Robert Griffin is a Research Scientist at IHMC, and focuses on improved mobility and autonomy for legged robotics and powered exoskeletons.
Robert received his B.S. from Tennessee Tech, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in 2017 with a primary research focus on the control of bipedal robotic mobility for humanoids and exoskeletons. In 2016, he joined IHMC’s team for the 2016 Cybathlon, and returned full time to IHMC in 2017.
While with IHMC, Robert has both been a Principal Investigator and key researcher with several projects. He currently leads the Office of Naval Research’s Fast Behaviors project, where the goal is develop autonomous and semi-autonomous behaviors for humanoid robots functioning in urban environments. He also leads the IHMC team in the Army Research Lab’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance, whose role is to develop robust autonomous locomotion for quadrupedal robots in complex environments. He is also a key researcher in the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Val-EOD project, where the goal is to develop humanoid robots, primarly NASA JSC’s Valkyrie, to function as Explosive Ordinance Disposal operators. Robert was a key software and controls developer developer in the 2016 Cybathlon, where they placed second in Powered Exoskeleton race. This project focused on using lower extremity exoskeleton devices to enable people with paralysis to complete a timed obstacle course.
Prior to joining IHMC, Robert was at the Virginia Tech Terrestrial Robotics, Engineering, & Controls lab (TREC) as a controls engineer for their humanoid robot projects. While there, he functioned as the controls lead for the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot program through the Office of Naval Research, where his team successfully demonstrated in 2014 the first fire suppression on a Navy ship using a humanoid robot. He was also the controls lead for Virginia Tech’s entry into the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge, where they fielded their custom humanoid robot, ESCHER. He also worked with TREC to develop a lower body exoskeleton for balance assistance in paralyzed individuals under the National Robotics Initiative (NRI).
Outside of work, Robert’s hobbies include running, hiking, camping, soccer, reading, and roasting coffee beans.