Design, control, and power systems for insect robots.

The University of Washington Autonomous Insect Robotics Laboratory (AIR Lab) aims to advance our understanding of how to create self-contained, fully autonomous robots the size of insects. Many technologies that are successful in larger robots cannot be reduced to insect scale because different effects begin to dominate the governing physics. For example, small animals like flies and hummingbirds flap their wings continuously rather than gliding. These "phase transitions" present both a challenge and an opportunity to create new robots. We frequently take inspiration from biology. Insects have superlative capabilities that operate at the forefront of many areas of engineering: from the control of unsteady fluid mechanics, to the intelligence inherent to their mechanical systems, to robust and adaptive control, all the way to olfaction, biology continues to far outclass current robots. We hope to create future robots that are not only small and efficient, but capable of carrying out sophisticated tasks in uncertain and complex environments.

The laboratory is directed by Prof. Sawyer B. Fuller and has facilities to micro-fabricate and control aerial and ground-based robots.


June 2022 Congratulations Dr. Melanie Anderson for receiving the Department of Mechanical Engineering's Distinguished Dissertation award for 2022!

June 2022 New review article, Insect-inspired artificial intelligence for autonomous robots appears in Science Robotics

January 2022 Congratulations Dr. Melanie Anderson, Nishant Elkunchwar, Suvesha Chandrasekaran, Vicente Arroyos, Kyle Johnson, Yash Talwekar, and Alyssa Giedd for obtaining advanced degrees from UW

April 2022 Congratulations Yash Talwekar, Nishant Elkunchwar, Suvesha Chandrasekaran, Johannes James, and Yogesh Chukewad on recent paper acceptances at ICRA, RA-L, TRO, and ICUAS

January 2022 Congratulations Melanie Anderson for receiving a Commercialization Postdoctoral Fellowship at U. Washington's Comotion!

November 2021 Congratulations Alyssa Giedd on receiving a prestigious Mary Gates Fellowship!

August 2021 Funding awarded from the NSF's Foundational Research in Robotics program to create a visual flight controller for insect-sized flying robots. Thank you NSF!

July 2020 Congratulations Vikram Iyer and Johannes James! Science Robotics article on insect-scale steerable vision is released.

March 2020 New site goes live!

April 2018 Congratulations Melanie Anderson for winning the prestigious NDSEG fellowship!

Feb 2018 Thank you U Washington Royalty Research fund! "Aerial insect robotics powered by human-safe magnetically-coupled wireless power transfer"

April 2017 Prof. Fuller selected to speak at the ME seminar series, by popular vote of UW ME faculty