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Petras SwisslerPhD Student, Mechanical EngineeringAdviser: Michael Rubenstein

My research focuses on how to tackle the challenge of robotic self-assembly through the use of novel attachment mechanisms and robot design. It is my belief that successful robotic self-assembly requires a move away from the discretized structures which are near-universal in most self-assembling robotic systems. It is my hope that my research will enable self-assembling robots to form ad hoc complex and useful structures.


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MS Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University (2018)

BS Mechanical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (2012); Minors in Electrical Engineering, Robotics, and Spanish

Swissler, P., and M. Rubenstein, "FireAnt: A Modular Robot with Full-Body Continuous Docks", Proceedings of the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2018. 
Professional Experience

Parametric Solutions Incorporated (2012 - 2016):

Worked as a mechanical engineer at a DoD-secure, ISO-compliant facility with other engineers. Major tasks included product development, design, and instrumentation of turbine engines. 

  • Managed team of 10+ engineers to develop instrumentation routing plans for developmental turbine engine.
  • Designed bracket for production flight engine, considering factors such as hardware interface, loading, manufacturability, and reliability.
  • Performed data analysis, including Weibull failure analysis, post-processing and analysis of test data, and Monte-Carlo tolerance stack analysis.
  • Interfaced daily with customer to determine requirements and ensure conformance to customer specifications and statement of work. Delivered project status reports and timelines to customer program managers.
  • Reverse-engineered turbine vane with interior cooling features.
  • Developed performance and design specifications for a hydro-turbine.
  • Served as an export focal to ensure compliance with export control regulations
Outreach Work

Northwestern Splash:

  • Splash puts on a once-a-year event in which Northwestern students can teach whatever classes they'd like for Chicagoland high-school students (In 2019, 300 students, 100 class sections).
  • Served on leadership board for three years: two years as group secretary, one year as teacher training focal.
  • Have taught a total of six sections of three classes: Introduction to Jet Engines, Introduction to Robotics and Control Theory, Board Game Ludology.

Science In Your Community Center:

  • SICC organizes once-a-month events for Evanston middle-school students.
  • Have participated as a mentor for three years.
  • Examples of challenges put on: programming an Arduino game, mixing the optimum bubble mix, dissecting owl pellets
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