About Me

Hello! I am an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the Mechanical Science and Engineering department (UIUC MechSE).  I completed my PhD at UC Berkeley in Prof. Ron Fearing’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab working on Salto, a small monopedal jumping robot, then postdoced with Prof. Aaron Johnson at the Robomechanics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University.  If you are a prospective graduate student interested in working with me on legged robot design and control, please apply to UIUC MechSE and mention me in your application!

I am passionate about sharing robotics and science with students from elementary school to grad school.  Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, climbing, collecting outdated laptops, and putting Matlab and PowerPoint to unusual and occasionally artistic uses.

You can reach me at:
jkyim (at) illinois (dot) edu
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Research Interests

Mobile robots have the potential to be uniquely useful tools and teammates, but currently have trouble getting around in many environments. Cluttered living rooms, ladders, and other spaces humans easily navigate remain challenging for robots. Natural environments like intertidal zones, cliffs, and trees are even less accessible to robots. In many cases, robots are physically incapable of consistently traversing complicated terrain regardless of control scheme due to force and power constraints, insufficient endurance and range, or insufficient control bandwidth. My research enables high-performance locomotion in robots and investigates the underlying science by concurrently designing mechanisms that exhibit reduced-order dynamics and advantageous energy flow with controllers that leverage these mechanisms’ natural dynamics. By improving robot locomotion, robots will be able to accompany humans wherever they go and even reach places humans cannot.