Huai-Ti's motto in biomechanics research

Huai-Ti's motto in biomechanics research

Ask questions like a physicist:

Try to aim for the most general fundamental questions that apply to multiple organisms and across different systems.

Think like a biologist:
Frame hypotheses by considering the evolutionary constraints and the life history of the organisms/systems.

Work like an engineer:
Break down the research project into engineering tasks and jump over each technical hurdle one by one.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Huai-Ti's new research and new blog

My name is Huai-Ti Lin, and I am an experimental biologist and a bio-inspired roboticist currently based at Harvard University (Concord Field Station).  I was formally involved with development of soft robotics at Tufts University during my Ph.D years. You can check out my doctoral research at my former blog

My primary research interest is emerging intelligence in biomechanics. For example, I am fascinated by how animals develop robust locomotion in different environments using simple patterns and minimal feedback. I am also intrigued by how different sensory inputs shape animal behaviors and intelligence. Currently I occupy myself in the question of visual guidance in flying animals. In particular, I have the fortune to work with some pigeons from our animal facility at Harvard. 

Pigeons are very robust birds which have adapted to the cluttered urban environment. They are also very capable of carrying weight. Many pigeons perform vertical take-off routinely. In my current project, I challenge the birds with different obstacle arrays (as resembled by the artificial pole forest). By tracking the 3D flight trajectories pigeons take, we hope to extract some control principles in close-range navigation and obstacle avoidance. Various sensors have been mounted on the bird to collect critical information about flight maneuvers. Among the telemetry components, a CMOS camera captures the pigeons' frontal view. We are indeed, trying to get a bird's eye view of this navigation problem.