Robot Wranglers Charles Xiao and Matt Devlin
Charlie Xiao and Matt Devlin

Ph.D. candidates Charles Xiao and Matt Devlin 

Robotics just seems to get cooler and cooler. In this episode, we talk to two grad students from UCSB's Hawkes Lab, doing work on the cutting-edge of robotics engineering: Charles Xiao and Matt Devlin.

Charles Xiao is a mechanical engineering PhD candidate, also in the Hawkes’ Lab, and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He comes from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research lies at the intersection of robotics and energy. He studies how to improve the efficiency of soft robots and the design of mechanical heat switches. In addition to research, he regularly mentors students from middle schoolers to undergraduates.

Matt Devlin is a third-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCSB. Under the direction of Dr. Elliot Hawkes, Matt focuses on shape-changing soft robots. His most recently published work was on a small, remote-controlled robot, called SPHR, that is able to expand itself to lift heavy objects and crawl over obstacles. Imagine a robot that could drive under your couch, and then inflate to change its shape and lift it! Before UCSB, Matt worked at L'Oreal as a rapid prototyping scientist doing makeup research using robotics and automation.

Bits of Music You May Notice: Yo La Tengo, "Georgia Vs. Yo La Tengo," Calexico, "Attack! El Robot! Attack!" Kraftwerk, "The Robots."

This episode was first broadcast on KCSB-FM 91.9 on April 21, 2022.