© 2019 LAHS STEAM Week

Noe Esparza

Momentum Machines | Robotics Engineer, PhD

TALK DESCRIPTION

Nature not only plays a central theme in art; it also has inspired many great technological advances. Through evolution, Nature has developed elegant and robust solutions to a very complex problem. In this talk, we will explore how physics, chemistry and engineering came together to develop the technology needed to make robots and humans climb as previously envisioned only in comic books. The quintessential climber in the Animal Kingdom is the Tokay Gecko. This animal is able to climb any surface found in nature smooth and rough alike. Only man-made surfaces slow down this avid climber. The engineers at Stanford University's Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab worked with biologists from UC Berkeley and Lewis & Clark to explore the mechanisms that made the gecko so successful. During their work they came across insights that made them revisit their assumptions about how friction works and the chemistry of how things stick together. In the end, the technology developed is representative of a new class of adhesives.

​Meet Noe Esparza

Noe received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University for his research in Gecko-Inspired Adhesives for climbing applications conducted in the Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab under the supervision of Prof. Mark Cutkosky. Noe's journey began in La Puente, California (one of the many cities of Los Angeles County). He is the son of Mexican immigrants and along with his sister were the first in their family to complete high school, let alone attain college degrees. Noe left Southern California to study undergraduate Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, which he would return to for his Master's and PhD. He has taken his love of coding, passion to build and desire to make stuff move into creating robots. Since getting his PhD, Noe has been involved in the startup world bringing robotics to solar energy production (QBotix) and most recently to the food and restaurant industry (Momentum Machines)