Stelian Coros
Carnegie Mellon University

Short Biography:

I am an Assistant Professor in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. I received my PhD in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia in 2011. My doctoral dissertation was awarded the Alain Fournier Ph.D. Dissertation Annual Award. Prior to joining CMU, I was a Research Scientist working in the Disney Research, Zurich lab. Through my work, I strive to develop fundamental computational models for motor control, motion planning, physical simulation and digital fabrication. TedXZurich and Robotics Institute Seminar talks I gave on these topics are available online. In 2016 I was the recipient of an Intel Early Career Faculty Award.


Research Interests:

Next-gen Robots: In the not-so-distant future, a rich ecosystem of robots for service, assistive care, therapy, personal augmentation, education and entertainment will be tightly integrated in our daily lives. To reach their full potential, these robotic devices need to become much safer, more nimble and more versatile than the rugged machines developed for industrial applications. Drawing insights from numerical analysis, optimal control, morphological computation, and leveraging opportunities provided by digital fabrication technologies, my goal is to develop mathematical models that will shape the way future generations of robots are designed, manufactured, controlled, and how we interact with them.
Computational Fabrication: As key advantages over traditional manufacturing, 3D Printing is unmatched in its ability to create complex geometric structures, it employs an ever-expanding range of materials (rigid, compliant, conductive, etc), is able to create one-off parts at no extra cost, and is increasingly accessible to new classes of designers. These exciting new capabilities are paving the way to a shift from mass production to personalized design and fabrication. However, they also introduce significant research challenges: the vast space of design possibilities far exceeds our current ability to create content for digital fabrication. To overcome this technological barrier, I am interested in computational design methods that build on forward and inverse physics-based models.
Motor Control Models: Humans and animals move with remarkable skill, grace and agility. And while we devote little thought to moving around, even everyday tasks like walking require a tremendously complex interplay of sensory information processing, motion planning, and coordinated muscle control. One of my main research goals is to study the mathematical, biomechanical and motor-learning principles required to reproduce the wide range of motions displayed by humans and animals. In addition to direct applications to character animation and robotics, this line of research could potentially inform problem domains as diverse as studying the locomotion behavior of dinosaurs or predicting a patient's ability to walk after surgery.
Novel Tools for Animation: Animation plays a central role in creating the immersive virtual worlds we see in video games, CG movies and virtual training simulators. Given the growing demand for increased complexity and realism in these digital worlds, the evolution of animation techniques has never been more important. Consequently, I am interested in developing new methods for a variety of different application domains: from techniques that leverage the skill of professional animators, to tools that allow children to create animated versions of their imaginative stories; from models for simulating the behavior of passive objects, to methods that breathe life into virtual characters; from highly accurate simulations of the human musculoskeletal system, to autonomous digital creatures that can be directed as if they were actors under the guidance of a film director.


Makezine: Design Tool for 3D-Printable Robots from Disney Research
3ders: Disney Research makes 3D printable robotic design easier than ever with interactive design tool
IEEE Spectrum: Disney Software Makes It Easy to Design and Print Custom Walking Robots
Wired UK: Disney Research helps novices 3D print robots from scratch
New Scientist: 3D print extra bits for old objects to help extend their life
Wired: Disney Infinity STAR WARS reinvents the classic AT-AT takedown
Gizmag: Disney Research software makes mechanizing characters easy
Gizmodo: Animatronics Could Go Mainstream Thanks to Disney's Latest Program
Wired: Disney Research: computational design of mechanical characters
Wired UK: Disney software simplifies creation of gear-driven automata
The Engineer UK: Mechanical motion added to 3D-printed creations
3D Printing Industry: Disney Develops Method to Simplify Animatronics with 3D Printable Parts Software systems add motion to physical characters
New Scientist: Virtual walkers lead the way for robots

08/16 James Bern received an Uber Presidential Fellowship
01/16 I received an Intel Early Career Faculty Award
12/15 Our work on designing 3d printable robots was featured on the Discovery Channel
11/15 I will serve on the technical papers committee for Siggraph 2016
02/15 I will serve as program co-chair for the Symposium on Computer Animation 2015