About Me

I am fascinated by collective behaviors that emerge from the cooperation of vast numbers of individuals, as seen in living organisms as diverse as social insects and fish schools. My PhD at Harvard University pursues the design of a swarm of bio-inspired underwater robots, capable of demonstrating collective behaviors in three-dimensional space. Specializing in computer science, I study collective intelligence and the coordination of multi-agent systems.

Before coming to Harvard University, I completed a master's and bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich, where I focused on robotics. Mechanical engineering in tandem with computer science makes me a full-stack roboticist, mastering mechanical, electronic, algorithm, and control design. In addition to my research on collective intelligence, I have worked on inspection robotics, medical devices, and smart material systems.

When not at work, I have a passion for the mountains and all sorts of ways to experience gravity, such as skiing, biking, and hiking. I enjoy conversations about the past and future, and I relax over classical music and impressionist art.

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Education

Jul 2017 - present
Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. Advisors: Prof. Radhika Nagpal, Prof. George Lauder, Prof. Robert Wood.
Thesis: 3D Vision-Based Collective Behaviors in a Fish-Inspired Robot Swarm.

Jul 2017 - present
Master of Science in Computer Science
Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. Advisor: Prof. Radhika Nagpal.
Focus: Collective Artificial Intelligence, Multi-Agent Distributed Robotic Systems.

Sep 2014 - May 2016
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Advisors: Prof. Bradley Nelson, Prof. Radhika Nagpal.
Thesis: A Low-Cost, Highly Maneuverable, Miniature Underwater Robot intended for Collective Behaviors.

Sep 2010 - Aug 2013
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Advisors: Prof. Roland Siegwart, Prof. Mirko Meboldt.
Thesis: Obstacle Climbing Control for an Inspection Robot with Magnetic Wheels.


Work Experience

Aug 2016 - Jun 2017
Research Fellow
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Cambridge, USA.
Led the conception of novel multi-agent robotics platform for the investigation of collective behaviors in 3D space.

Sep 2013 - Feb 2014
Intern
Bühler Group, Bangalore, India.
Managed a $30k budget to conduct industrial research including the conception, design, and validation of food processing machines that are sold for profit • Designed the framework and motor suspension for a novel and now commercially available single screw extruder. • Visited customers in Northern India to test prototypes for controlled and cost-effective oil spraying of pulses on site.


Teaching & Mentoring

Mar 2020 - Aug 2020
Graduate Student Mentor and Thesis Supervisor
Paula Wulkop. Visiting master's student from ETH Zurich.
6-month-long master's thesis on "Evasive maneuvers in a bioinspired underwater robot collective".

Jan 2020 - May 2020
Undergraduate Student Co-Supervisor
Lucas Guzman. Harvard University, COMPSCI 91r: Supervised Reading and Research.
Semester-long research project on “Collective Mapping and Visual Odometry with Miniature Underwater Robots”.

Sep 2019 - Dec 2019
Guest Lecturer and Project Advisor
Harvard University, COMPSCI 289: Biologically-Inspired Multi-Agent Systems.
Lectured in class and advised two final projects.

Jun 2018 - present
Research Student Co-Advisor
Felix Gonda, Katherine Binney, Zachary Zieper, Katerina Soltan, Maggie Wang, Sophia Nielsen.
Graduate, undergraduate, and summer students at Harvard University.

Feb 2018 - May 2018
Teaching Fellow
Harvard University, COMPSCI 189: Autonomous Robot Systems.
Held sections and office hours, advised and graded students, won teaching award.

Feb 2013 - May 2013
Teaching Fellow
ETH Zurich, ENSCI: Innovation Process.
Coached three undergraduate engineering teams during their “Innovation Process” course. • Supported the students in conceptualizing and realizing a mechatronic system with several sensors and actuators to master a prespecified project challenge.


Fellowships & Awards

2019
Financial Support
David B. Heller Innovation Fund at Harvard University

2018
Certificate of Distinction in Teaching
Harvard University Bok Center

2018
Best Paper Finalist
Finalist in two categories (best conference paper and best student paper) at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation

2017 - present
PhD Scholarship
Harvard University

2017
Fellowship
Janggen-Pöhn Foundation

2016
Fellowship
Werner Siemens Foundation

2015
Scholarship
Swiss Study Foundation

2013
Best Innovator Award
Bühler Group

2011 - present
Long-Term Fellowship
Swiss Study Foundation

2010
Graduation Award for First in Class
Wil High School

2010
Sustainability Award for Best Matura Paper in the Field of Sustainability
Employer's Association Wil


Leadership & Activities

2017 - 2018
reatch
Member of the reatch-team for artificial intelligence, wrote an article on AI and robotics.

2016 - present
ETH Alumni New England Chapter
Board member, organized talks with ETH professors.

2010 - 2016
Wiler Forum for Sustainability Issues (WIFONA)
Board member and vice president, organized forums with Swiss Federal Councilors for several hundred participants.