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Mechanical Engineering Research

Xiangru Xu ME lab drone

Robotics, Controls and Sensing

Researchers in Robotics, Control and Sensing study how systems evolve over time and apply physical and mathematical principles to measure and change these phenomena for new problem-solving technology. Robotics research in the UW Mechanical Engineering department includes applications in haptics for human interaction, prostheses and orthoses, surgery, soft robotics, manufacturing, rehabilitation, mobility and maneuverability. Control research includes applications in manufacturing, haptics, novel actuators, safety in autonomous systems, fluidic soft actuation, and cyber-physical systems. Sensing research includes flexible and soft sensors and electronics, wearables, precision instrumentation for micro/nano transport measurements, and simulation for data-driven perception.


Faculty Affiliates

Laboratories and Centers

Peter Adamczyk

Peter Adamczyk


The Biomechatronics, Assistive Devices, Gait Engineering and Rehabilitation Lab applies scientific and engineering principles to promote quantitative assessment, restored function, and physical recovery after orthopedic or neurological injury. The lab’s goal is to apply mechanical engineering principles to rehabilitation in order to improve lower limb mobility impairments.

Joseph Andrews

Joseph Andrews

Andrews Laboratory for Printed Electronics and Sensors

The focus of LPES is developing new printed electronic devices for interdisciplinary sensing applications. Our lab takes a holistic approach to the invention and design of electronic sensors with multiple layers of emphasis including ink development, sensor design, and device validation.

Dan Negrut youtube screenshot

Dan Negrut

Simulation Based Engineering Lab

The Simulation-Based Engineering Lab (SBEL) is led by Dan Negrut and Radu Serban. The lab investigates modeling approaches and develops software solutions that enable fast computers to accurately predict how complex mechanical systems change in time.

Dakotah Thompson

Thermal Transport Lab

The Thermal Transport Lab led by Dakotah Thompson studies thermal nanoscience, nanofabrication, and energy conversion. Control of thermal transport at the nanoscale is of great interest for creating novel thermal logic and energy conversion devices.

Michael Wehner

Michael Wehner

Madison Machine Interaction Lab

Michael Wehner leads the Machine Interaction Lab, which leverages expertise in machine design, soft systems, and human factors to develop novel solutions in the fields of robotics, soft robotics, and embodied intelligence.

Xiaobin Xiong

Xiaobin Xiong

Wisconsin Expeditious Legged Locomotion

The Wisconsin Expeditious Legged Locomotion Laboratory (UW WELL Lab) studies the fundamental theory and methodologies in promoting mobility of legged robots that are robots moving in our environment using robotic legs: common examples include bipedal humanoid robots and quadrupedal animal-like robots.

Xiangru Xu youtube screenshot

Xiangru Xu

Autonomous & Resilient Controls Lab

The ARC lab focuses on the control of autonomous systems and cyber-physical systems by leveraging tools from control theory, convex optimization, machine learning, etc. Their research strives to build rigorous analytical frameworks and reliable control algorithms to enhance the safety and efficiency of autonomous and cyber-physical systems (e.g., drones, self-driving cars).

Mike Zinn REACH Lab

Michael Zinn

Robotics Engineering, Applied Control, and Haptics Lab

The REACH Lab is focused on the investigation of a wide range of human-centered robotics topics including medical robotics, manufacturing, and haptics. Our projects are collaborative in nature and involve researchers from a broad set of disciplines, including the departments of computer science, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering and various departments in the UW-Madison medical school.