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Goran Lynch

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Goran A. Lynch

email: my_first_name@seas.upenn.edu

Hiking in the North Cascades, August 2008.

Research Interests

I’m a Ph.D. candidate working with Professor Dan Koditschek in Kodlab here at the University of Pennsylvania. I am, generally speaking, interested in bio inspired legged locomotion as well as problems of nonlinear control when dealing with legs, and the implementation of such controllers in real, interesting machines. My motivation? There are few, if any, robots in the world today that could follow a human being around for a full day without being stymied by some physical obstacle. Even the tamest of grad student commutes involve walking across dirt paths, as well as going up and down hills, stairs, and curbs. In the course of a regular day, we walk on all sorts of different surfaces, from thick carpet to linoleum, and don’t even consider the transitions. Constructing a robot with wheels to navigate the relatively sedate terrain that human beings frequent is a definite challenge - if we want to construct a machine which is able to navigate, perform tasks, and interact with people in a more complex environment (on construction sites or hiking trails, for instance), wheels are not up to the challenge.

Current Project

In my research, I am investigating both theoretical and applied challenges in dynamic vertical locomotion. Plain english: What does it mean for animals and machines to run up walls and trees? How can we build and control machines to accomplish that task? A robot at Penn, DynoClimber, is the first dynamic legged climbing machine; it was built by Professor Jonathan Clark during his time as a post-doctoral fellow here at Penn and inspired by work done by biologists studying how animals climb here. I am currently working on the problems associated with generating gaits (patterns of leg movements that make a robot with legs move) in the world of dynamical climbing.

Additional Musings

Finally, whenever I describe my work to someone, they ask something like “What are the robots supposed to do beyond climb/run?” That, of course, is an excellent question! Right now, as I work on my Ph.D., I spend my time working on academic problems, with legged locomotion as the direction of scientific inquiry. Our work here is research and science-oriented; that’s why it’s taking place here at a university instead of in a corporate lab. That’s not to say that there aren’t real-world applications for our robots, but these applications are a step away from the fundamental problems in locomotion. Right now I’m working on what I believe to be the fundamental issues, and perhaps one day I’ll be working on the applications.


Goran A. Lynch, Jonathan E. Clark, and Daniel E. Koditschek. “Stable dynamic vertical climbing - Analysis of a reduced order template.” In preparation for archival submission.

Goran A. Lynch, Jonathan E. Clark, Pei-Chun Lin, and Daniel E. Koditschek. “A Bio-inspired Dynamical Vertical Climbing Robot.” In preparation for archival submission.

Goran A. Lynch, Lawrence Rome, and Daniel E. Koditschek. “Sprawl angle in simplified models of vertical climbing: implications for robots and roaches,” to appear in the International Journal of Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, 2011

Avik De, Goran Lynch, Aaron Johnson, and Daniel Koditschek. “Motor Sizing for Legged Robots Using Dynamic Task Specification” Presented at TePRA 2011.

Kevin C. Galloway, G. C. Haynes, B. Deniz Ilhan, Aaron Johnson, Ryan Knopf, Goran Lynch, Ben Plotnick, Mackenzie White, and D. E. Koditschek. “X-RHex: A Highly Mobile Hexapedal Robot for Sensorimotor Tasks,” Technical Report, University of Pennsylvania, November 2010

Goran A. Lynch, Lawrence Rome, and Daniel E. Koditschek. “Sprawl angle in simplified models of vertical climbing: implications for robots and roaches,” in Proceedings of International Conference on Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, Venice, 2010

Goran A. Lynch, Jonathan E. Clark, and Daniel E. Koditschek. “A Self-Exciting Controller for High-Speed Vertical Running,” in Proceedings of IEEE IROS, St. Louis, 2009.

G. Clark Haynes, Alex Khripin, Goran Lynch, Alfred A. Rizzi Aaron Saunders, and Daniel E. Koditschek. “Rapid Pole Climbing with a Quadrupedal Robot,” in Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2009.

J. Clark, D. Goldman, P. Lin, G. Lynch, T. Chen, H. Komsuoglu, R. Full, and D. Koditschek. “Design of a Bio-inspired Dynamical Vertical Climbing Robot,” in Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems, Atlanta, GA, USA, June 2007.

Non-robotic Interests

I’m an avid skier and rock climber, as well as both road and mountain biker. I ski raced in and before college (Yale Ski Team), and competed in various ways at various times on bikes, too.

I was also involved in the political scene at Yale, and somehow managed to convince the Independent Party to elect me Chairman, and the Yale Political Union to elect me Speaker. I had an unbelievably stellar time both participating in and managing those organizations, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those experiences! If you’ve found me here through my affiliation with either of those groups, please drop me a line.

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