Who/What

CAI Robotics is Ishaan Pakrasi, Amy LaViers, and Catie Cuan.

We make expressive robots that are easy to use.

Ishaan Pakrasi is an MS student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After completing his BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois, he joined Amy LaViers’ Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab where he is exploring expressive robotic systems for households. He is currently developing ground and aerial robots that aim to imply personality traits through design and interface elements. Originally from New Delhi, India, his interests outside of academia include art, music and education. He hosts a video podcast titled Thotbox that aims to explore the relationship between inspiration and success.

Amy LaViers is an assistant professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and director of the Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab where she develops robotic algorithms inspired by movement and dance theory.  She is the recipient of a 2015 DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA). She has worked in the areas of advanced manufacturing, through an industry-university consortium, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), defense, and healthcare, and forged interdisciplinary ties with the UVA and UIUC Dance Programs and the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies, where she completed a Certification in Movement Analysis (CMA) in 2016. She completed her Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech. Her research began at Princeton University where she earned a certificate in dance and a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering.  

Catie Cuan is a dancer and technologist.  She is a 2018 TED Resident. A California native, she graduated with High Honors from the University of California, Berkeley and was a visiting student at the University of Oxford, New College.  Her performance credits include the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and numerous Off-Broadway projects. She has presented her choreography at dozens of venues, including the Brooklyn Dance Festival and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Her photography has appeared in Variety magazine, Contrast Magazine, and on the TV show, Nashville.

 

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