At the University of Utah Robotics Center, our faculty are spearheading groundbreaking research in Milli-, Micro-, and Nano-robotics, pushing the boundaries of robotic technology across different scales. In Milli-robotics, some of their work focuses on developing advanced control algorithms and sensing techniques for large-scale robotic systems. These systems are designed for precise manipulation tasks in challenging environments such as construction sites or disaster zones. In Micro-robotics, researchers explore the design and fabrication of miniature robots capable of navigating complex environments with high precision. Their research addresses challenges in propulsion, control, and integration of sensors for biomedical applications and micro-scale manufacturing. In Nano-robotics, they delve into manipulating matter at the nanoscale using innovative techniques such as nanomanipulation and nanofabrication. This research opens doors to applications in nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, and nanomaterials engineering. Our interdisciplinary approach combines expertise in robotics, control systems, materials science, and biomedical engineering, driving transformative advancements with far-reaching implications in healthcare, manufacturing, and beyond.


Kam Lang, PhD

Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Lab Website: Design, Automation, Robotics, & Control (DARC)

The DARC Lab at the University of Utah was established in July 2014 by Dr. Kam K. Leang, when he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Center.  The acronym DARC stands for design, automation, robotics, and control — the lab’s core research areas.  The lab spans 1200 sq. ft. of space in the newly renovated Rio Tinto Kennecott Building (MEK room 1156) on the main campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.   The lab houses state-of the-art equipment for conducting research. For example, some of the work focuses on design, modeling, and control of electroactive materials including piezoelectric ceramics, electroactive polymers, shape memory alloys, and a host of other materials that respond to electrical signals.  More recently, projects in unmanned autonomous systems such as aerial robots are being conducted.  For more detailed information on research projects and funded projects, please see the funded research projects page.

Drew Research Lab

Daniel Drew, PhD

Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Lab Website: The Drew Research Lab for Autonomous Robotic Millisystems

The driving goal behind our work is to make insect-scale robots truly useful as tools in industrial, commercial, and personal settings. This means not only overcoming the extreme resource constraints imposed by their scale, but also delivering capabilities that are wholly unique. Our work ties numerical simulation together with cutting-edge microfabrication and meso-scale assembly techniques, exploring novel actuation, communication, and sensing modalities for holistically-designed systems. Sometimes we look to nature for inspiration, like in the design of multifunctional components for acoustic communication; often we look beyond it, like in the creation of silent, solid-state atmospheric ion thrusters for flight. In all cases, energy and payload constraints demand systems designed from the ground up, tightly integrated, and at the bleeding edge of possibility.