Thursday, October 15, 2009
Virginia Tech 'Star Wars' Fan Among Science's Young Elite
“From solar cells to cancer cells, tracking viruses, and preventing disasters, the Brilliant 10 are dreaming up solutions for some of the planet’s most vexing challenges,” read a new release issued by Popular Science.
The award is the latest in a stellar year for Hong. During the past several months, he was promoted to associate professor of mechanical engineering, awarded the SAE International’s Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, and named as a 2009 Forward Under 40 honoree by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Alumni Association. Additionally, Hong’s work to help build a car that the blind and low-vision population can drive garnered national media coverage from The Washington Post and CBS, among dozens of other news outlets.
The Popular Science article details Hong’s work in robotics engineering. Director of the award-winning Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa), Hong’s research focuses on robot locomotion and manipulation, autonomous vehicles and humanoid robots.
“From the time he laid eyes on R2-D2 and C-3PO as a six-year old watching ‘Star Wars,’ Hong says he knew he wanted to build robots. Today, he is the creator of real-life robotic wonders including a hand that’s dexterous enough to handle an egg, a pole-climbing snake ‘bot for construction inspections and a three-legged robot whose design mimics the momentum of the human gait,” the article reads.
Hong’s fellow 2009 Brilliant 10 nominees hail from such research institutions as Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Yale University. Founded in 1872, Popular Science is the world's largest science and technology magazine, with a circulation of 1.3 million and 7.1 million readers.