Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab


Tony G. Chen

Email: agchen(at)
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I recently have defended my Ph.D. and will start as a post-doc in September. My Ph.D. dissertation is titled "Exploiting Contact Dynamics to Grasp and Anchor in the Field", where I focus on enabling robotics systems to dynamically interact with their intended real-world environments, equipping them with the unprecedented capability of manipulation. I have been working on the following projects/areas.

  • Aerial Grasping and Manipulation

Designed, prototyped, and experimented with a passively triggered, lightweight, and fast-acting gripper to be used by drones for aerial grasping, enabling capture and control of another uncooperative drone in mid-flight.

  • ReachBot - Small Climbing Robot with Large Reach NASA

Developed a new concept for climbing robots that utilizes extendable arms to greatly increase the potential workspace. This concept is being actively developed and funded by NASA to explore Martian caves and lava tubes.

  • Gecko-inspired Adhesive Gripper for Space Applications

Built flight-qualified grippers for Astrobee, developed by NASA Ames, using gecko-inspired adhesives, allowing the Astrobees to perch on flat surfaces inside of the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Tadbot - Biomimetic Tadpole Robot

Designed a biomimetic tadpole robot that imitates the frequency and motion of an American poison frog tadpole to study the modes of communication between the tadpoles and adult frogs.


2022 IEEE IROS Best Paper Award on Robot Mechanisms and Design

2022 IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine Best Paper Award

2023 Living Machines #2 Best Poster Award


Chen, T. G., Newdick, S., Di, J., Bosio, C., Ongole, N., Laporte, M., Pavone, M., Cutkosky, M.R. ReachBot: Locomotion as Manipulation for Planetary Cave Exploration. In review for Science Robotics

Chen, T. G. ', Goolsby, B.C., Bernal, G., O'Connell, L.A. and Cutkosky, M.R., 2023. Feed Me: Robotic Infiltration of Poison Frog Families. arXiv preprint arXiv:2305.14570.

Chen, T. G., Hoffmann, K. A., Low, J. E., Nagami, K., Lentink, D., & Cutkosky, M. R. (2022). Aerial Grasping and the Velocity Sufficiency Region. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 7(4), 10009-10016. [[]. Best Paper Award on Robot Mechanisms and Design.

Chen, T. G., Cauligi, A., Suresh, S. A., Pavone, M., & Cutkosky, M. R. (2022). Testing Gecko-Inspired Adhesives with Astrobee Aboard the International Space Station: Readying the Technology for Space. IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, 29(3), 24-33.

Chen, T. G., Miller, B., Winston, C., Schneider, S., Bylard, A., Pavone, M., & Cutkosky, M. R. (2022, May). Reachbot: A small robot with exceptional reach for rough terrain. In 2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) (pp. 4517-4523). IEEE.

Newdick, S., Chen, T. G., Hockman, B., Schmerling, E., Cutkosky, M. R., & Pavone, M. (2022). Designing ReachBot: System Design Process with a Case Study of a Martian Lava Tube Mission. arXiv preprint arXiv:2210.11534.

Newdick, S., Ongole, N., Chen, T. G., Schmerling, E., Cutkosky, M. R., & Pavone, M. (2022). Motion Planning for a Climbing Robot with Stochastic Grasps. arXiv preprint arXiv:2209.10687.

Newdick, Stephanie, Tony G. Chen, Benjamin Hockman, Edward Schmerling, Mark R. Cutkosky, and Marco Pavone. "Designing ReachBot: System Design Process with a Case Study of a Martian Lava Tube Mission." arXiv preprint arXiv:2210.11534 (2022).

Hirano, D., Tanishima, N., Bylard, A., & Chen, T. G. (2020, May). Underactuated gecko adhesive gripper for simple and versatile grasp. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) (pp. 8964-8969). IEEE.

Schneider, S., Bylard, A., Chen, T. G., Wang, P., Cutkosky, M., Lapôtre, M., & Pavone, M. (2022, March). ReachBot: A small robot for large mobile manipulation tasks. In 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference (AERO) (pp. 1-12). IEEE.

Cauligi, A., Chen, T. G., Suresh, S. A., Dille, M., Ruiz, R. G., Vargas, A. M., ... & Cutkosky, M. (2020). Design and development of a gecko-adhesive gripper for the Astrobee free-flying robot.

Huh, T. M., Liu, C., Hashizume, J., Chen, T. G., Suresh, S. A., Chang, F. K., & Cutkosky, M. R. (2018). Active sensing for measuring contact of thin film gecko-inspired adhesives. Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, 3(4), 3263-3270.


Tony G. Chen, Ph.D. Candidate
Mechanical Engineering
Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab
Tony's LinkedIn profile

Page last modified on August 02, 2023, at 10:57 AM