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Our paper on snake traversing large steps is published

We discovered that snakes partition their body to traverse large 3-D terrain like steps. By doing so, their can maintain near-perfect static stability while generating thrusts to overcome drag. This body partitioning strategy is conserved when terrain properties like surface friction and step height changes. We also observed similar partitioning for other types of 3-D terrain. These results suggest that this may be a strategy generally useful for traversing complex 3-D terrain.

Read more

Download paper

Watch movies

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2018-2019 lab graduates starting grad school & jobs

The following students are starting graduate school this Fall:

  • Allen Ren is starting as PhD student at Princeton MAE
  • Yaqing Wang is starting as PhD student at JHU ME
  • Tim Greco is starting as PhD student at UPenn ESE
  • Daniel Hse is starting as MSE student at MIT ME
  • Rafael de la Tijera Obert is starting as MSE student at JHU Robotics
  • Zhong Guan is starting as MSE student at CMU Robotics
  • Xiangyu Peng is starting as MSE student at U Michigan Robotics

Also, Yucheng Kang is starting his job at Bito Robotics.

Evains Francois is starting college at Northwestern.

Congratulations!

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Allen Ren wins departmental award again

Undergraduate researcher Zhiyi (Allen) Ren wins the another award from Department of Mechanical Engineering, Robert George Gerstmyer Award for outstanding undergraduate achievement!

He is going to Princeton MAE department this Fall to start his PhD research in robot control and motion planning.

Congratulations!

Keep up the great work.

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Sean Gart starts his job at ARL

Our lab postdoc, Sean Gart, “graduated” from the lab and is starting his permanent job at Army Research Lab as Mechanical Engineer in the Autonomous Systems Division.

 

As the first member to join the lab, Sean has made crucial contributions to the initial setup and ongoing research program of the lab.

 

Sean’s excellent work has earned him three very nice first-author journal papers in just two and half years.

  1. Gart SW, Mitchel TW, *Li C (2019). Snakes partition their body to traverse large steps stably, Journal of Experimental Biology, 222, jeb185991 PDF
  2. Gart SW, Yan C, Othayoth R, Ren Z, *Li C (2018). Dynamic traversal of large gaps by insects and legged robots reveals a template, Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 13, 026006 PDF
  3. Gart SW, *Li C (2018). Body-terrain interaction affects large bump traversal of insects and legged robots, Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 13, 026005 PDF

Congratulations and best of luck, Sean!

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2017-2018 lab graduates starting grad school & jobs

The following students are starting graduate school this Fall:

  • Mona Gao is starting as PhD student at Berkeley ME
  • Zhiyu Zhang is starting as PhD student at Boston U. Sys. Engr.
  • Dongkai Wang is starting as a PhD student at Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute
  • Jundong Yi is starting as MSE student at CMU ME
  • Nansong Yi is starting as MSE student at UW ME
  • Changfan Chen is starting as MSE student at JHU Robotics

Also, Blake Strebel is starting his job at DMC.

Congratulations!

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High school intern Evains Francois won awards at Baltimore Science Fair

Our high school student intern Evains Francois presented his research on cockroach-inspired legged robots at the Baltimore Science Fair and won two awards:

  • Third place award presented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the physical sciences
  • Honorable mention award presented by the INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter

Congratulations to Evains (and his graduate student mentor Rick Han)!

 

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Allen Ren and Mona Gao won competitive awards

Allen Ren was selected as a 2018 Robotics Institute Summer Scholars from Carnegie Mellon University.

Allen Ren also won a James F. Bell Award for outstanding research and scholarly achievement from JHU’s ME department.

Mona Gao won a Robert George Gerstmyer Award for outstanding undergraduate from JHU’s ME department.

Congratulations!

 

Allen in the RISS 2018 Cohort (fourth guy with glasses from the left in the second last row).

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We presented at APS March Meeting 2018

Qiyuan, Allen, Ratan, and Tommy are presenting at APS March Meeting in Los Angeles.

  1. Mitchel TWXuan Q, Kim JS, Chirikjian GS, *Li C (2018), A novel 3-D full body model of snake locomotion in complex 3-D terrains, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 63 Abstract
  2. Othayoth R, *Li C (2018), Insects change locomotion modes to traverse 3-D obstacles with varied potential energy barriers, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 63 Abstract
  3. Ren ZOthayoth R, *Li C (2018), Legged robots change locomotor modes to traverse 3-D obstacles with varied stiffness, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 63 Abstract
  4. Fu QMitchel TWYi NGart SW, *Li C (2018), Snake robot’s poor 3-D obstacle traversal reveals snake’s better stability mechanisms, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 63 Abstract
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Our two papers on mechanical principles of dynamical traversal of large gap and bump obstacles are published

More supplemental movies and press release.

Download Gap Paper

Download Bump Paper

Summary of results:
1. Insects and legged robots can rapidly traverse large gap (up to 1 body length) and bump (up to 4 hip height) obstacles at speeds typical of running.
2. For dynamic gap traversal, we developed the first template model for locomotion in a 3-D terrain.
3. For large bump traversal, we developed a locomotion energy landscape model to explain why body-terrain interaction affects traversal.
4. Based principles from these models, we increased the robot’s maximal traversable gap and bump size by 50% and 75%, respectively, using active body pitching.

 

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We presented at SICB 2018

We presented research at Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology (SICB) 2018 Meeting in San Francisco on January 4-6.

  • Snakes traversing large step obstacles: kinematics and mechanics
  • Mitchel TWGart SW, Kim JS, Chirikjian GS, *Li C
  • Abstract
  • Snakes traversing large step obstacles: behavior, gait, and performance
  • Gart SWMitchel TW, *Li C
  • Abstract
  • Cockroaches change locomotor modes to traverse beam obstacles of varied stiffness
  • Othayoth R, *Li C
  • Abstract
  • Cockroach and robot locomotion reveals the need to integrate sensory feedback with body mechanics to traverse complex 3-D terrains
  • Han Y, *Li C
  • Abstract
  • Body vibrations induced by legged locomotion help traverse complex 3-D obstacles
  • Thoms G, *Li C
  • Abstract

Tommy Mitchel, Rick Han, Ratan Othayoth, Sean Gart, Chen Li

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Our journal paper on mechanical principles of dynamic winged self-righting is published

This 2017 Advanced Robotics journal paper is a follow up to our 2016 IROS conference paper.

Besides how wing opening magnitude, speed, height, and asymmetry affects the performance of winged dynamic self-righting, it reports additional experimental and modeling results and discussions on:

(1) how body mass and mass distribution affects dynamic winged self-righting, and

(2) how asymmetric wing opening affects final body heading and potential energy barriers.

Download PDF

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2016-2017 lab graduates starting grad school & jobs

The following students are starting graduate school this Fall:

  • Nastasia Winey is starting as PhD student at MIT ME
  • Qihan Xuan is starting as PhD student at JHU ME
  • Zheliang Wang is starting as PhD student at JHU ME
  • Yifu Luo is starting as PhD student at Northwestern ME
  • Yucheng Kang is starting as MSE student at JHU ME
  • Jieming Bi is starting as MSE student at JHU CS
  • Neil McCarter is starting as MSE student at JHU Robotics
  • Dimitri Nikitopoulos is starting as MSE student at CMU ME
  • Siyuan Yu is starting as MSE student at Columbia CS

Also, Scotty Thoms is starting his job at City Year.

Congratulations!

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We presented at APS March Meeting 2017

Sean, Ratan, Rick, and Scotty presented at American Physical Society March Meeting 2017 in New Orleans, LA.

  • Gart SW, Winey N, Obert RDLT, *Li C (2017), Dynamic traversal of high bumps and large gaps by a small legged robot, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 62 Abstract
  • Othayoth R, Xuan Q, *Li C (2017), Induced vibrations increase performance of a winged self-righting robot, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 62 Abstract
  • Han Y, Wang Z, *Li C (2017), Body shape helps legged robots climb and turn in complex 3-D terrains, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 62 Abstract
  • Thoms G, Yu S, Kang Y, *Li C (2017), Induced vibrations facilitate traversal of cluttered obstacles, Bulletin of the American Physical Society 62 Abstract
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We presented at SICB 2017

Sean, Ratan, and Rick presented research at Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology (SICB) 2017 Meeting in New Orleans, LA on January 4-8, in the session on Locomotion: Obstacles and Perturbations

  • Gart SW, *Li C (2017), Dynamic traversal of large gaps and high bumps by cockroaches, Integrative and Comparative Biology 57 Abstract
  • Othayoth R, Xuan Q, *Li C (2017), Leg vibrations help cockroaches self-right using wings, Integrative and Comparative Biology 57 Abstract
  • Han Y, Luo Y, Bi J, *Li C (2017) Body shape affects yaw and pitch motions of insects traversing complex 3-D terrains, Integrative and Comparative Biology 57 Abstract

Photo with Prof. Bob Full (Prof. Chen Li’s postdoctoral advisor)

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Our lab started

Our lab has started!

Our first lab space is Hackerman B08C.

Two more lab spaces are under renovation and will be ready mid Spring.