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Dennis Hong is an Associate Professor and the Director of RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech.
His research expertise lies in the area of novel robot locomotion mechanisms, design and analysis of mechanical systems, kinematics and robot mechanism design, humanoid robots, and autonomous systems. He was the inventor of the three-legged walking robot ‘STriDER’ and the ‘whole skin locomotion’ inspired by amoeboid motility mechanisms, and pioneered in generating and utilizing everting motion and nutating motion for locomotion in soft body robots. His work on this area was awarded with the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation in 2007, Best Paper Award at the 13th International Conference on Advanced Robotics in 2007, and both the Biomimicry Award and the ASME Freudenstein / GM Young Investigator Award at the 29th ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference in 2005. He also won the Faculty Fellow Award in 2008, Outstanding Assistant Professor award in 2007 at the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, and was selected as a NASA Summer Faculty Fellow at JPL in 2005.
Dr. Hong is also very passionate about advising student design competition and robot competition teams. TEAM DARwIn for RoboCup 2007 (an international autonomous robot soccer competition) where he served as the advisor, was the first and only team from the United States ever to qualify for the RoboCup humanoid division, and TEAM Victor Tango for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge (an autonomous vehicle race in the urban environment) where he served as the co-team leader, won third place with a cash award of $500,000. In 2008, TEAM CIRCA won first place in the CAGI Innovation Awards design competition with a cash prize of $10,500, and his senior design teams have been winning top prizes year after year at various design competitions.
Dr. Hong received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1994), his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University (1999, 2002). Dr. Hong also has a number of patents for novel robot locomotion mechanisms and devices for medical applications.
He is also a serious gourmet chef and a magician performing annual charity magic shows and lectures on the science of magic.
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