like origami, the cube can be folded along its edges to change shape. The team demonstrated, both theoretically and experimentally, that the cube can be deformed into many different shapes by folding certain edges, which act like hinges. The team embedded pneumatic actuators into the structure, which can be programmed to deform specific hinges, changing the cube’s shape and size, and removing the need for external input.
The team connected 64 of these individual cells to create a 4x4x4 cube that can grow, and shrink, change its shape globally, change the orientation of its microstructure and fold completely flat. As the structure changes shape, it also changes stiffness — meaning one could make a material that’s very pliable or very stiff using the same design. These actuated changes in material properties adds a fourth dimension to the material.
“We not only understand how the material deforms, but also have an actuation approach that harnesses this understanding,” said Bertoldi. “We know exactly what we need to actuate in order to get the shape we want.”
The material can be embedded with any kind of actuator, including thermal, dielectric or even water.
“The opportunities to move all of the control systems onboard combined with new actuation systems already being developed for similar origami-like structures really opens up the design space for these easily deployable transformable structures”, said Weaver.
“This structural system has fascinating implications for dynamic architecture including portable shelters, adaptive building facades and retractable roofs,” said Hoberman. “Whereas current approaches to these applications rely on standard mechanics, this technology offers unique advantages such as how it integrates surface and structure, its inherent simplicity of manufacture, and its ability to fold flat.”
“This research demonstrates a new class of foldable materials that is also completely scalable,” Overvelde said, ” It works from the nanoscale to the meter-scale and could be used to make anything from surgical stents to portable pop-up domes for disaster relief.”
INSPIRED BY A DESERT BEETLE, CACTUS AND PITCHER PLANT, RESEARCHERS DESIGN A NEW MATERIAL TO COLLECT WATER DROPLETS
Organisms such as cacti and desert beetles can survive in arid environments because they’ve evolved mechanisms to collect water from thin air. The Namib desert beetle, for example, collects water droplets on the bumps of its shell while V-shaped cactus spines guide droplets to the plant’s body.
As the planet grows drier, researchers are looking to nature for more effective ways to pull water from air. Now, a team of researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have drawn inspiration from these organisms to develop a better way to promote and transport condensed water droplets.
“Everybody is excited about bioinspired materials research,” said Joanna Aizenberg, the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at SEAS and core faculty member of the Wyss Institute. “However, so far, we tend to mimic one inspirational natural system at a time. Our research shows that a complex bio-inspired approach, in which we marry multiple biological species to come up with non-trivial designs for highly efficient materials with unprecedented properties, is a new, promising direction in biomimetics.”
The new system, described in Nature, is inspired by the bumpy shell of desert beetles, the asymmetric structure of cactus spines and slippery surfaces of pitcher plants. The material harnesses the power of these natural systems, plus Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces technology (SLIPS) developed in Aizenberg’s lab, to collect and direct the flow of condensed water droplets.
This approach is promising not only for harvesting water but also for industrial heat exchangers.
“Thermal power plants, for example, rely on condensers to quickly convert steam to liquid water,” said Philseok Kim, co-author of the paper and co-founder and vice president of technology at SEAS spin-off SLIPS Technologies, Inc. “This design could help speed up that process and even allow for operation at a higher temperature, significantly improving the overall energy efficiency.”
The major challenges in harvesting atmospheric water are controlling the size of the droplets, speed in which they form and the direction in which they flow.
For years, researchers focused on the hybrid chemistry of the beetle’s bumps — a hydrophilic top with hydrophobic surroundings — to explain how the beetle attracted water. However, Aizenberg and her team took inspiration from a different possibility – that convex bumps themselves also might be able to harvest water.
“We experimentally found that the geometry of bumps alone could facilitate condensation,” said Kyoo-Chul Park, a postdoctoral researcher and the first author of the paper. “By optimizing that bump shape through detailed theoretical modeling and combining it with the asymmetry of cactus spines and the nearly friction-free coatings of pitcher plants, we were able to design a material that can collect and transport a greater volume of water in a short time compared to other surfaces.”
“Without one of those parameters, the whole system would not work synergistically to promote both the growth and accelerated directional transport of even small, fast condensing droplets,” said Park.
“This research is an exciting first step towards developing a passive system that can efficiently collect water and guide it to a reservoir,” said Kim.
Learn more: Pulling water from thin air
Sample origami fold may hold the key to designing pop-up furniture, medical devices and scientific tools
What if you could make any object out of a flat sheet of paper?
That future is on the horizon thanks to new research by L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Physics at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). He is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and member of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology, at Harvard University.
Mahadevan and his team have characterized a fundamental origami fold, or tessellation, that could be used as a building block to create almost any three-dimensional shape, from nanostructures to buildings. The research is published in Nature Materials.
The folding pattern, known as the Miura-ori, is a periodic way to tile the plane using the simplest mountain-valley fold in origami. It was used as a decorative item in clothing at least as long ago as the 15th century. A folded Miura can be packed into a flat, compact shape and unfolded in one continuous motion, making it ideal for packing rigid structures like solar panels. It also occurs in nature in a variety of situations, such as in insect wings and certain leaves.
“Could this simple folding pattern serve as a template for more complicated shapes, such as saddles, spheres, cylinders, and helices?” asked Mahadevan.
“We found an incredible amount of flexibility hidden inside the geometry of the Miura-ori,” said Levi Dudte, graduate student in the Mahadevan lab and first author of the paper. “As it turns out, this fold is capable of creating many more shapes than we imagined.”
Think surgical stents that can be packed flat and pop-up into three-dimensional structures once inside the body or dining room tables that can lean flat against the wall until they are ready to be used.
“The collapsibility, transportability and deployability of Miura-ori folded objects makes it a potentially attractive design for everything from space-bound payloads to small-space living to laparoscopic surgery and soft robotics,” said Dudte.
To explore the potential of the tessellation, the team developed an algorithm that can create certain shapes using the Miura-ori fold, repeated with small variations. Given the specifications of the target shape, the program lays out the folds needed to create the design, which can then be laser printed for folding.
The program takes into account several factors, including the stiffness of the folded material and the trade-off between the accuracy of the pattern and the effort associated with creating finer folds – an important characterization because, as of now, these shapes are all folded by hand.
“Essentially, we would like to be able to tailor any shape by using an appropriate folding pattern,” said Mahadevan. “Starting with the basic mountain-valley fold, our algorithm determines how to vary it by gently tweaking it from one location to the other to make a vase, a hat, a saddle, or to stitch them together to make more and more complex structures.”
“This is a step in the direction of being able to solve the inverse problem – given a functional shape, how can we design the folds on a sheet to achieve it,” Dudte said.
“The really exciting thing about this fold is it is completely scalable,” said Mahadevan. “You can do this with graphene, which is one atom thick, or you can do it on the architectural scale.”
Read more: Designing a pop-up future