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Stuff that people can learn.

I'm interested in doing basic research which may be more readily disseminated to non-experts. To do this, I think it's important to augment user intuition by providing basic insight into why a problem is solved in the manner it is. Time will tell if we're accomplishing this.

 

Compliant Mechanisms

My primary research interest is in developing design methodology for the synthesis of compliant mechanisms - i.e. mechanical devices which transmit/transform motion by the flexibilty of their constituent members. Put more simply, I look for systematic means to determine the best compliant mechanism for particular problem specifications. As you can read under the "Compliant Mechanisms" tab, there are a number of different approaches to the synthesis of compliant mechanisms - all with their advantages and drawbacks. What I try to do in my research is to formulate theories which augment designer intution.

Because much of what I do may be termed "basic research", it's easy to divorce the theory from practical engineering applications. I continue to pursue various types of practical applications of the research, and am open to any suggestions you may have.

 

Appropriate technology

This is a new venture for me with which I have little experience. I am among what I believe to be a majority of academics who want to make a tangible difference in the world through our areas of expertise. I am still learning a lot about what makes technology appropriate. My first attempt at doing any kind of design for the third world was in advising a senior design project to bring water up to a coffee cooperative in Nicaragua. I don't have too much else to write about appropriate technology and defer to those who have much more experience in designing for the developing world.