Welcome to the REACH Laboratory at the University of Tennessee!


Our research interests lie at the intersection of robotics, solid mechanics, and medical applications.  We are particularly interested in understanding robotic manipulators that have a continuously flexible structure, sensing the mechanical interaction between robots and soft tissue, and exploring novel manipulator structures and actuation methods.  One of our primary motivations is to develop compact and dexterous tools that will make new surgical approaches possible and make existing surgical procedures less invasive, safer, and more effective.




Recent News:

April 2017 - Dr. Rucker receives the NSF Early Career Development Award! for his proposal CAREER: Safe and Transformative Robotic Intervention through Dynamic Elastic Structures (STRIDES). Each student's research contributed to this success, so congrats to all!

April 2017 - Congratulations to Caroline on receiving the Jimmy and Ileen Cheek Graduate Student medal of Excellence!

April 2017 - Congratulations to Caroline on successfully defending her PhD dissertation! 

April 2017 - Congratulations to John on receiving the MABE Outstanding Graduate Student Award!

April 2017 - Our paper Elastic Stability of Cosserat Rods and Continuum Robots is published in IEEE Transactions on Robotics.  Great work, John!

Feb 2016 - Congratulations to Ryan and Kaitlin, who presented papers at  the 2017 SPIE Medical Imaging conference!

April 2016 - Our paper A Rigid Mechanism with Uniform, Variable Curvature debuted at ASME DMD'16. Great work, Kaitlin!

April 2016 - Congratulations to Andrew on receiving a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! 

Jan 2016 - Our paper Analysis and Validation of a Teleoperated Surgical Parallel Continuum Manipulator has been accepted for publication in the new journal, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters.

Dec 2015 - Our paper Continuum Robots for Medical Applications: A Survey with Jessica Burgner-Kahrs and Howie Choset is published in IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

Aug 2015 - Kaitlin Oliver Butler joins the lab as a new PhD student.  Welcome Kaitlin!

June 2015 - Our paper Surgical Parallel Continuum Manipulator with a Cable-Driven Grasper has been accepted for publication at IEEE EMBC'15. Great work, Andrew!

May 2015 - Our work is featured in the first clip of the ICRA trailer for 2015! Click here to view the trailer on YouTube.

Feb 2015 - Our paper Efficient Computation of Multiple Coupled Cosserat Rod Models for Real-Time Simulation and Control of Parallel Continuum Manipulators has been accepted for publication at IEEE/RAS ICRA 2015 in Seattle. Congratulations John!

July 2014 - NSF National Robotics Initiative Grant: The National Science foundation has awarded a new grant to the REACH lab titled NRI: Flexible Multi-Leg Robots for Safe Interaction and Surgical DexterityThe award funds a 3-year effort to study and develop parallel continuum manipulators

June 2014 - Paper Award: Our paper Toward Parallel Continuum Manipulators receives the Best Manipulation Paper Award  at the 2014 IEEE/RAS International Conference on Robotics and Automation.  Congratulations to Caroline and Dr. Rucker! Click here to read the UTK MABE news article.

June 2014 - John Till joins the lab as a new PhD student.  Welcome John!

June 2014 - Congratulations to Andrew, who will intern at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University this summer!

April 2014 - Congratulations to Caroline on receiving a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

December 2013 - The REACH Lab presents research posters at the annual VISE Symposium for Surgery and Engineering at Vanderbilt University.

August 2013 - Dr. Rucker begins  his appointment at the University of Tennessee. Caroline Bryson joins and becomes the first PhD student in the REACH Lab.