Animals and the Robots of the Future: A Conversation with David Hu

Event has passed (Wed Oct 17, 2018 - Wed Oct 17, 2018)
California Institute of Integral Studies - CIIS
07:00 PM
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This event is part of the Technology & Consciousness Series: Fall/Winter 2018-2019
Many animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility—how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? The latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency.
Scientists and robotics experts are investigating a multitude of animal movements—from the undulations of sandfish and the way that dogs shake off water in fractions of a second to the seemingly crash-resistant characteristics of insects in flight. As researchers better understand such issues as energy, flexibility, and water repellency in animal movement, they are applying this knowledge to the development of new technologies. Scientists are also learning from nature’s unexpected feats—snakes that fly, mosquitoes that survive rainstorms, and dead fish that swim upstream. These seemingly obscure corners of the living world have the potential to offer enormous benefits to humanity.
Join David Hu for an exploration into the remarkable mechanics behind animal locomotion and discover how scientists use this knowledge to develop cutting-edge technology.

David Hu is a mechanical engineer and the author of How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future of who studies how animals interact with air and water. His team has discovered how dogs shake dry, how insects walk on water, and how eyelashes protect the eyes from drying. Originally from Rockville, Maryland, he earned degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering from MIT and is now associate professor of mechanical engineering and biology, and adjunct professor of physics, at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. California Institute of Integral Studies - CIIS 1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA