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Benton County 4-H Fashion Revue and Judging

4-H Events - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:35pm
Friday, April 20, 2018 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Public Safety Professionals Webinar Series: Responding to Radiologic Emergencies

Environment Events - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 2:37pm
Thursday, April 19, 2018 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Gain New Insight on Being a Successful ROSS

In this webinar, you will hear new insights on how to respond to radiological events from Oregon State University professor Dr. Emily Caffrey.

As a leading expert on First Responders, Emily leads Oregon State's radiological event/emergency training and will teach the new Radiological Operations Support Specialist (ROSS) program.

About This Webinar on Emergency Training

In this exclusive webinar on responding to radiological events, you will:

  • Gain a new understanding of how to organize and respond to incidents involving radiological hazards
  • Understand state and local response authorities, organizations and jurisdictional issues important for a radiological response.
  • Have the opportunity to ask Emily questions radiological emergency response and more
Webinar Details
  • Date: Thursday, April 19
  • Time: 12 to 1 p.m. PST
Reserve your seat today!

Woodland Management...a basic forestry shortcourse

Forestry Events - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 6:10am
Thursday, April 19, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Registration deadline March 27


Small Woodlands Program: Taking Logs to Market Panel with 3 Buyers

Forestry Events - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 6:10am
Thursday, April 19, 2018 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Location: OSU Extension Auditorium, 569 Hanley Rd, Central Point

Cost: $10/person, $15/couple, JJSWA Members free

Pre-register: 541-776-7371

Log buyers from Boise and Murphy will be on hand to discuss current log markets, future markets, and what log buyers are looking for when purchasing small woodland timber and/or logs.  This program will be designed largely as a question-and-answer session, so bring those questions you’ve always wondered about! 


See the Forestry & Natural Resources Extension webpage for registration, more details, flyers, and a calendar of other upcoming programs.

Woodland Management...a basic forestry shortcourse

Forestry Events - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 6:33am
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Registration deadline March 27


Robots Gone Soft

Terra - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:41am

By Leto Sapunar

After seeing the creations in Yigit Mengüç’s robotics lab at Oregon State University, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had wandered into a sci-fi film. Tentacle arms wave, synthetic snakes wiggle and a hanging underwater machine, at first glance, resembles a living octopus. These aren’t sights most people expect when they think of robotics. However, they are typical for researchers in mLab Robotics, the Oregon State soft robotics laboratory. Here, on the cutting edge — although there isn’t a solid edge to be found on most of these creations — the group is finding revolutionary new ways to fabricate and design robots that look and feel more like flesh than concrete.

A robotic snake slithers around obstacles. (Courtesy of mLab Robotics, Oregon State University)

Often inspired by biomimicry — the design of practical systems modeled on living organisms — soft robotic researchers look for ways to make robots safer, cheaper and more versatile than ever before. Where a conventional rigid robot arm is difficult to program, complex and expensive to fabricate, a soft robotic arm has the potential to perform the same tasks with none of those limitations. This kind of design, which is particularly useful for delicate tasks like grasping coral samples on the sea floor or handing something to an elderly person, is just one of many possible applications for soft robotic technologies.

Soft robots are made from silicone, similar to the kind used in soft phone cases or ice cube trays and sometimes infused with liquid metal gallium wires. Researchers can control the motion of these soft robotic limbs by pressurizing internal pneumatic or hydraulic channels. A tentacle with four pneumatic chambers within can flex in any direction depending on which hollow chamber is inflated with air. This principle also works to make soft robotic snakes, which can locomote in a variety of different snake “gaits” depending on how its air chambers are pressurized and de-pressurized.

Researchers made this multi-armed machine with a 3D printer. (Photo: mLab Robotics, Oregon State University)

Most current robots are designed to encounter specific environments — a wheeled robot for flat surfaces or a propeller driven underwater craft. These robots can function spectacularly in the specific circumstances they were designed for, but they often lack the versatility to do much else. Soft robots, in their elastic and dexterous forms, could offer major improvements. For instance, many living snakes can swim as well as traverse flat, rocky or sandy terrain. A soft robot made to mimic that motion, like the kind Callie Branyan, a Ph.D. candidate in the lab, is working on, can already move across flat surfaces as well as through granular media like millet seeds, sand and river rocks. It can also slither through a pipe and escape from being buried under millet seeds. Branyan is tweaking the design proportions as well, in an attempt to build thinner, faster locomoting robots. “More like a garter snake than a python,” she says, “quick and small.”

Currently, the snake’s component pieces are made using a time-consuming molding process, but the lab is actively working on perfecting silicone 3D printing methods, allowing for any device configuration to be made cheaply and quickly. Osman Dogan Yirmibesoglu, another Ph.D. candidate, is using a massive 3D printer that he built to create a meter-long octopus-like soft robotic arm. “It’s actually more powerful than an octopus arm,” he corrects, explaining that an octopus arm doesn’t do well outside of water, whereas this arm will be able to support its own weight in air. Although it won’t look much like a tentacle, the arm will be able to flex in any direction and hold its position.

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The material used is, as Yirmibesoglu puts it, “radiation transparent,” meaning it doesn’t interact strongly with most types of high-intensity radiation. This could make it preferable for radiological testing or emergency response robots for nuclear incidents. In such situations, high versatility is required to face intense radiation, pass over irregular terrain, investigate underwater reactor pools and operate controls. To find out how the material to responds to radiation, Yirmibesoglu printed samples of the silicone for Tyler Oshiro, an OSU nuclear engineering master’s student, who irradiated them in the university’s research reactor. Oshiro’s goal was to study how the mechanical properties of the silicone changed with high radiation exposure for his master’s thesis. He found the samples stiffened after exposure to very large amounts of radiation, but deal well with it overall. Oshiro finds soft robotics interesting because the field is, as he puts it, “The epitome” of finding “different ways to approach traditional problems.”

A soft, stretchable sensor embedded with liquid wire. (Photo: Hana Maiah)

Yirmibesoglu previously worked on hybrid soft sensors and is first author on the paper, “Hybrid soft sensor with embedded IMUs to measure motion,” published in IEEE Xplore in 2016. The publication outlines soft sensors made from silicone embedded with liquid-metal gallium wires. In the lab, Yirmibesoglu shows me one of the sensors and deforms the gray circuit board lattice in the middle by pressing it with his thumb. It stretches like a gummy worm but pops back into place as soon as it’s released.

As the material stretches, the small channels inside containing liquid metal become warped, making the wires thinner or thicker while the material is flexed in different ways. Because wires of different thicknesses have different electrical resistance, a computer hooked up to the electrodes can measure this value and determine how distorted the sensor is from its normal shape. This way a robot can tell where each of its limbs are. The technology has promise in other avenues like wearable electronics. The sensors are cheap, relatively light weight and versatile.

Building a silicone structure with internal channels of liquid metal isn’t easy. Previously, it required a difficult, multi-stage molding and gluing process with 2D printed liquid metal wires. However, the lab has recently devised a way to 3D print freestanding liquid metal and hopes to build a duel-headed printer, capable of constructing both the silicone body of a robot limb or sensor and its liquid metal veins simultaneously.

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Nick Bira, another Ph.D. student, is working on figuring out the design for “soft valves” to precisely control airflow used to activate the limbs of a small octopus robot. The tricky part is building smart controls for pressure that don’t rely on conventional electrical valves. Elegant design here is key. He says the lab space reached “peak awe factor” a few months ago when, on top of the usual high-ceiling workspace filled with 3D printers, squishy limbs and actuators, aquatic prototypes were floating in an underwater testing tank.

The group has been involved in several collaborative projects, most recently the paper, “Using an environmentally benign and degradable elastomer in soft robotics,” published in the International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications. The project introduced an elastomer suitable for soft robotic construction which can biodegrade non-toxically.

In 2017, Mengüç wrote an overview piece on the field of soft robotics, published in American Scientist. In it, he describes the many avenues of a new and growing field such as electrorheological fluids — fluids which can change between liquid and solid based on an electric field — and the possibility of artificial muscles being implemented into future robots. Among already existing soft robot technologies, he mentions applications including maritime robots for inspection and welding, stealthy naval surveillance robots, safer industrial manufacturing robots, surgical tools like endoscopes and prosthetics or orthotics.

Yigit Menguc, far left, directs mLab Robotics at OSU. (Courtesy of mLab Robotics, Oregon State University)

He also puts the octopus center stage: “Many of my colleagues and I have chosen to take inspiration from one of the most alien mascots: the octopus. As soon as we take as our goal technology that is entirely soft, squishy, and stretchy, yet dynamic, agile, and intensely intelligent, we are forced to reevaluate what is possible.”

Mengüç also works with Oculus Rift, a virtual reality company in Seattle, but the assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering continues to direct the lab’s seven full-time grad students and commute to mLab Robotics meetings.


Note: Leto Sapunar is a senior in physics at Oregon State University.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Living on Your Land

Forestry Events - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 2:39pm
Saturday, April 14, 2018 (all day event)

Do you own or manage acreage in Southern Oregon? Do you have a small farm or a small woodlot? Are you thinking about acquiring property? Are you a land manager or simply a natural resource enthusiast? If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, this conference is for you!


Presented by the OSU Land Steward Program and Rogue River Watershed Council, Living on Your Land features more than two dozen 90-minute classes on a variety of topics related to natural resources and land management. You can participate in up to four classes during the conference. Classroom space is limited and some popular sessions fill up early, so don’t delay in registering. Visit www.livingonyourland.com for information and registration. Registration deadline is April 6.

Community Forestry Days at Hopkins Demonstration Forest

Forestry Events - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 2:39pm
Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM

We need your help to create, support, and maintain forestry education opportunities at Hopkins. This is your chance to learn by doing a variety of projects in a sustainably managed woodland.

Registration is requested. A delicious lunch will be provided. 

What's killing your trees?

Forestry Events - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 2:39pm
Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Workshop includes a lecture followed by a walk around South Slough's Interpretive Center where we will learn to identify common symptoms of insects and diseases.

Sign up online at extension.oregonstate.edu/coos/ or call Shawna at 541-572-5263 ext 25292

South Slough Reserve, Interpretive Center
61907 Seven Devils Rd. Coos Bay
Note: from Charleston, take Seven Devils Road for approximately 4.5 miles to the interpretive center.

Light snacks provided. 

Alcohol and Cigarette Use and Co-Use: Risk Processes and Individual Differences

Health & Wellness Events - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 2:35pm
Friday, April 13, 2018 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Assistant Professor Sarah Dermody's research focuses on evaluating risk factors and treatment for drug use and addiction in adolescents and adults.

More specifically, her research interests include characterizing risk of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use and dependence across the lifespan; optimizing addiction interventions to address co-occurring substance use; and identifying differences in substance use patterns and harms based on gender and sexuality.

She is also Director of the Health Equity and Addiction Lab (HEAL) at Oregon State University.

Sarah earned an MS in Psychology and PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She received a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) at the University of Toronto, Ontario Canada. She completed an American Psychological Association Accredited Pre-doctoral Clinical Internship at CAMH. In addition, Dr. Dermody was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA NIH Pre-doctoral Individual Fellowship while at the University of Pittsburgh.

The college-wide research seminar is Co-Sponsored by:

The seminar series provides a forum for faculty in the College of Public Health & Human Sciences and other researchers to present and discuss current research topics in an environment conducive to stimulating research collaboration and fostering student learning. Faculty and students from the Division of Health Sciences and other colleges, research centers and institutions are encouraged to participate.

Art & Science!

We also encourage you to attend this Friday’s Music A La Carte to enjoy a Friday with both Art & Science!

This free, lunch-hour concert series has been a tradition at Oregon State University since 1969 and features a variety of OSU music ensembles, faculty and student musicians, as well as regional, national and international guest artists.

The concerts take place in the beautiful Memorial Union Lounge, beginning at 12 pm and lasting for approximately 45 minutes.

Fire Science and Forest Management

Forestry Events - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 2:35pm
Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
While we cannot and should not eliminate fire in the forest, we can learn how to manage the risks and impacts while living with fire.

Woodland Management...a basic forestry shortcourse

Forestry Events - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 2:35pm
Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Registration deadline March 27


How to Build Your Career

Environment Events - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 2:35pm
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 4:00 AM - 4:40 AM
Join special guest Jo Danko, P.E., senior vice president and managing director of city solutions for CH2M (now Jacobs), for a professional development seminar intended specifically for engineering seniors and graduate students. Discussion topics include: establishing a solid foundation, building a network, and following your passion. Hosted by the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering. RSVP: https://goo.gl/61H1RU.

Tree and Shrub I.D., Online Resources, An Introduction to Central Oregon’s Forests

Forestry Events - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 2:35pm
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
You must register to attend. Request a registration
form or get more information:
call: 541-548-6088
email: nicole.strong@oregonstate.edu
visit: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/deschutes/

Woodland Management...a basic forestry shortcourse

Forestry Events - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 2:35pm
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Registration deadline March 27


Oregon Dairy Industries Conference

Small Farms Events - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 2:35pm
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 (all day event)
Registration: https://www.oregondairy.org
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Pilot Joe: 5 Years After Tour

Forestry Events - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 2:37pm
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Visit the Pilot Joe forest restoration project in the Applegate.  This is a field program, rain or shine; dress accordingly. 

Location:  OSU Extension Auditorium, 569 Hanley Rd, Central Point. 

Cost: free. Pre-register by calling 541-776-7371 or visit our www.extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/forestry  

Weed ID and Control for Pasture and Hay Ground

Small Farms Events - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 2:37pm
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Weed ID and Control

Weed Biology

Weed Calendars and Mapping

Weed ID Lab Session

Matching Herbicides to Weeds

Series Info: 

Pasture and hayground inputs and management are costly activities. Strategic methods can help you get the most out of your inputs. This program covers the basics of assessing pasture and hay ground, as well as advanced concepts in management to fit your goals. Participants will be guided through custom assessments of their own land. Sign up for one or more of these classes for information on agronomic-economic approaches to your forage production and harvest management.

Presenters: Shelby Filley and Melissa Fery, OSU Extension Service

Location:  Lane Community College: 4000 E. 30th Avenue, Eugene. Building 17, Room 309

Cost:  $15.00

For more information CLICK HERE  Click HERE to Register
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

New trends in dairy and food

Small Farms Events - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 2:41pm
Monday, April 9, 2018 (all day event)
Registration info TBD.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Visit to Rickreall Dairy (2018 National Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award recipient)

Small Farms Events - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 2:41pm
Monday, April 9, 2018 (all day event)
Registration info TBD.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs