My research is currently focused on hybrid mechanical systems that undergo impulsive effects (e.g. the dynamics of a bouncing ball). Robots that walk, hop, or brachiate fall within this class of mechanical systems. The goal of my work is to produce theoretical tools for planning, control, and estimation of these robots allowing them to move dynamically (e.g. acrobatically, aggressively, nimbly, quickly, etc.) in their environment. A major challenge is dealing with the nonsmooth equations of motion where traditional solution methods for problems in planning, control, and estimation may not apply.
One useful tool (with a freely available library) is using continuation methods to generate gaits for underactuated hybrid systems, such as bipeds and brachiators. You can read more about generating gaits for hybrid systems and other related work on the Dynamic Locomotion research page.
I received a Bachelor of Engineering degree with an emphasis in Computer Engineering from The Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2006. I then worked for two years prior to attending Northwestern in the Fall of 2008.