B.S. in Mechanical Science and Engineering
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Class of 2017
Brandon is from a northwest suburb of Chicago. As a child, Brandon enjoyed playing with model and remote-controlled airplanes. He took his childhood hobbies to UIUC where he quickly became involved in different engineering clubs and design competitions. During his sophomore year, he spent a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain to enrich his global experiences as an engineer. His most recent summer was spent at Boeing where he contributed to the product development team as a systems engineering intern. This semester, Brandon joined the BAM lab to learn more about the research process and explore his interests in materials and robotics.
In a joint effort with the Kinetic Materials Lab, Brandon has been developing a crawling robot to demonstrate an application of the bistable origami structure. The original structure offers controlled snapping that enables expansion and contraction to the two different stable states upon rotational actuation of a motor. This feature is implemented in the design to induce a forward motion that resembles the crawling gait of an earthworm. The resulting robot would be able to deploy, traverse different terrains, and collapse into a portable, handheld device. A robot with such properties may have civilian (disaster relief) and military (reconnaissance) applications. In the future, Brandon will improve upon the working prototype he developed by making the design and materials more robust. The BAM Lab hopes this robot will push the boundaries for the use of smart materials and actuators as opposed to traditional materials.