Research Interests of Joseph Yan

I am currently completing my doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Professor Ron Fearing in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) Department of the University of California at Berkeley.  I work on the thorax design and wing control for the  micromechanical flying insect (MFI) project.  The goal here is to use biomimetic principles to develop a micro aerial vehicle (MAV), barely larger than a typical housefly, which can achieve flight through the use of flapping wings. Rapid prototyping techniques have allowed the MFI evolution to proceed very quickly.

I enjoy working in the field of micromechatronics and I believe that it holds much promise for the fields of medicine (prosthetics and rehabilitation, artificial organ implants, surgical devices, etc.), hazardous environment exploration (search and rescue in disaster scenarios, exploration of active volcanos, investigation of environments with  biological, chemical, or radioactive threats), and entertainment (e.g., personal toy robots).  In addition to the applications, there are interesting research problems for microfabrication and microassembly.

I am particularly interested in biorobotics and biomimetics; understanding how biological systems are adapted to their tasks and/or to their environments can often aid in the design of machines for similar tasks or environments.  For example, the study of biological insect flight has been vital to the progress of the MFI.

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