Joining

Interested in robotics research?

Current Penn Students

Current Penn students are encouraged to email Michael directly, including a resume, transcript, and short cover letter detailing your research interests and qualifications. Prospective lab members may be asked to participate for a period on a trial basis. Coursework or other experience in the some of following provides a useful background for the lab: controls (particularly in nonlinear and modern control), optimization, machine learning, robotics, linear algebra, programming (particularly Python and C++), and dynamics. The best preparation, particularly for seniors and masters students, would be to take MEAM 517, typically taught in the fall by Michael.

Currently (last updated 9/25/2021), we are especially interested in recruiting current Penn undergraduate and masters students for the projects below.

  • Software development of high-performance, real-time controllers. Students would collaborate with Ph.D. students to implement new control algorithms in C++, with a focus on high-performance, multi-threaded computation. Ideal candidates have experience with numerical optimization and C++ development.
  • Computer vision for legged locomotion and manipulation. Students would investigate and implement vision algorithms for localization, terrain estimation, and object tracking. Ideal students have baseline experience with computer vision.
  • Design and fabrication for locomotion and manipulation experiments. Students would support experimentation for either locomotion (with the Cassie robot) or manipulation. Example projects include design and fabrication of a camera-based vision system or experimental apparatuses. Ideal students have design and fabrication experience.
  • Physics-inspired learning. Students would collaborate with Ph.D. students to develop and test learning algorithms for robotic manipulation. Projects would involve software development and physical experimentation on a Franka Panda arm. Ideal students have experience with Python and machine learning.

Prospective Graduate Students

Due to the volume of requests, I will likely not be able to respond to unsolicited emails from prospective graduate students. However, I strongly encourage you to apply through Penn graduate admissions to MEAM, ESE, or CIS and indicate my name on your application. For the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, the lab is unlikely to recruit many Ph.D. students. Exceptional students are always encouraged to apply.

For prospective graduate students, either masters or doctoral, considering emailing me or other faculty, I encourage you to put careful thought into each email. Generic, mass-mailed statements of interest will not receive many responses and nor will sending such emails improve your chance of admission.

Prospective Postdoctoral Researchers

Interested postdocs are encouraged to send me their CV, research statement, and two or three relevant papers. Please note that openings for postdocs are highly dependent on funding constraints.