Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Director, Robotics, Sensors and Machine Intelligence Lab
“In Silicon Valley, there are a lot of opportunities to implement good ideas.”
In Professor Winncy Du’s lab, robots mow lawns, assemble tiny biomedical devices and play catch. And now she and her student team, funded by the National Science Foundation, have developed a pipe-climbing, “multi-finger” robot that is capable of performing utility pipe inspections immediately following earthquakes—and earlier, before disaster strikes. As much as 75 percent of earthquake-related property losses are the result of non-structural elements, including the utility pipes that transport water, fuel, waste, and communication and power cables underground. Du’s newest robot has the potential to save both property and lives.
Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography