August 14th, 2023

The IRIS Lab is now affiliated with Notre Dame Energy, as well as the Berthiaume Institute for Precision Health at Notre Dame! We look forward to collaborating with these centers/institutes to impact the energy and healthcare fields through our research.

July 26th, 2023

Congratulations to our visiting summer undergraduate researcher from Ireland, Ultan Fallon, and his mentor, Katalin Schäffer, for a successful project on an adaptable pneumatic sleeve to improve the attachment of exosuits to the human body. Also, congratulations to Ultan for winning the People's Choice award in the campus-wide summer 3-Minute Thesis competition where he presented his research! Thank you for spending your summer with us!

Ultan Poster

July 22nd, 2023

To celebrate the end of the summer, we went out to dinner and played mini golf at Ninja Golf in Granger.

Mini Golf

July 17th, 2023

We visited the Notre Dame power plant to learn about energy conversion on campus, as well as opportunities to use soft and continuum robots to inspect power plant equipment. Thank you for hosting us!

Power plant

July 13th, 2023

We hosted a hands-on soft robotics workshop for the Notre Dame TRIO Talent Search summer program, where local 8th and 9th grade students fabricated and tested variable stiffness soft grippers. Thanks for visiting us!

TRIO Talent Search 2023

May 21st, 2023

Congratulations to the Notre Dame Class of 2023! Special congratulations to the four senior mechanical engineering undergraduates graduating from the IRIS lab, and one senior mechanical engineering undergraduate who will be joining the IRIS lab in the fall as a PhD student. It was so lovely to celebrate with these students and their families. We are incredibly proud of their accomplishments, as well as their next steps:

  • Amanda Kaczorowski (Mechanical/Controls Engineer at Southlake Automation)
  • Tim DeMaro (MS student in Robotics Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
  • Nelson Badillo (PhD student in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering at Harvard University)
  • Molly Doerfler (MS student in Environmental Technology at University College Dublin)
  • Allison Fick (PhD student in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Notre Dame)
Commencement take 2

May 19th, 2023

Congratulations to Nelson Badillo, who was featured in the Notre Dame news for his robotics research in collaboration with NASA as well as with the IRIS lab, and for his journey to Notre Dame and beyond.

May 6th, 2023

To celebrate the end of the semester, we went for a lab hike at Potato Creek State Park and had lunch afterwards at the old Studebaker mansion in South Bend.

Lab Hike 2023

April 7th, 2023

The IRIS lab went to the RoboSoft conference in Singapore! Congrats to Ciera McFarland, Molly Doerfler, and Michael Mitchell for great poster presentations of their research. Thanks to Anu Madan (IRIS lab member Kabir Madan's mom) for welcoming us and showing us around the area. We also had fun hanging out with Margaret's former labmates Laura Blumenschein, Cara Nunez, Brian Do, and Rianna Jitosho and additional Stanford and Purdue students, as well as interacting with the international soft robotics community.


February 12th, 2023

Three IRIS lab papers were accepted for publication at the IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft 2023)! Congratulations to student authors Ciera McFarland, Michael Mitchell, Molly Doerfler, and Katalin Schäffer for their great work studying vine robot collapse, vine robot touch sensing, and a spider monkey tail-inspired continuum robot! We look forward to presenting our research in Singapore in April.

December 12th, 2022

Our lab renovations are complete! So grateful for our awesome new lab space, furniture, and equipment!


December 9th, 2022

To celebrate the end of the semester, we had an IRIS lab party at Margaret's house with dinner and board games!

Lab Party

October 25th, 2022

IRIS goes to IROS! Nelson and Margaret attended the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Kyoto, Japan. Congratulations to Nelson for a fantastic presentation of his paper on everting toroidal robots, and for an overall great job representing Notre Dame and the IRIS lab to the international robotics community.

IROS 2022

October 4th, 2022

We demonstrated our research on soft wearable exosuits, teleoperated physical therapy, and everting toroidal robots to 13 local teachers in the Teachers as Scholars program. Thank you for visiting us!

Outreach Teachers as Scholars

September 27th, 2022

Congrats to Nelson Badillo, who is featured on Notre Dame's undergraduate admissions webpage! Check out this great story about his unique path to Notre Dame and research in the IRIS Lab.

September 5th, 2022

We are celebrating the first anniversary of the IRIS lab at Notre Dame! Looking forward to another great year ahead. Also, welcome to our new undergraduate student, Tim DeMaro (senior), who is joining the lab this semester.

Lab Photo Fall 2022

July 19th, 2022

We participated in Notre Dame's TRIO Talent Search program and gave demonstrations of our research to local rising 8th and 9th graders. Thank you for visiting Notre Dame!

TRIO Talent Search Demos

July 8th, 2022

To celebrate the summer, we went kayaking at Ferrettie/Baugo Creek Park in Osceola!

Lab kayaking

June 30th, 2022

Our first student paper from the IRIS lab has been accepted for publication! Congratulations to Nelson Badillo, whose paper entitled "Self-Propelled Soft Everting Toroidal Robot for Navigation and Climbing in Confined Spaces" will be published in the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Kyoto, Japan in October!

June 21st, 2022

We participated in our second lab outreach event! Approximately 25 middle school students toured the IRIS lab and other Notre Dame robotics labs as part of a summer camp put on by the STARBASE program. IRIS lab students Kabir Madan, Katalin Schäffer, Molly Doerfler, and Ciera McFarland gave demonstrations of their work. Thanks for visiting us!

STARBASE Outreach Event

June 17th, 2022

The IRIS Lab goes to the zoo! We visited our local Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend to observe the animals with prehensile tails, especially the spider monkeys, as inspiration for continuum robot designs.

Potawatomi Zoo trip

May 27th, 2022

The IRIS Lab attended our first international robotics conference! The photo shows Katalin, Ciera, and Margaret with other Notre Dame robotics PhD students and faculty at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Philadelphia, PA.

ICRA 2022 attendees from the University of Notre Dame

May 20th, 2022

Congratulations to Ciera McFarland and Katalin Schäffer for passing their PhD qualifying exams!

April 22nd, 2022

To celebrate the end of the semester, we went out for lab bowling and dinner!


April 15th, 2022

Congratulations to Nelson Badillo for being selected as a finalist for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) scholar of the year award! He was one of 20 finalists out of over 24,000 HSF scholars across the country! Check out this video that HSF made about Nelson.

April 4th, 2022

Congratulations to current IRIS lab member Molly Doerfler and new IRIS lab member Kabir Madan (rising sophomore) for receiving funding from Notre Dame's Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement to conduct summer research in the lab. Looking forward to working with you this summer!

March 14th, 2022

Congratulations to Amanda Kaczorowski for being selected to present her research in Ireland! She presented her work on a teleoperated physical therapy robot during Notre Dame's Ireland Spring Break.

Ireland Spring Break

February 23rd, 2022

Our local student newspaper, The Observer, published an article about our lab!

February 22nd, 2022

We participated in our first lab outreach event! High school students from a local FIRST Robotics team toured our lab and other Notre Dame robotics labs. IRIS lab students Katalin Schaffer, Nelson Badillo, Molly Doerfler, and Ciera McFarland gave demonstrations of their research. Thank you for visiting us!

Outreach 2-22-22

January 24th, 2022

Welcome to our new undergraduate researchers who are joining the lab this semester: Molly Doerfler (ME junior) and Bona Park (ME freshman)!

January 20th, 2022

The Notre Dame College of Engineering wrote a short article on Margaret's previous work and the IRIS lab's current work on vine robots!

December 8th, 2021

To celebrate the end of the semester, we went on a lab hike at St. Patrick's County Park in South Bend!

Lab Hike

September 30th, 2021

We took our first lab photo in front of the golden dome!

Lab Photo Fall 2021 Full

September 17th, 2021

The IRIS lab officially started this semester! Welcome to our inaugural team of researchers:

  • AME PhD students Katalin Schäffer (joining us after her MS in Info Bionics at Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Hungary) and Ciera McFarland (joining us after her BS in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State University)
  • ME undergraduates Nelson Badillo (junior), Amanda Kaczorowski (junior), and Michael Mitchell (sophomore)