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Welcome to my homepage! I am Wenzhong Yan (颜文忠), currently a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA ECE, working with Ankur Mehta and Jonathan Hopkins. My long-term research goal is to create soft robotic systems that can match the remarkable abilities of biological systems in terms of structural adaptability, physical robustness, and power autonomy. Toward this goal, I leverage Mechanical Intelligence (MI) — embedding sensing, control, actuation, and power into mechanical structures of robotic bodies. I will achieve this MI-based strategy through advanced digital manufacturing methods (e.g., origami-inspired methods and 3D printing). 

I recently earned my Ph.D. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from UCLA in June 2023. My research interests broadly include origami and soft robotics, mechanical intelligence, structural instability, computational fabrication, smart materials and structures, and wearable devices.

I am always interested in research collaborations, broadly in the fields of robotics, machine and mechanism design, and advanced manufacturing. Feel free to email me.


  • 02/2024 Thrilled to receive the 2024 "Edward K. Rice Outstanding Doctoral Student Award" from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

  • 01/2024 I will be at Robotics GRC from Jan. 14 to 19 at Ventura, CA

  • 11/2023 Meet lots of (new) friends at my first ever Materials Research Society Fall Meeting & Exhibit in Boston

  • 11/2023 So much fun to visit Creative Machine Lab and chat with Hod

  • 10/2023 First time at the Annual Technical Meeting of Society of Engineering Science, Minneapolis

  • 10/2023 Excited to attend IROS in Detroit

  • 08/2023 Enjoy visiting Bertoldi's Group at Harvard and discussing so many cool projects

  • 08/2023 Glad to present at IDETC-CIE 2023 in Boston

  • 08/2023 A wonderful panel discussion on 'Progress on Origami Engineering' at iCANX platform

  • 06/2023 Officially become Dr. Yan with my thesis, entitled 'Printable Mechanical Autonomy'

  • 06/2023 I am honored to have been invited as a speaker on 'Mechanical Intelligence-Enabled Autonomous Compliant Robots' at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, UCLA

  • 05/2023 Present (online) my work at the OrigaBot workshop, ICRA

  • 04/2023 I am pleased to visit MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory   

  • 04/2023 Honored to give a talk at UPenn GRASP and have a wonderful day talking with faculty members and students

  • 09/2022 Proud to be selected as a Rising Star of the Southern California Robotics Symposium

  • 08/2022 Present at the Gordon Research Conference on Robotics in Ventura, CA

  • 07/2022 Thrilled to attend Fast Movement Symposium and have great suggestions from Rob, Sangbae, and Elliot on my jumping robots

  • 07/2022 So much fun to visit brand-new labs of Boyuan and Xiaoyue at Duke

  • 06/2022 Honor to receive Harry M. Showman prize from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

  • 05/2022 Pleased to showcase 'One Dollar Robots' at the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts in Long Beach, CA

  • 05/2022 First in-person conference after covid and excited to receive the Best Presentation Award at the Soft Robotics workshop, ICRA, Philadelphia

  • 04/2022 I am delighted to attend (online) the IEEE-RAS International Conference on Soft Robotics in Edinburgh, U.K.

  • 04/2021 Present (online) 'Origami Logic Gates for Printable Robots' at IROS, Prague, Czech Republic

  • 10/2020 Feel very proud of my first undergraduate mentee, Angela Gao, at UCLA

  • 10/2019 Prof. Daniela Rus visits our lab, and I present my work on origami robots and have an inspiring discussion

  • 05/2019 Show Mechanical Logic at the Annual Research Review of UCLA ECE department 

  • 06/2018 I am delighted to present 'Fabrication-aware Design for Furniture with Planar Pieces' at the ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication in Boston

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