My areas of specialty are computational physiology, biomimetic robotics, and biologically inspired machine learning. My doctoral research in the Biomorphic Robotics Lab at the University of South Florida used biologically inspired control mechanisms and passive compliance -- tuned, incidentally, with biologically inspired optimization algorithms -- to reduce the control burden of robotic locomotion.
During a postdoc in the Muscle Physiology and Mechanics Lab at the University of California, Irvine, I collaborated with muscle physiologists to investigate computational approaches to biological questions, and developed a deeper appreciation for the ability of interdisciplinary teamwork to open up new and compelling lines of inquiry.
My work at the Colby College Computational Physiology & Optimization (C3PO) Lab is centered around the use of biologically inspired legged robotic systems as a platform for symbiotic investigations into robotic mobility and the functional implications of design features in animal physiology. The lab is geared toward computational physiology and biologically inspired robotics, with a focus on passive dynamics in locomotion and the emergent properties of complex systems of simple mechanical units. We take advantage of the opportunity afforded by robotics to control both morphology and behavior to gain an understanding of biological locomotion. In turn, these principles power the development of computationally efficient legged robotic systems that are robust enough to operate in natural terrain, industrial environments, and human living spaces.
The things I love to do are teaching and developing technologies that interact with the world. Nothing makes me happier than the opportunity to do these things back home in Maine, and to help other students come to love them as well.
My teaching philosophy is biased in favor of maker experiences. I've come to respect the profound impact visual and kinesthetic learning have on math and science education. Hands-on learning and design-oriented thinking can make all the difference for students who struggle with math-centric material as well as for entrepreneurs, artists, and those who are simply hungry to dive into some equations with power tools. Unfortunately, project-based learning is still relatively rare and is typically associated with a graduate-level engineering curriculum. My goal is to extend these principles to developing scholars through project-focused coursework and participation in an active research program.
For current course information and office hours, please see my courses page.
© 2017 Caitrin Eaton .