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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  • 1 April 2019

    We were awarded an Innovative Research Grant from the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind. Thi initiates a collaboration between our lab and neuroscientist Dhruv Grover towards precision design of high-speed tracking optics for animal flight studies. Press announcement can be found here.

  • 28 September 2018

    We will be presenting Jason’s paper “Sliding-layer laminates: a robotic material enabling robust and adaptable undulatory locomotion” at IROS 2018 in Madrid next week! PDF:

  • 1 August 2018

    We were awarded an NSF EAGER to study soft-robotic foot design for optimal locomotion on complex, flowable substrates. More info can be found here.

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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

38. Rough substrates constrain walking speed in ants but not due to large limb perturbations. G Clifton, D Holway, N Gravish. 2019.    (In Review).       Journal                     
37. Impact of Slope on Dynamics of Running and Climbing. J M Brown, D Peterson, J Schmitt, N Gravish, J E Clark. 2019.    (In Review).       Journal                     
36. Soft Robot Actuation Strategies for Locomotion in Granular Substrates. D Ortiz, N Gravish, M Tolley. Robotics and Automation Letters. 2019.       Journal    PDF:                    
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