Technically Philly wrote up a piece about my gap year and included my gap year interview video.
Your average undergrad student may take a year off to live abroad, try their hand at a startup or muse over existentialism in a cross-country drive.
But Penn undergraduate researcher Anna Brill beat all those clichéd plans hands down: she spent her year off working on some pretty cool-lookin’ robots.
Penn undergraduate, Anna Brill, took a year off from research with Kod*lab to be a Robot Technician for the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago's Robot Revolution. In this video, get to know Anna at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, her next stop with the exhibit after Chicago before returning to Penn Engineering to start her senior year. Check it out to hear Anna's story and learn about her exciting and unique career path into research and robotics.
This paper explores the design space of simple legged robots capable of leaping culminating in new behaviors for the Penn Jerboa, an underactuated, dynamically dexterous robot. Using a combination of formal reasoning and physical intuition, we analyze and test successively more capable leaping behaviors through successively more complicated body mechanics. The final version of this machine studied here bounds up a ledge 1.5 times its hip height and crosses a gap 2 times its body length, exceeding in this last regard the mark set by the far more mature RHex hexapod. Theoretical contributions include a non-existence proof of a useful class of leaps for a stripped-down initial version of the new machine, setting in motion the sequence of improvements leading to the final resulting performance. Conceptual contributions include a growing understanding of the Ground Reaction Complex as an effective abstraction for classifying and generating transitional contact behaviors in robotics.
My research project as a student in Kodlab during the summer and fall of 2013 explored the behavior of XRL on ice.
Anna Brill, an Engineering sophomore who worked as an undergraduate mechanical engineer in Kod*lab during the summer, came up with the idea of running RHex on ice. She was encouraged by both Koditschek and her mentor, who also works on the project, to pursue her own personal research project.
“As someone who is also interested in the artistic aspect of robotics, the idea of a robot that could elegantly ice skate seemed both an artistic and a scientific goal,” she said.