The science & engineering of
dynamic & dexterous movement
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, UC San Diego


We aim to further the scientific understanding of movement and manipulation in biological systems and to apply this knowledge towards new engineering paradigms in robot design, fabrication, and control. To accomplish this we work at the intersections of robotics, physics, and biology. Our current focus is on movement and manipulation in milli-scale robot and biological systems. We develop new fabrication techniques for construction of robots at millimeter scales. Experiments with agile and dexterous organisms can aid in developing intuition and understanding of effective movement strategies at small scales.

  • Micro-robotics fabrication
  • Mechanism design for stable, dynamic movement
  • Biomechanics of rapid flight maneuvers
  • Manipulation in biology
  • Swarm robots and biology
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  • 28 September 2018

    Jason’s paper “ Sliding-layer laminates: a robotic material enabling robust and adaptable undulatory locomotion” was accepted to IROS 2018. We will be presenting this next week! PDF:

  • 25 June 2018

    Jacob’s school of engineering had a recent feature on Prof. G’s Bioinspired mobile robotics grad class. Details and video found here.

  • 12 February 2018

    Postdoc Glenna Clifton is awarded a $25,000 Chancellor’s Research Excellence Scholarship entitled “Locomotor patterns in diverse ecological habitats”. Congrats Glenna!

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Graduate students: We encourage interested students to contact PI Gravish about potential opportunities.

Post-docs: We do not currently have any funded post-doctoral positions however students who are interested can contact PI Gravish to discuss co-applying for post-doctoral funding.

Undergrads: We are happy to have talented undergraduates work with graduate students on indendent research projects. Contact PI Gravish with an email to get more information.

Recent papers

34. Soft Robot Actuation Strategies for Locomotion in Granular Substrates. D Ortiz, N Gravish, M Tolley. RA-L RoboSoft. 2018.    (In review).       Journal                     
33. Sliding-layer laminates: a robotic material enabling robust and adaptable undulatory locomotion. M Jiang, N Gravish. Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). 2018.       Conference    PDF:                    
32. Spatial fidelity of workers predicts collective response to disturbance in a social insect. JD Crall, N Gravish, AM Mountcastle, SD Kocher, RL Oppenheimer, NE Pierce, SA Combes. Nat. Communications. 2018.       Journal    PDF:                    
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