The Smart Materials and Robotics Laboratory is an interdisciplinary research lab within the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We are creating new soft multifunctional materials that are safe for human interaction and exhibit unique combinations of electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties. These efforts lie in the emerging fields of wearable computing, soft robotics, and robotic materials.


  • Wearable Computing
    Electronic skin for gesture monitoring

  • Robotics
    Soft robotic quadruped

  • Advanced Material Development
    Robust soft-matter electronics
  • RECENT NEWS

    2023-

    December-
    Our research receives support from the Voelte-Keegan Bioengineering Support program.
    December-
    Our research receives support from the Nebraska Public Power District through the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research. This is a collaborative research project with Prof. Lucia Fernandez-Ballester to study thermal interface materials.
    November-
    Congratulations to Patrick McManigal for winning the 3-2-1 quick pitch event hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship.
    November-
    Prof. Markvicka provided expertise and inspiration to a group of Vex Robotics teams from the Omaha area as part of a faculty panel from the College of Engineering.
    October-
    Prof. Markvicka gave an invited talk at the 2023 Heartland Robotics and Automation Conference.
    October-
    Prof. Markvicka has received the 2022-2023 Research Excellence Award from the College of Engineering.
    October-
    Our lab hosted an outreach event at UNL for the Lincoln East High School engineering class.
    October-
    Megan Santamore and Caden Pak presents at the 2023 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.
    October-
    Merjen Palvanova, Ethan Krings, and Prof. Markvicka all give presentations at the 2023 Society of Engineering Science (SES) Annual Technical Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
    September-
    Our lab hosted an outreach event at UNL for Eureka! which is a five-year college and career prep program that builds girls’ STEM confidence and introduces them to potential STEM careers.
    August-
    Our lab hosted a table at the 2023 UNL-LPS STEM Connector on additive manufacturing and wearable technologies.
    August-
    Kyra Martindale presents at the 2023 NNCI REU Convocation in Bozeman, Montana.
    August-
    Congratulations to Megan Santamore who was selected as a top poster from the biomedical engineering REU program and second-place overall (out of 124 posters) at the annual Summer Research Symposium.
    August-
    Congratulations to Kyra Martindale who was selected as a top poster from the NNCI nanotechnology REU program at the annual Summer Research Symposium.
    July-
    Congratulations to Ethan Krings, Spencer Pak, and Kasey Moomau for receiving a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship to support their research projects.
    July-
    Our research receives support from NASA Nebraska Space Grant.
    July-
    Our research receives support from the University of Nebraska Collaboration Initiative.
    June-
    Prof. Markvicka presented a poster at the 2023 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference on an interdisciplinary team research project during a 10-week NSF REU program.
    June-
    Prof. Markvicka gave a talk at the 2023 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference on designing learning experiences with a low-cost robotic arm.
    May-
    Prof. Markvicka gave an invited talk at the 2023 Orthotic & Prosthetic Innovative Technologies Conference (OPTech).
    April-
    Our research receives support from a local Nebraska business with matching support from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
    April-
    Prof. Markvicka gave an invited seminar at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Biomechanics Department.
    April-
    Prof. Markvicka gave an invited talk at 2023 National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) fellows conference.
    April-
    Patrick McManigal and Evan Hailey presented a poster at 2023 National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) fellows conference.
    April-
    Prof. Markvicka gave an invited seminar at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Center for Brain, Biology & Behavior.
    April-
    Prof. Markvicka gave an talk at the 2023 Nebraska Academy of Sciences (NAS) Annual Meeting.
    April-
    Ethan Krings presents at the ASME Design of Medical Devices Conference on a soft and conformal matching layer for ultrasound patches. This work is in collaboration with Prof. Greg Bashford's group. See our five minute pitch video here.
    April-
    Congratulations to Calan Brant, Peter Lux, Grace Fredrickson, Brooke James, Calivn Cuddy, and Wil Fiddelke for receiving summer 2023 and/or 2023-2024 academic year UCARE funding.
    March-
    Congratulations to Kasey Moomau, an undergraduate student in the lab, on being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Nebraska Today article.
    March-
    Congratulations to Patrick McManigal and Spencer Pak for winning third place at the College of Engineering pitch competition. Nebraska Today article.
    March-
    Prof. Markvicka co-organized the 2023 College of Engineering Pitch Competition (2 grad teams & 4 undergrad teams; $5k Purse)
    February-
    Congratulations to incoming PhD student Kasey Moomau for receiving the Othmer Recruitment Fellowship.
    February-
    Congratulations to Patrick McManigal for winning the 3-in-5 pitch competition at the 2023 College of Engineering Graduate Symposium.
    February-
    Our research receives support from the Great Plains IDeA-CTR. Project funded in collaboration with Prof. Elizabeth Wellsandt from UNMC.

    We are grateful for the support from the following organizations:

  • We also acknowledge support from the Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Biomedical Research Development Fund, our industry partners, and the Don Voelte and Nancy Keegan bioengineering support fund.


    © 2018 Smart Materials and Robotics Laboratory