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 work bridges the fields of robotics, computational fabrication and animation. A TedXZurich talk and a Robotics Institute Seminar describing some of my work are available online. In 2016 I was the recipient of an Intel Early Career Faculty Award and an NSF Research Initiation Award, and my PhD thesis received the 2010 Alain Fournier Ph.D. Dissertation Annual Award.


Research Interests:

Next-gen Robots: Mobile robots for service, assistive care, personal augmentation, education and entertainment will fundamentally improve many aspects of our lives. To reach their full potential, these robotic systems need to become much safer, more nimble and more versatile than they are today, and they should be custom-designed according to individual needs and preferences. Drawing insights from computer science, applied mathematics and engineering, and leveraging advances in digital fabrication technologies, I develop algorithmic foundations that will shape the way future generations of robots are computationally designed, manufactured, controlled, and how they behave as 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 developing the computational foundations for next-gen CAD software.
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.


Eurekalert: CMU's interactive tool helps novices and experts make custom robots
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