Robert MacCurdy

alt text  Postdoctoral Associate
MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab
Distributed Robotics Lab
Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering) Cornell University, 2015
M.S. (Mechanical Engineering) Cornell University, 2013
B.S. (Electrical Engineering) Cornell University, 1999
B.A. (Physics) Ithaca College, 1999

I want to make robots much easier to design and build.
Someday soon robots will be made on-demand for specific tasks, consumed during use, and then recycled into new robots. They will be expendable. Unfortunately, we currently build robots by first manually designing them and then manually producing them, making them precious to the person who built them. It also takes a really long time to make robots this way! I'm designing automated approaches to fabricating robots that require no human intervention, and inventing automated design approaches that convert high-level behavior specifications (like, "build a robot that can run fast") into robot designs that can be fabricated automatically.

I am also passionate about aiding conservation through technology development.
I have been lucky enough to team up with some amazing biologists and ecologists who study birds, bats, whales, elephants and frogs. Together we have designed and built new automated instrumentation that allows them to dramatically scale up the quantity and quality of the scientific data that they can gather.

06/17/17 - My paper on automatically designing and fabricating robots by folding was published in IEEE RA-L and will also be presented at IROS2017 in Vancouver. Also watch the accompanying video.

05/24/17 -
I gave a talk at the LiveWorx conference in Boston. 

11/21/16 -
 The Boston ABC channel WCVB broadcast a video piece about my Printable Viscoelastics work.

11/15/16 - The Printed Programmable Viscoelastics Youtube video now has more than 50,000 views!

11/8/16 - I've been awarded another patent! US 9,487,387: System and methods for actuation using electro-osmosis

10/4/16 - The Printed Programmable Viscoelastics work is featured on MIT's frontpage!

8/1/16 - The Printed Hydraulics Youtube video now has more than 250,000 views!

7/1/16 - My Printed Programmable Viscoelastics paper has been accepted to IROS 2016 in Daejeon, Korea. the IROS acceptance rate was 48% this year.

3/31/16 - Our first paper about the ecological science that can be done with my Automatic Tracking System will appear in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B!

1/15/16 - My Printed Hydraulics paper has been accepted to ICRA 2016 in Stockholm. ICRA's acceptance rate was 34.7% this year.

10/27/15 - I gave a talk: "Multicellular Machines” at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Symposium on Informal Robotics

4/25/15 - I gave a talk: "Multicellular Machines” at the MIT Active Matter Summit. The video is available here.

2/12/14 - My work on BitBlox and printed magnets was featured on the PBS Newshour. Click the links for video segments from the show.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
32 Vassar St, Room 32-375
Cambridge, MA 02139
maccurdy (at) mit (dot) edu