U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense sees "bat bots" up close
Earlier this month, the University of Illinois welcomed U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work back to campus for a tour of several state-of-the-art research facilities. An Illinois alumni, Work visited as an official representative of the Department of Defense (DoD), for which he has served as Deputy Secretary since 2014 when appointed by the Obama administration. He observed Illinois robotics research in progress at the Intelligent Robotics Lab in the Coordinated Science Lab, and visited the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology to learn about research advances in materials.
ECE ILLINOIS Professor Seth Andrew Hutchinson and postdoctoral researcher Alireza Ramezani showcased their research on robotic bats, which mimic the key flight mechanisms of biological bats. The lightweight bats are able to change their articulated structure in mid-air without losing an effective and smooth aerodynamic surface. In addition, they are more energy efficient and can maneuver in tight spaces where humans can’t go.
Work explored two other projects during his visit, including drone operation in close proximity to people and self-healing polymers.
Work graduated from Illinois in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. He also earned a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California; a Master of Science in Space System Operations from the Naval Postgraduate School; and a Master in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Work is a distinguished graduate of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Course at the University of Illinois, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in August 1974. During his 27- year military career, he held a wide range of command, leadership, and management positions. He commanded an artillery battery and a battalion, and was the base commander at Camp Fuji, Japan. His last assignment was as Military Assistant and Senior Aide to the Honorable Richard Danzig, 7lst secretary of the Navy.
His military and civilian awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award.