Robustness of Natural and Man-made Mechanical Systems

"The Single Greatest Difference Between Complex Human Technologies and Natural Technologies Relates to Robustness!" 

- Robert Full (2011)

Robustness is broadly defined as maintained performance under specified conditions (Jen 2005). As applied to real-world systems, robustness encompasses features like stability, multi-functionality,  damage resistance, fault-tolerance, self-repair, learning, adaptation, awareness, anticipation etc. My PhD research aims to understand such principles of robustness and underlying mechanisms enabling the same by studying small animals performance in naturally relevant conditions.

Specifically, I have been testing the following three general hypotheses related to robustness in cockroaches.

H1. Maintain performance after loss in structure - Running with lost or modified body parts.
H2. Recovery from and/or exploiting impacts
H3. Recovery from and/or exploiting deformation in structure – Wedging through cracks and gaps.

The following is the list of projects (most recent first)

  • Sprawling in Robots
  • Effect of Leg Loss on High-speed Locomotion
  • Mechanical Basis for Climbing
  • Compressible Exoskeletons for Robots