Faculty Directory
Ryan Truby

Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (beginning on September 1, 2021)

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering (beginning on September 1, 2021)


2220 Campus Drive
Cook 2036
Evanston, IL 60208

Email Ryan Truby


Materials Science and Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

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Ph.D. Applied Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Research Interests

Inspired by the stark performance gap between biological and artificial machines, my research broadly aims to advance machine intelligence through material design. Our mission in the Robotic Matter Lab is to develop material systems whose forms and functionalities give soft devices and robots novel bioinspired actuation, perception, control, and power capabilities. We take an interdisciplinary approach to solving key challenges in the design, fabrication, and control of autonomous soft robots and robotic materials.

Our lab specializes in the synthesis and characterization of functional soft, polymeric, and nanoscale materials, development of novel additive and digital manufacturing methods, design and control of soft robots, and rheological characterization of soft matter. We are currently working on soft artificial muscles and sensors, rapid multi-material fabrication methods for robotic materials, and machine learning-based control strategies for soft robotics. We conduct these principle research efforts through the lens of our team’s diversity of expertise and perspective, with the goal of pioneering a generation of autonomous systems that bring new innovations to healthcare, environmental stewardship, exploration, automation, and well beyond.

Significant Recognition

  • Outstanding Paper Award, IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (2019)
  • Science Robotics highlights work in liquid crystal elastomers in “Ten robotics technologies of the year” (2019)
  • Schmidt Science Fellowship (2018-2020)
  • Materials Research Society Graduate Student Gold Award (2017)
  • National Science Foundation Vizzies Award for Scientific Visualization (2017)
  • Article on entirely soft robots one of Nature Editor’s Top 10 Articles of 2016 (2016)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2012-2015)

Selected Publications

    R. L. Truby*, L. Chin*, D. Rus. “A Recipe for Electrically-Driven Soft Robots via 3D Printed Handed Shearing Auxetics,” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, in press (2021).

    R. L. Truby* and S. Li*, “Integrating chemical fuels and artificial muscles for untethered microrobots.” Science Robotics, 5, eabd7338 (2020).

    R. L. Truby*, C. Della Santina*, D. Rus. “Distributed Proprioception of 3D Configuration in Soft, Sensorized Robots via Deep Learning,” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 5, 3299-3306 (2020).

    A. K. Grosskopf, R. L. Truby, H. Kim, A. Perazzo, J. A. Lewis, H. A. Stone. “Viscoplastic Matrix Materials for Embedded 3D Printing,” ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 10, 23353-23361 (2018).

    R. L. Truby, M. Wehner, A. K. Grosskopf, D. M. Vogt, S. G. M. Uzel, R. J. Wood, J. A. Lewis. “Soft Somatosensitive Actuators via Embedded 3D Printing,” Advanced Materials, 30, 1706383 (2018).

    A. Kotikian, R. L. Truby, J. W. Boley, T. J. White, J. A. Lewis. “3D Printed Liquid Crystal Elastomer Actuators with Spatially Programmed Nematic Order,” Advanced Materials, 30, 1706164 (2018).

    R. L. Truby, J. A. Lewis. “Printing Soft Matter in Three Dimensions,” Nature, 540, 371-378 (2016).

    M. Wehner*, R. L. Truby*, D. J. Fitzgerald, B. Mosadegh, G. M. Whitesides, J. A. Lewis, R. J. Wood, “An integrated design and fabrication strategy for entirely soft, autonomous robots,” Nature, 536, 451-455 (2016).