In 2018, Professor Rossiter was appointed as a Chair in Emerging Technology (CiET) at the University of Bristol. The 10-year CiET programme enables engineers to focus on advancing novel technologies from basic research through to real deployment and commercialisation.
Professor Jonathan Rossiter is one of the leading protagonists in the emerging field of soft robotics. Soft robots are made of pliable components that can stretch, bend, twist and move without the need for traditional motors. It makes them suitable for many applications that conventional robots cannot tackle.
Professor Rossiter sees soft robots as a bridging gap between natural organisms and engineered machines, where the boundaries between artificial intelligence and biology are blurring. His team has developed new robotics including ElectroSkin, which can crawl across a surface by using electrical artificial muscles and gripping using electrical charges.
The University of Bristol also led the Right Trousers project which has created wearable supportive soft robotic material. It could give people added bionic strength to move between sitting and standing positions as well as the ability to walk for longer.
Professor Rossiter has already helped create other new technologies including biodegradable and environmentally remediating robots, shape-fixing composites and implantable medical devices. He is now working on projects making flying snakes, edible robots and breathing cushions.
“My ambition is to make soft robotics a natural part of our lives, be it in healthcare, industry or the environment. My goal is that they will be ubiquitous, so that they benefit all aspects of our lives. Maybe in the near future, we won’t even see a distinction between a soft robot and our normal environment”
Professor Jonathon Rossiter