Bo Cheng
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, PSU

Wednesday, November 29, 2016 3:35pm - 4:25pm
103 Leonhard Building

As the first animals on earth to evolve aerial locomotion, insects took off into the sky 350 million years ago and have been experimenting successfully with aerodynamics, sensory systems and flight control though evolution. They have developed sophisticated design of flight sensing, control and actuation system that allow them to master the complex physics in their living environments and achieve supreme stability and maneuverability. These relatively simple, but also sophisticatedly designed flying machines offer us a treasure trove of scientific problems and inspirations for engineering designs. Decoding the secret of insect flight demands multi-disciplinary approaches that interconnect engineering, mathematics and biology. Our research starts from assessing the flight performance of insects and hummingbirds using a variety of experiments and then through using biomimetic robotic devices, dynamic modeling, control theories and fluid experiments, we work towards understanding the flight dynamics, sensorimotor control and aerodynamics of insect flight. Eventually, the knowledge of insect flight will serve as the basis to develop millimeter-scale micro air vehicles (MAVs) in the future.

Dr. Cheng is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. Prior to this, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2012. He also received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Delaware and B.S. from Control Science & Engineering at Zhejiang University, China. His research interests include biomechanics and sensorimotor control of animal flight, aerodynamics at low Reynolds number and biologically inspired robotics. Working in a highly interdisciplinary field, Dr. Cheng's work has been published in journals from many disciplines, such as Science, IEEE Trans on Robotics, Journal of Experimental Biology, Experiments in Fluids and Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Dr. Cheng received National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Development (CAREER) Award in 2016.