Robotics and systems design research focuses on identifying fundamental principles and methodologies that enable engineered systems to exhibit intelligent, goal-oriented behavior, and developing innovative instruments to monitor, control and manipulate systems.

Faculty and students participate in several major sponsored research centers, including the Army’s Micro Autonomous Science and Technology (MAST) CTA, and the AFOSR Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI).

Research in the Robotics and Systems Design Area typically leverages three core competencies in service to diverse needs in such areas as health care, security, education, space and ocean exploration, and autonomous systems in air, land, and underwater. These three core competencies are:

  • Methodologies for understanding natural and engineered system behavior through physical modeling, identification and estimation
  • Technologies for sensors and distributed sensor networks; embedded systems; actuators and energy transducers; and novel architectures for monitoring, processing and communication of information
  • Fundamental theories and methodologies for analyzing, synthesizing, and controlling complex systems; learning and adapting to unknown environments; and autonomous behavior

Area Strengths

  • Robotic capsule endoscopy automation
  • Surgical robot mechanical design for autonomous endoscopy
  • Traction, adhesion, and dynamic modeling for in vivo robotic locomotion
  • Insect-inspired visual perception and visuomotor control for navigation
  • Mechanosensory feedback for disturbance rejection and flight in gusty environments
  • Bio-inspired electrosensory and hydrodynamic arrays for underwater perception and navigation
  • High speed videography for measurement of animal kinematics and flight
  • Computational fluid dynamic models for insect flight
  • Localization for MARS-based autonomous aerial mapping platforms
  • Infrared proximity sensing for degraded visibility missions
  • Self-healing artificial muscle actuators
  • Stretchable ionics for transparent sensors and actuators