Sreetharan, pioneer of pop-up robots, named top innovator

Technology Review names recent Ph.D. alum among the world's 35 top innovators under the age of 35

Pratheev Sreetharan, a 2012 Ph.D. graduate of SEAS, has been named to the TR35. (Photo by Caroline Perry, SEAS Communications.)

Cambridge, Mass. – August 21, 2012 – Pratheev Sreetharan ’06, Ph.D. '12, a pioneer in pop-up robotics, has been recognized by Technology Review magazine as among the world’s top innovators under the age of 35.

A panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, published by MIT, selected him from more than 300 nominees.

Sreetharan recently graduated with a doctorate in Applied Physics from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). He also holds an undergraduate degree in Physics from Harvard College.

The founder and CTO at Vibrant Research worked in the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory directed by Robert Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS, who himself was named a TR35 innovator in 2009.

Rob Wood (left), Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Pratheev S. Sreetharan, a recent graduate of SEAS. (Photo by Justin Ide, Harvard News Office.)

Sreetharan was honored for his co-development of a novel technique inspired by elegant pop-up books and origami that enables clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet.

In addition, he played a crucial role in the creation of a millionth-scale differential to govern the flight of minuscule aerial robots that could someday be used to probe environmental hazards, forest fires, and other places too perilous for people.

Sreetharan and the other TR35 winners for 2012 will be featured in the September issue of Technology Review magazine and honored at the 2012 Emerging Technologies Conference, called Em Tech, to be held at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., on October 24–25.

In addition to Sreetharan and Wood, past TR35 winners affiliated with SEAS include Donhee Ham, Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Applied Physics; Erez Lieberman Aiden ’10 (Ph.D.); Aaron Dollar ’07 (Ph.D.); and Kurt Zenz House ’08 (Ph.D.), who worked with faculty member Michael Aziz, Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies.

Additional information about past and present TR35 winners and judges is available at For more information about the Em Tech Conference please visit

Topics: Robotics, Applied Physics