At the NERD Laboratory the keywords — Nature-Inspired, Engineering, Robotics, and Design — summarize our work where we apply our expertise from numerous fields towards fundamental research, applied research, and product development. We collaborate across disciplines to explore challenges from a different perspective. Past projects have included legged robots, micro flapping robots, wearable assistive devices, and medical device development. Currently, we are exploring new sensing and control paradigms in soft robotics, robotic additive manufacturing for austere environments and Soldier-inspired innovation.


Kevin C. Galloway

Principal Investigator

Research Assistant Professor,

Mechanical Engineering

Directory of Making at the Wond’ry

Director of Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience (DIVE)

Vanderbilt University Faculty Profile

Google Scholar


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering,

University of Pennsylvania, 2010

B.S., Mechanical Engineering,

University of Pennsylvania, 2004

Charlie Gallentine

1st-year PhD student

Co-advised with Prof. Barth and Prof. Webster

MeiLissa McKay

1st-year PhD student

Co-advised with Prof. Barth and Prof. Webster

Xue Ye Lin

Undergraduate Researcher

Xue Ye Lin

Undergraduate Researcher


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Prof. Galloway recognized by Nashville Scene for "Best Maker Alliance"
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Prof. Galloway recognized for innovation in teaching
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Dr. Kelsay Neely recognized for her research on 4D printing with thermite.
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Prof. Galloway, Webster and Team make front page of Tennessean for low-cost ventilator project.
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Prof. Galloway hosts Soldiers at the Wond'ry makerspace for a Day of Making and Innovation

Current Projects

Reactive Material Paste for Additive Manufacturing


Naval Surface Warfare Center — Indian Head

Collaborators: Kelsey Hatzell (Vanderbilt),

 Al Strauss (Vanderbilt), 

Model-Based Design and Control of Power-Dense Soft Hydraulic
Robots for Demanding and Uncertain Environments

Sponsor: NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and

Innovation C3 SoRo

Collaborators: Eric Barth (Vanderbilt),

Rob Webster (Vanderbilt), Kourosh Shoele (FSU),

Jonathan Clark (FSU), Daniel Rucker (UT Knoxville)

Soldier-Inspired Innovation Incubator for
Discovering Research-Based Solutions

Sponsor: Vanderbilt University’s Trans-Institutional

Programs initiative

Collaborators: (VUSE) Doug Adams, Karl Zelik,

Janos Sztipanovits; (VUMC) Sean Collins, Tonia Rex,

Mark Wallace; (Peabody College) Laurie Cutting;

(Owen School) David Owens; (A&S) Andrew Coe,

John McLean

Evolutionary Approach to Optimal Morphology of Transformable Soft Robots

Sponsor: NSF Div. of Information and

Intelligent Systems

Collaborators: Isuru Godage (DePaul University),

Nicholas Cheney (University of Vermont)


Journal Articles

  1. J. Gafford*, K.C. Galloway*, S. Webster, M. Emerson, K. Riojas, D. Ropella, A. Tumen, F. Maldonado, M. Bacchetta, E. Barth, D. Herrell, R. Webster III, “The Vanderbilt Open-Source Ventilator: From Napkin Sketch to Ready to Save Lives in 3 Weeks.” IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, (will be published in March 2021). *co-first authors
  2. K. Neely, K.C. Galloway, Alvin Strauss, “Soldered Copper Lap Joints Using Reactive Material Architectures as a Heat Source.” Manufacturing Letters, vol. 24, 2020.
  3. K. Neely, K.C. Galloway, Alvin Strauss, “Multi-Material Additively Manufactured Composite Reactive Materials via Continuous Filament Direct Ink Writing,” Advanced Manufacturing, 2020.
  4. Y. Chen, L. Wang, K.C. Galloway, I. Godage, N. Simaan, E. Barth, “Modal-based Kinematics and Contact Detection of Soft Robots.” Soft Robotics, 2020.
  5. K.C. Galloway, Y. Chen, E. Templeton, B. Rife, I.S. Godage, E. Barth, “Fiber Optic Shape Sensing for Soft Robotics.” Soft Robotics, 2019.  (PDF)
  6. K. Neely, K.C. Galloway, A. Strauss “Additively Manufactured Reactive Material Architectures as a Programmable Heat Source.” 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, 2019.
  7. B.T. Phillips, K. Becker, S. Kurumaya, K.C. Galloway, G. Whittredge, D. l Vogt, C.T. Teeple, M.H. Rosen, D.F. Gruber, R.J. Wood, “Dexterous Deep-Sea Soft Robotic Arms: A low-power soft manipulator for biological exploration.” Scientific Reports, 8:1, 2018.
  8. L. Cappello, K.C. Galloway, S. Sanan, D. Wagner, R. Granberry, S. Engelhardt, F. Haufe, J. Peisner, C. Walsh, “Exploiting Textile Mechanical Anisotropy for Fabric-based Pneumatic Actuators.” Soft Robotics, 5:5, 2018.
  9. L. Cappello, J. Meyer, K.C. Galloway, J. Peisner, R. Granberry, D. Wagner, S. Engelhart, S. Paganoni, C. Walsh, “Assisting hand function after spinal cord injury with a fabric-based soft robotic glove.” Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 15:59, 2018.
  10. B. Phillips, K. Becker, M. Rosen, D. Gruber, K.C. Galloway, K. Suzumori, R. Wood, “A Modular Soft Robotic Wrist for Underwater Manipulation.” Soft Robotics, 2018.
  11. Z. Wang, P. Polygerinos, J. Overvelde, K.C. Galloway, K. Bertoldi, C. Walsh, “Interaction forces of soft fiber reinforced bending actuators.” IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 22:2, pgs: 717-727, 2017.
  12. K.C. Galloway, K. Becker, B. Phillips, D. Tchernov, R. Wood, D. Gruber, “Soft Robotic Grippers for Biological Sampling on Deep Reefs.” Soft Robotics, 2016.
  13. P. Polygerinos, Z. Wang, B. Overvelde, K.C. Galloway, R.J. Wood, K. Bertoldi, C.J. Walsh, 2015. “Modeling of Soft Fiber Reinforced Bending Actuators,” IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO), 31(3): 778-789, 2015.
  14. T. Tolley, R. Shepherd, B. Mosadegh, K.C. Galloway, M. Wehner, M. Karpelson, R. Wood, G. Whitesides, “A Resilient, Untethered Soft Robot.” Soft Robotics, 1(3):213-223, 2014.
  15. P. Polygerinos, Z. Wang, K.C. Galloway, R. Wood and C.J. Walsh, “Soft Robotic Glove for Combined Assistance and at-Home Rehabilitation.” Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Special Issue on Wearable Robotics, 73:135-143, 2014.
  16. R. Sahai, K.C. Galloway, R. Wood, “Elastic Element Integration for Improved Flapping-wing Micro Air Vehicle Performance.” IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO), 29(1):32-41, 2013.
  17. K.C. Galloway, J. Clark, D. Koditschek, “Variable Stiffness Legs for Robust, Efficient, and Stable Dynamic Running.” Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, 5(1):011009, 2012.
  18. Perez-Arancibia, K. Ma, K.C. Galloway, R. Wood, “First Controlled Vertical Flight of a Biologically-Inspired Microrobot.” Institute of Physics (IOP) Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 6(3): 036009, 2011.


  • K.C. Galloway, P. Polygerinos, R. Wood, C. Walsh, “Soft Robotic Glove for Combined Assistance and Rehabilitation During Activities of Daily Living.” Encyclopedia of Medical Robotics, Edited by Dr. Jaydev P. Desai, World Scientific Publishing Company, July 2018.

Refereed Conference Articles and Letters

  1. Y. Chen, K. C. Galloway, and I. S. Godage, “Efficient Reduced-Order Models for Soft Actuators,” in Soft Robotic Modeling and Control: Bringing Together Articulated Soft Robots and Soft-Bodied Robots workshop, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2018.
  2. I.S. Godage, Y. Chen, K.C. Galloway, E. Templeton, B. Rife, I.D. Walker, “Real-time Dynamic Models for Soft Bending Actuators.” ROBIO, 2018.
  3. P. Polygerinos, K.C. Galloway, S. Sanan, M. Herman, C. Walsh, “EMG Controlled Soft Robotic Glove for Assistance During Activities of Daily Living.” IEEE ICORR, 2015. *Best Paper Award*
  4. P. Polygerinos, K.C. Galloway, E. Savage, M. Herman, K. O’Donnell, C. Walsh, “Soft Robotic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation and Task Specific Training.” IEEE ICRA, 2015.
  5. T. Roche, M.A. Horvath, A.A. Nodeh, K.C. Galloway, N.V. Vasilyev, D.J. Mooney, F.A. Pigula, C.J. Walsh “Design And Fabrication Of A Soft Robotic Direct Cardiac Compression Device.” ASME IDETC/CIE, 2015.
  6. M.T. Tolley, R. Shepherd, M. Karpelson, N. Bartlett, K.C. Galloway, M. Wehner, R. Nunes, G. Whitesides, R. Wood, “An Untethered Jumping Soft Robot,” IEEE IROS, 2014.
  7. Y.L. Park, J. Santos, K.C. Galloway, E.C. Goldfield, R. Wood, “A Soft Wearable Robotic Device for Active Knee Motions through Development of Compact Flat Pneumatic Artificial Muscles,” IEEE ICRA, 2014.
  8. Maeder-York, T. Clites, E. Boggs, R. Neff, P. Polygerinos, D. Holland, L. Stirling, K.C. Galloway, C. Wee, and C. Walsh, “Biologically Inspired Soft Robot for Thumb Rehabilitation,” Journal of Medical Devices, 8:020933, 2014.
  9. K.C. Galloway, P. Polygerinos, C. Walsh, R. Wood, “Mechanically Programmable Bend Radius for Fiber-Reinforced Soft Actuators.” IEEE International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR), 2013.
  10. R. Sahai, K.C. Galloway, M. Karpelson, R. Wood, “A Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle with Interchangeable Parts for Optimization Studies.” IEEE IROS, 2012.
  11. B. Finio, K.C. Galloway, R. Wood “A ±140μNm range, 5nNm resolution torque sensor for microrobotics applications.” IEEE IROS, 2011.
  12. K.C. Galloway, J. Clark, M. Yim, D. Koditschek, “Experimental investigations into the role of passive variable compliant legs for dynamic robotic locomotion.” IEEE ICRA, 2011.
  13. A. Yasemin, K.C. Galloway, Y. Yazicioglu, D. Koditschek, “Modeling the Compliance of a Variable Stiffness C-Shaped Leg Using Castigliano’s Theorem,” ASME IDETC/CIE, 2010.
  14. K.C. Galloway, R. Jois, M. Yim, “Factory Floor: A Robotically Reconfigurable Construction Platform,” IEEE ICRA, Anchorage, AK, 2010.
  15. K.C. Galloway, J. Clark, D. Koditschek, “Design of a Tunable Stiffness Composite Leg for Dynamic Locomotion,” ASME IDETC/CIE, San Diego, CA, 2009.
  16. K.C. Galloway, J. Clark, D. Koditschek, “Design of a Multi-Directional Variable Stiffness Leg for Dynamic Running,” ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE), 2007.
  17. S. Chitta, M. Karabas, K.C. Galloway, V. Kumar, “RoboTrikke: Design, Modeling, and Experimentation with a Robotic Trikke,” ASME IDETC/CIE, 2006.



  1. K.C. Galloway, C. Walsh, D. Holland, P. Polygerinos, T. Clites, C. Maeder-York, R. Neff, E. Boggs, Z. Dubrovsky. Multi-segment Reinforced Actuators and Applications. U.S. Patent: 10,788,058. Awarded: September 29, 2020.
  2. K.C. Galloway, K. Becker, R.J. Wood. Soft Robotic Actuators and Grippers. U.S. Patent: 10,780,591. Awarded: September 22nd, 2020.
  3. K.C. Galloway. Manufacturing Soft Devices from Sheet Materials. U.S. Patent: 10,718,358. Awarded: July 21st, 2020.
  4. J. Lessing, G. Whitesides, Y. Shevchenko, R. Martinez, D. Yang, B. Mosadegh, K.C. Galloway, F. Guder, A. Tayi. Sensors for soft robots and soft actuators. U.S. Patent: 10,576,643. Awarded: March 3rd, 2020.
  5. K.C. Galloway, J. Lessing. Soft Retractors. U.S. Patent: 10,349,927. Awarded: July 16th, 2019.
  6. K.C. Galloway. Actuators with Conforming Sleeves. U.S. Patent: 10,189,165. Awarded: January 29th, 2019.
  7. K.C. Galloway, C. Walsh, D. Holland, P. Polygerinos, T. Clites, C. Maeder-York, R. Neff, E. Boggs, Z. Dubrovsky. Multi-segment Reinforced Actuators and Wearable Applications. U.S. Patent: 10,184,500. Awarded: January 22nd, 2019.
  8. K.C. Galloway. Manufacturing Soft Devices from Sheet Materials. U.S. Patent: 10,001,149. Awarded: June 19th, 2018.
  9. K.C. Galloway, R. Knopf, J. Lessing. Rigidizing Inflatable Structures. U.S. Patent: 9,956,745. Awarded: May 1st, 2018.
  10. K.C. Galloway, J. Lessing. Soft Retractors. U.S. Patent: 9,907,545. Awarded: March 6th, 2018.
  11. Xiao, P. Loschak, K.C. Galloway, H. Pei, S. Kesner, A. Thomas, C. Walsh. Methods and Devices for Safely Penetrating Materials. U.S. Patent: 9,561,544. Awarded: February 7th, 2017.
  12. K.C. Galloway. Mechanically Programmed Soft Actuators with Conforming Sleeves. U.S. Patent: 9,492,930. Awarded: November 15th, 2016.
  13. K.C. Galloway, J. Clark, D. Koditschek. Variable Stiffness Leg Structure for Multipede Running Robots. U.S. Patent 8,789,630. Awarded: Jul. 29, 2014.
  14. Alvarez, S. Alvarez, K.C. Galloway, H. Katzenberg, R. Kothari, J. Arthur. Dielectric elastomer fiber transducers. U.S. Patent 7,834,527. Awarded: Nov. 16, 2010.

Patents Pending

  1. Stealth Mode Medical 
  2. Stealth Mode DoD
  3. K.C. Galloway, K. Neely, A.J. Valles, R. Clark, J. Frederick. Rapidly Customizable Enclosures for Shape Charges.
  4. K.C. Galloway, S Sanan, R. Granberry, D. Wagner, C. Walsh. Fabric-Based Soft Actuators.
  5. E. Roche, W. Whyte, H. O’Neill, K.C. Galloway, D. Mooney, C. Walsh. Delivery of therapy to living tissue.