Chih-Han Yu

Harvard University

Chih-Han Yu

Dr. Chih-Han Yu discusses his work with mechanical locomotion and artificial intelligence in this wide-ranging one-on-one chat with Per Sjoborg. Dr. Yu, of the Computer Science department at Harvard University, talks about various goings-on in his robotics lab. In his new algorithms, each modular robot cooperates with each other and with the structure as a whole. There is an emergent intelligence that arises, even when each robotic module is programmed with a control strategy that is identical.

Dr. Yu’s work was inspired by drawing connections with biology, such as the underlying organization of biological cells. He also studied animal behavior in groups because he found it offered insights leading to new algorithms. Yu sees the distinct possibility that, in turn, his research might offer insights into animal behavior. We might learn, he speculates, why herds always take certain shapes.

Today, these robots are just a few centimeters high. Upcoming projects may focus on even smaller, micro-robotic scales. Finally, looking to the future of robotics research, they touch on advances in micro-robotics and new experimental methods of building robots that can cope with uncertainty. 

Chih-Han Yu has a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Harvard University. Today, he is working on a startup with colleagues from Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and MIT Media Lab. His undergraduate work in Computer Science was completed at National Taiwan University.


This free podcast is from our Flexible Elements with Per Sjöborg series.

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Photo: Chih-Han Yu's Faculty Page at Harvard University