WRITTEN BY: Matt Busekroos

Before studying at MIT, Yu She read extensive robotic-related articles and news noticing many high-quality results coming from the institute. Yu wished one day he would have the opportunity to join the community and do interesting and impactful work.

Today, Yu is a postdoc at CSAIL working with Professors Ted Adelson and Alberto Rodriguez. He previously obtained his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering at Ohio State University in 2018. Meanwhile, he obtained a dual master's degree in Electric and Computer Engineering at Ohio State University.

Yu’s research focuses on inherently safe and highly performant robotic systems. He studies theoretical modeling, algorithm implementation, and prototype manufacturing for soft robots, human-safe collaborative robots, and tactile-reactive robotic hands. His research aims to develop safe and performant robots that can share workspaces and work side by side with humans to help complete challenging tasks.

“For instance, my research at CSAIL includes the first implementation of robot cable manipulation in free space in real-time,” he said. “I expect the result from this project can save humans from repetitive, dull, and boring tasks and free humans up to do more creative and rewarding tasks.”

Yu said he expects his research will enhance the work efficiency for both domestic and industrial scenarios while ensuring human safety leading to extensive applications in industrial manufacturing, health/elderly care, home and hospital nursing, construction missions, and more.

As a child, Yu said he was addicted to playing automated electromechanical systems and it’s a keen interest that drives his research. However, the reasons why he enjoys his research has changed throughout time. He now particularly appreciates the potential impact on the community and benefits to people.

Yu said it has been a great honor working with Adelson and Rodriguez.

“I especially appreciate the spirit of pursuing perfect from Ted,” he said. “Ted keeps encouraging me to set up a ‘perfect’ goal. Even if I didn't produce a perfect result eventually, I may still have some good results. For instance, if I have two potential solutions to solve a problem, one method would be very challenging but the results could be awesome, and the other method is straightforward with predictable fair results. Ted would encourage me to choose the difficult one.”

Yu has also learned a lot working with Rodriguez.

“Alberto always offered us very insightful suggestions and instructions,” She said. “For instance, sometimes we get stuck at some points and couldn't move forward. After a discussion with Alberto, we can always find some candidate solutions. Another great point I learned from Alberto is to pay attention to various outlets, in addition to the research paper, to increase our research impact. I used to mainly pay attention to my research papers. But now I learned that there are many other things we can do to increase the research impact.”

After his time at CSAIL, Yu would like to become a faculty member in a research-oriented university conducting impactful research in the robotics field.

“I still remember the first day I came to work at the Stata Center and I saw a variety of robots were running experiments in different labs,” he said. “I found many of them are those I used to see in papers or videos. I told myself, ‘Yes, this is the place to study robotics.’”

Yu has worked on two projects since arriving at CSAIL. In the first project, he studied soft robot high-resolution proprioception and tactile sensing. His group’s work was featured in MIT news and Yahoo news. In the second project, he worked on robot cable manipulation, and the group’s work was featured in MIT news and PC Magazine news.