Electrical and computer engineering graduate Matt Bunting was named student of the year at the Annual Creativity in Electronics awards for his design of a six-legged robot.
The ACE awards were held May 4 in Palo Alto, Calif. and organized by Electronic Engineering Times, a leading industry publication with more than 500,000 subscribers worldwide.
Bunting's hexapod robot has been wowing robotics fans and the electronics industry since he built it as a class project in 2009 while still an undergraduate in electrical and computer engineering.
Bunting graduated in 2010 and is still in electrical and computer engineering on a direct-to-Ph.D. program with a robotics focus. "I'm interested in robot locomotion that emulates biological movement," Bunting said. "And in doing more work on robotic vision."
Bunting conducts his research in the University of Arizona's Robotics and Neural Systems Laboratory, which is directed by Tony Lewis, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering.
He attributes his ACE award to the fact that EE Times was looking for innovation and liked the way he used the robot in class projects to explore machine learning.
Bunting's current research, which is funded by DARPA, includes designing a pair of robotic cheetah legs, which he hopes will lead to an attempt to break the robot land speed record.
Bunting has so far designed a scaled down version of artificial legs that mimic the world's fastest land animal. "If we scale it up," Bunting said, "I think we can actually achieve 70 mph."