My seven species of robot

Dennis Hong: My seven species of robot

About this talk

At TEDxNASA, Dennis Hong introduces seven award-winnning, all-terrain robots — like the humanoid, soccer-playing DARwIn and the cliff-gripping CLIMBeR — all built by his team at RoMeLa, Virginia Tech. Watch to the end to hear the five creative secrets to his lab’s incredible technical success.

Why you should listen to him:

As director of a groundbreaking robotics lab, Dennis Hong guides his team of students through projects on robot locomotion and mechanism design, creating award-winning humanoid robots like DARwIn (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence). His team is known as RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) and operates at Virginia Tech.

Hong has also pioneered various innovations in soft-body robots, using a “whole-skin locomotion” as inspired by amoebae. Marrying robotics with biochemistry, he has been able to generate new types of motion with these ingenious forms. For his contributions to the field, Hong was selected as a NASA Summer Faculty Fellow in 2005, given the CAREER award by the National Science Foundation in 2007 and in 2009, named as one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10. He is also a gourmet chef and a magician, performing shows for charity and lecturing on the science of magic.

“I still cannot forget the mind-blowing sensation when I first watched the movie Star Wars. I was fascinated by R2D2 and C-3PO. Since then, I decided to become a robot scientist and never changed my mind.”

Dennis Hong

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