Dr Krishna Manaswi Digumarti

Chief Investigator


I graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with honours from the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad in 2012. I then obtained a masters in robotics, systems and controls in 2014 from ETH Zurich. My thesis on optimizing the design of legged robots (link) was jointly with the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETHZ and Disney Research Zurich. I pursued my doctoral studies at the University of Bristol’s Soft Robotics group (link), a part of the Bristol Robotics Lab, the largest multi-disciplinary robotics research centre in the UK. I developed novel mechanisms for shape changing robots inspired from the euglenoid family of microorganisms (link). After receiving my PhD in robotics and autonomous systems in 2019, I worked at EPFL as a scientist for two years jointly with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems and the Smart Transducers Lab. My work was on the European Union’s MERGING project (link) aimed at automating textile handling, food packaging and technical fibre layup. It involved moving technology from a laboratory concept (TRL3) to a demonstrable product (TRL6) and resulted in the filing of a patent. 


Nature of work 

My research is in the multi-disciplinary domain of soft robotics.  I am interested in technologies related to shape morphing, variable stiffness, computational design and materials characterisation with applications in healthcare, medicine, locomotion, automated grasping, haptics and sensing. My work resulted in the successful development of multiple devices, actuators, sensors, new materials, fabrication techniques, characterization methods and test benches. On a fundamental level, my work will push the boundaries of sensing and actuation for robots that are dynamically interacting with the outside world as well as changing their own physical configuration. A presentation of my work can be found here (link).


In the news

I presented my work at the top conferences and best journals of robotics (linkscholar) and invented a new technology for grasping. My research featured on the BBC’s science show, Click (episode: 50 Shapes of Goo), with a worldwide audience of 380 million households. It also appeared on Channel 4, and in the French media. I was invited to showcase my shape changing robots to biologists of the Euglenoid International Network in 2020. 

Projects (Chief investigator)