sridhar kota, phd

Herrick Professor of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Director, Compliant Systems Design Laboratory
Director, Institute for Manufacturing Leadership


Sridhar Kota, PhD is the Herrick Professor of Engineering and the Director of Compliant Systems Design Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Drawing lessons from designs in nature and combining the principles of kinematics and continuum mechanics, Dr. Kota pioneered a new paradigm in product design called Distributed Compliant Design for creating one-piece kinematic machines (no joints) that exploit the natural elasticity of materials. Dr. Kota and his graduate students at the Complaint Systems Design Laboratory have developed various methods for designing compliant mechanisms, soft robots with elasto-fluidics and have demonstrated various industrial applications including novel medical devices.

Dr. Kota has authored over 200 technical papers on product design and bio-inspired compliant systems. He holds over 25 patents and served as an engineering consultant to numerous organizations and is the recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Machine Design Award, Leonardo da Vinci Award, and Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Educator Award. He is the founder and President of FlexSys Inc., an engineering firm engaged in bio-inspired product design and developed the world’s first modern commercial aircraft with shape-changing wings.

Between 2009-2012 Dr. Kota served as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). In this role, he developed policy recommendations and implementation strategies to enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, and to foster innovation-based manufacturing and commercialization of emerging technologies. He played an instrumental role in initiating and launching several initiatives including President Obama’s National Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, National Robotics Initiative, and National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium (NDEMC). Kota is the Director of the University of Michigan Institute for Manufacturing Leadership, a think-and-do tank focusing on policy, education and outreach.