Video Highlights

Lab Info

Our lab is part of the Computer Science Department, within the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard. We are a core lab member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, and Prof. Nagpal co-leads the Bio-inspired Robotics Platform. We do research that spans computer science, robotics, and biology in many different ways. Our lab is committed to having a diverse, creative, interdisciplinary, team-oriented, and fun environment.

How to get to our Lab:
Address: 33 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Our main group space and lab is in the Maxwell Dworkin Building on the 2nd floor (MD 238 and MD236). (google map) 

Outreach and Lab Tours: We enjoy doing lab tours for groups aiming at broadening participation in robotics and STEM with underrepresented groups. Just contact Radhika. SEAS also offers great lab tours and activities covering all engineering (email 

Joining our lab: [We have closed our postdoctoral positions for Spring 2018] At the moment we are not taking new postdocs or graduate students. However many of our alumni are faculty and have related (and cool!) research programs. If you are interested in research positions, do check out their labs as well (e.g. Profs. Kirstin Petersen (Cornell), Mike Rubenstein (Northwestern), Nils Napp (SUNY)). 



Biological systems, from cells to social insects, get tremendous mileage from the cooperation of vast numbers of cheap, unreliable, and limited individuals. What would it take to create our own artificial collectives of the scale and complexity that nature achieves?

Our group is interested in self-organizing multi-agent systems, where large numbers of simple agents cooperate to produce complex and robust global behavior. We develop bio-inspired robots and algorithms for collective intelligence, drawing inspiration from social insects and multicellular organization. We also model self-organization in biology, specifically how cells and insects cooperate to achieve complex tasks. Our work combines computer science, robotics, and biology.

A common theme in all of our work is understanding the relationship between local and global behavior: how does robust collective behavior arise from many locally interacting agents, and how can we program the local interactions of simple agents to achieve the global behaviors we want.

Summer 2017 SSR GroupThe Crew, August 2017

Fall SSR Retreat 2018Fall SSR Retreat, 2017

Research and Lab Highlights

May 2018: Congrats to Florian Berlinger whose ICRA 2018 paper on a DEA-based underwater robot was a finalist for Best Conference Paper and Best Student Paper Awards! Congrats also to Julia Ebert for her AAMAS 2018 paper on collective perception and decision-making.

April 2018: Our Robots are Everywhere! Root at TED and Kilobots-on-aBus!

Root robot at TED conference (April 2018)Kilobots image on the UCSF Bus

April 2018: Radhika gave a Distinguished Lecture on Science Culture at Cornell: "The Pursuit of Collective Intelligence (in Science: 3 New Myths)" 

Spring 2018 News: Lots of new research published this year: collective perception and decision-making in robot swarms (AAMAS), a dielectric-elastomer-fin underwater robot (ICRA, nominated for an award), and theoretical model for task allocation in ant colonies (PLOS CompBio). Lots of new outreach too: Julia demoed her new "larvabots" at Cambridge Science Festival and was interviewed by the BrainsOn podcast; Florian and Ben helped advocate for a grad union; Melvin and Melinda hosted an all-girls robotics team at the lab. Two field studies ongoing (Nambia and Montana) too. Its a busy year!

Highlights 2017: RootRobotics Startup has launched! Congrats to Zee (CEO), Raphael (CTO), Radhika (SA), the extended Root team, and the Wyss Institute that made it possible (WebsitePress Release, and Video). Radhika gave a TED Talk! at the Annual TED Conference in Vancouver in April: you can watch the video here. Congrats to Jeff Dusek, who started as an Assistant Professor at Olin College!