Zhijian Ren

Zhijian Ren is a PhD candidate studying microrobotics. His work centers on the creation of insect- scale flapping wing micro-aerial-vehicles (FWMAVs) with the agility and robustness of flying insects. Possible applications for FWMAVs include assisted agriculture (pollination) and search and rescue operations. As a MathWorks Fellow, Zhijian will advance an ongoing collaborative project with MathWorks to address unique challenges in microrobotics and FWMAVs in particular. Utilizing MATLAB and Simulink, he has created a state-of-the-art experimental setup that has become a foundational tool in his own work and for colleagues in his lab. He has designed custom MATLAB codes to analyze robot flapping kinematics, extract wing stroke and pitch motion, analyze robot takeoff, and calculate net lift force. Currently, Zhijian coleads a project to design and improve high-bandwidth soft actuators, and is coleading the construction of a flight arena for FWMAVs. The flight arena utilizes Simulink Real-Time, and in the future, Zhijian hopes to employ the Speedgoat Performance real-time target machine to fly multiple FWMAVs and mimic insect swarm behaviors. Zhijian’s work has already yielded new hardware and software applications, and his research has the potential to greatly advance the field of microrobotics.



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