Director of Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory
HE’S BUILDING A BETTER SOCIETY WITH ROBOTS.
What if there was a robot designed to save lives in disasters, going where humans can’t? Or a robot that could put out fires on ships? A robot that plays soccer? Stamps its feet when it’s angry or dances when it’s happy? These are all real projects designed in UCLA’s Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory by Professor Dennis Hong and his intrepid team of undergraduate and graduate students. Hong’s against-the-grain approach has made him one of the most sought-after scientists in the field: he blends art with science, mixing playful humanoid characteristics with startling methods of locomotion inspired by the amoeba. And his infectious passion has earned the man who decided to make building robots his life’s work after watching Star Wars the sobriquet “the Leonardo Da Vinci of robotics.”