Brian Chien

Photograph Brian Chen
Department B.S. in Mechanical Science and Engineering, 2017


B.S. in Mechanical Science and Engineering
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Class of 2017


Brian is from the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Ever since he was a child, he was always intrigued by how several basic parts can be put together to become complex mechanical systems. Once he came to UIUC, he was able to pursue this interest by participating in the Formula SAE Aerodynamics team where he worked on the Drag Reduction System Project. In addition to working on this project, he is also working for Caterpillar Inc. for their Information Analytics department developing software used to help design their parts using optimization and DOE methodology. Since then, his interests have now evolved into controls and solid mechanics, as he hopes to broaden his knowledge in these fields for his research at BAM lab.

Annelid-Inspired Locomotion using Bi-Stable Origami Structures

Brian’s research is inspired by how annelids utilize their musculoskeletal system for locomotion, and he is working on applying these ideas in an electro-mechanical system utilizing origami structures developed by the Kinetic Materials Lab. The main goal of his project is to develop a robot that utilizes origami locomotion to mimic the movement of a common earthworm. Having already developed an initial working prototype, Brian is currently working on design improvements such as: creating dynamic barbules for improved movement efficiency, implementing full automation, and experimenting with various multi-gait movements. In line with the goals at BAM Lab, this bio-inspired robot will eventually utilize components such as smart materials to achieve near nature-like efficiency. In the future, he believes that an annelid-inspired robot could be used to traverse difficult and dangerous environments such as pipes or unstable structures in search and rescue type missions.