The Design Innovation and Simulation Laboratory (DISL) at OSU is a facility to provide graduate and undergraduate students, the research and education on mechanism science, virtual reality simulation, and their application to the design and manufacturing of mechanical systems. To know more about research interests at DISL, please visit DISL Youtube Channel for more research videos. Download the DISL research overview.

The current research focus are listed in the following.


Human-Safe Co-Robots for Manufacturing

  • Supported by NSF National Robotics Initiative (NRI) program
  • Compliant mechanism design for variable stiffness robotic arms
  • Pseudo-rigid-body model of compliant mechanisms for dynamics simulations

We are designing human-safe corobots that have variable and controllable stiffness.

DNA Origami Mechanisms

  • Design and fabrication of DNA origami mechanisms and machine (DOMM) (collaborate with Prof. Carlos E. Castro, OSU)
  • We have designed a spatial 4-bar linkage called Bennett linkage using scaffolded DNA origami nanotechnology. This linkage is about 20-30nm size and can be folded into a bundle and deployed in an open configuration.
  • We have also designed a compliant joint made of dsDNA bundles that can be bent into a controlled angle. See a journal article published on ACS Nano







Compliant and Soft Robots

  • Design of compliant mechanisms for mobile and soft robots
  • Novel manufacturing methods for prototyping compliant joints   
Soft Robotic Hand With Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) ActuatorsThis robotic hand has five five fingers each of which is actuated with a shape memory alloy (SMA) bending actuator and has an embedded flex sensor for shape feedback control.


A Transformable Wheel RobotA mobile robot has two wheels that can be transformed from the circular shape into a spoke-like shape for versatile terrain navigation.

Gecko Climb RobotGecko Climb Robot


Computer-Aided Design of Rigid-Body and Compliant Mechanisms

  • DAS-2D: Design and Synthesis of planar rigid-body and compliant mechanisms. 
  • DAS-3D: Design and analysis of spatial compliant mechanisms
  • Synthetica: Kinematic synthesis of spatial linkages 

Mechanism Theory and Design Methodology

  • screw theory based approach for mobility analysis and type synthesis of compliant mechanisms
  • reduced physical or mathematical models of compliant elements (beams, notches): pseudo-rigid-body-models, stiffness/compliance matrices, loading-deformation mapping for large deflection beams
  • kinetostatic (kinematic and static) synthesis theory of compliant mechanisms 

Mechanical Design Applications 

  • aerospace structures: flapping wing micro air vehicles (MAV), landing gear for MAVs, morphing structures 
  • ultra high precision machinery: nano meter precision manipulators/positioners, nano-scale mechanisms and machines 
  • medical devices, haptic devices and force sensors with compliant mechanisms
  • foldable/deployable/reconfigurable mechanisms for space and ground applications

Shape Deposition Manufacturing (SDM) for Compliant Mechanism Fabrication 

  • Shape Deposition Manufacturing, or SDM, is a manufacturing process that was developed at Stanford University over the last decade and has been applied to many different areas of mechanical design and fabrication. SDM utilizes an iterative milling and casting process that is capable of yielding unique multi-material parts with embedded components. See compliant mechanism samples (above) built at DISL. 

Virtual Reality Simulation

  • multi-body dynamics simulation of rigid-body or compliant mechanisms in virtual environment
  • development of interactive design environment for rigid-body or complinat mechanisms
  • simulation and training for automotive, medical applications and manufacturing