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2018 Fellow

Ryan Truby

Materials Engineering

PhD Institution
Harvard University
Postdoctoral institution and lab

Distributed Robotics Laboratory MIT CSAIL

Next Steps

Schmidt Science Fellows Additional Study Grant, MIT
Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University

Ryan is a materials engineer who, as a Schmidt Science Fellow, pivoted to work in robotics.

Dr. Truby completed his PhD in applied physics with Professor Jennifer Lewis at Harvard University. During his PhD, he developed new ways to use 3D printing techniques to create machines out of functional soft materials. Working with Prof Daniela Rus within the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, Ryan investigated new control strategies for soft and compliant robots. His pivot into robotics enabled him to bridge his two fields, and by doing so, design new robots with unprecedented capabilities and explore new applications for soft robotics.

As a PhD student, Ryan invented the ‘Octobot’, a world-first, hardware-free autonomous soft robot. Now, Schmidt Science Fellows continues to support Ryan’s work with an Additional Study Grant. The potential of genuinely soft robotics and autonomous control is huge. His current projects aim to use soft robotic manipulators that have the necessary biomimetic sensory feedback to improve how robots manipulate objects for a variety of tasks. The technology could revolutionize product handling, manufacturing, human-machine interfaces, and many other applications that are difficult or inappropriate with traditional “rigid” robots.

Ryan grew up in West Texas and took his first degree at The University of Texas at Austin.

Learn more about Ryan’s work in soft robotics in his latest published paper here.