Mark Plecnik is an Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Plecnik researches the role of computation to design novel machine geometries for usage as robots and other mechanical devices. The dynamics of machines “live” within the confines of kinematic configuration spaces, defined by early stage design choices on machine dimensions. The primary focus of our lab is not to dominate these dynamics via motor control, but rather to alter them by reshaping the kinematic landscape through smart choices made on machine dimensions. The aim is to invent mechanical systems that are more controllable or efficient or faster or stiffer or whatever… with specific design goals set by applications. No matter the objective, our lab believes that computation is key to advancing the practice of mechanical design beyond the limits of human ingenuity. We invest in the creation of software tools that extend an engineer’s reach within the design space to yield superior machines unobtainable through human intuition alone.

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