news    views    podcast    learn    |    about    contribute     republish    

Michael T. Tolley is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Director of the Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab at the Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego ( Before joining the mechanical engineering faculty at UCSD in the fall of 2014, he was a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University. He received the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science from Cornell University in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He received the B. Eng. degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal in 2005. His research interests include biologically inspired robotics and design, origami-inspired fabrication, self-assembly, and soft robotics, and his work has appeared in articles in top scientific journals including Science and Nature. 

A 3-DoF holonomic hexapod robot. Source: Ankur Mehta and Cagdas Onal
A 3-DoF holonomic hexapod robot. Source: Cagdas Onal

Though recent advances in design, fabrication, and programming technologies promise to enable rapid digital manufacturing of functional robotic systems, many challenges need to be addressed to realize the dream of fully functional print-on-demand robots. The creation of robotic systems requires expertise in diverse areas, including mechanics, electronics, software, and control theory. Contributions from all of these 
fields will be required to automate 
or greatly simplify direct robot fabrication.

This paper won the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine Best Paper Award at ICRA 2016.