The science & engineering of
dynamic & dexterous movement
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, UC San Diego
(PI) Nick Gravish


I am interested in movement dynamics in biology and robotics. I am driven by developing new methods for analysis and generation of locomotion using tools from robotics, computer vision, and physics.


  • Postdoctoral scholar at Harvard University (2013 - 2016)
    • School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
    • Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
    • Advisers: Robert J. Wood and Stacey A. Combes
  • Ph.D. in Physics at Georgia Tech (2008 - 2013)
    • Thesis: Collective dynamics of active and passive granular media
    • Minor: Mechanics of materials
    • Adviser: Daniel I. Goldman
  • B.S. in Physics at UC Santa Barbara (2001 - 2005)
    • Undergraduate Research Honors, 2004 & 2005


Glenna Clifton


Glenna comes to the gravishlab with a background in physics and organismal biomechanics. Glenna is studying the dynamics and control of high-speed legged locomotion in small insects (ants) to better understand the limitations of legged locomotion in small-scale systems.


Wei Zhou

Wei is working on the design of low-mass legged robots for collective exploration in extreme environments.

Steven Chandler

Steven is studying the control and of flapping wing vehicles in cluttered and uncertain aerial environments.


James Lynch

James is developing a bio-inspired active vision system for 3D imaging with a single camera on micro-robots.

Daniel Ortiz

Physics of soft-robot locomotion on sandy terrain.

Dennis Wu

Flapping wing insects and robots may leverage mechanical resonance for energy efficient locomotion. Dennis is studying design principles for resonant flapping wing robots.

Shivam Chopra

Shivam is working on self-excited piezoelectric actuators for robust and multi-modal (swimming, running, flying) locomotion in insect scale robots.

Mingsong Jiang

Jason (Minsong) Jiang is a masters student investigating mechanical designs for dynamic, resonantly actuated, flapping wing microrobots.


Manon Girard

Manon is helping to develop a total-internal reflection system for measuring the contact dynamics of small running insects and robots.

Siming Deng

Optimal control and path-planning for insect flight in complex environments.

Jhonathan Bituin

Jhonathan is working with Daniel Ortiz on locomotion physics of soft-robots on sandy terrain.

Previous students

Jeremy Lu

Jeremy visited us from Taiwan