• 11/2020: Haijie defends his PhD research titled “Biologically Inspired Perching for Aerial Robots”.
  • 11/2020: Lab publishes a paper in IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics to leverage mechanical intelligence for aerial perching (New Atlas).
  • 09/2020: Lab is granted a patent on the bistable gripper for aerial grasping and perching.
  • 07/2020: Lab publishes a paper in Soft Robotics to demonstrate how twisted-and-coiled actuators can enable soft robots with programmable motions (CSU News)
  • 05/2020: Lab publishes a paper in Science Advances to demonstrate how elastic instability can enhance the performance of soft robots (Lead by Prof. Yin at NCSU).
  • 03/2020: Together with Opterus R&D, lab receives a STTR grant from DARPA to investigate self-reconfigurable ground robots.


  • 10/2019: Lab publishes a paper in Science Advances to unravel the coupled mechanical and computational intelligence in the upside-down landing of flies (Lead by Dr. Cheng at Penn State).
  • 08/2019: Ben Pawlowski defended his master thesis on “Modeling, Simulation, and Control of Soft Robots”. During his stay in the lab, Ben has published 1 journal paper and 4 peer-reviewed conference papers.
  • 04/2019: Our group members win several awards:
    • Brandon Tighe wins 2nd place at the Multicultural Undergraduate Research Art and Leadership Symposium (MURALS) as well as the junior researcher award on E-days.
    • Jordan Julian receives high honors in Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase (CURC) for his research on walking robots.
    • The NASA robotic mining team supervised by Dr. Zhao selected as the 1st place mechanical engineering senior design project.
  • 02/2019: Lab participates in the annual open house hosted by the Little Shop of Physics (LSOP) as a science partner, showcasing our robots to more than 8,000 visitors.
  • 02/2019: Our recent research on reconfigurable robots is described in IEEE spectrum robotics blog.


  • 10/2018: Jiefeng and Ben’s paper on embedded shape morphing using twisted-and-coiled actuators is selected as a finalist for the best student paper in the 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).
  • 08/2018: Lab receives an NSF grant to investigate vision guided perching for small flying robots, collaborating with Dr. Bo Cheng at Penn State. 
  • 05/2018: Lab receives the Research Initiation Award from National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate embedded and continuous shape morphing using twisted-and-coiled actuators. 
  • 01/2018: Anthony Demario defended his master thesis on “3D Printable Walking Robot with Soft Joints and Links”.

2017 and Before

  • 12/2017: Ali Abbas defended his master thesis on “Modeling of Twisted and Coiled Artificial Muscle for Actuation and Self-Sensing”.
  • 08/2015: Established the Adaptive Robotics Laboratory at the Energy Institute of Colorado State University.