Watson Lecture on May 10: Chiara Daraio on Developing Wearables That Can Help Us Monitor Our Health, Communicate, and More
On Wednesday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. PDT in Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus, Chiara Daraio, the G. Bradford Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics and Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator, will continue the 100th anniversary season of the Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series with "Making Wearable Materials Smarter."
Advances in materials science, manufacturing, and computer science have enabled transformative innovations in wearable materials, with designs that can monitor metabolic activity, change stiffness on command, and even interpret our mood. These new materials will allow garments and fashion to bring together the physical and digital worlds. In this lecture, Daraio will show examples of how these materials will help us stay healthy, how they will revolutionize the way we communicate, and how they will adaptively support our everyday needs.
"The reason I'm particularly interested in wearable materials today is because of the convergence of many different fields that together are going to change the way we use clothing and garments, beyond the classical functionality as protection and fashion. New sensing materials combined with big data, for example, will allow wearables to monitor our health and our metabolic activities," says Daraio. "Imagine not having to go to the doctor every time you need to take an EKG or an ultrasound. Wearables that could do that would dramatically improve the quality of life of patients and reduce healthcare costs."
Daraio earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Ancona in Italy, where she was born and raised. She received a master's degree and doctoral degree, both in materials science and engineering, from UC San Diego. Daraio first came to Caltech as an assistant professor in 2006 and has since spent her career at the Institute. From 2013 to 2016, she was also a faculty member and chair of mechanics and materials at ETH Zürich.
Daraio's research is focused on developing new materials with advanced mechanical and sensing properties for application in wearable and medical devices, soft robotics, and shock/vibration absorption. Practical applications of her laboratory's work include new materials and methods for acoustic imaging and thermal sensing for health monitoring, smart and tunable fabrics, as well as sustainable materials for packaging and construction.
The 2022–23 season marks the centennial of The Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series, which has brought Caltech's most innovative scientific research to the public since the Friday Evening Demonstration Lectures premiered in October 1922. The series is named for Earnest C. Watson, a professor of physics at Caltech from 1919 until 1959.
The Watson Lectures, which are geared toward a general audience, spotlight a selection of the pioneering research conducted by Caltech's faculty as part of the Institute's ongoing commitment to benefiting the local community through education and outreach. All Watson Lectures are free and open to the public.
Many past Watson Lectures are available on YouTube.
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