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Allison Earnhardt


B.S. in Physics

B.A. in Creative Writing

Purdue University, 2022



Allison was born in Indiana where she attended Purdue University as a physics major. Her research interest was in the physics behind robots, inspired by her experience in a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team in High school, where she was on pit crew while they placed fifth in the world in 2018. She explore various research opportunities in the Physics department at Purdue from astrophysics to nano-technology, before switching to research in the Mechanical Engineering department which housed the robotics-based research. She is now a graduate PhD student in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University where she works with the Bio-inspired Adaptive Morphology Lab. Allison currently works on the Origami-enabled Soft Crawling Autonomous Robot (OSCAR).

Outside of school, she enjoys reading and writing as well as rock climbing.


Caterpillar-Inspired Soft Crawling Robot

Allison's research is focused on the design and testing of origami-based robots. Currently she is working on OSCAR, a robot which uses the Kresling origami pattern to convert rotational motion from a servo into lateral motion. As a result OSCAR is able to achieve an accordion like motion which loosely replicates the expansion and contraction of a single segment of a caterpillar. By linking multiple OSCARs together, Allison is hoping to understand the dynamics behind caterpillar movement and the benefits to peristaltic motion vs other patterns of contraction and expansion across multiple segments. Peristaltic motion is the wavelike motion along the caterpillar and other animals as the segments contract or expand in a wave along the body. In the future Allison plans to extend her understanding of robotic design and dynamics to explore burrowing.

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