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Michael D. M. Kutzer, Ph.D.



My fundamental interests relate to the modeling, prediction, and control of movement and shape as they evolve in time.

Conformal Additive Manufacturing


Top-of-the-line metallic Directed Energy Deposition (DED) systems (e.g. BeAM MAGIC 2.0) include 5 actuated degrees of freedom (DOF) between the tool head and build object. While this results in a system capable of otherwise implausible features, it unnecessarily constrains feature geometry and requires stationary mounting of the machine. This research aims to show that expanding the number of actuated DOF between the tool head and build object to the point of redundancy will result in a system capable of extraplanar, conformal deposition and deployment in dynamic environments (e.g. at sea).

Project Sponsor(s)

  • Office of Naval Research Naval Materials S&T Division


  • Prof. Greg Chirikjian, JHU
  • Josh Davis, JHU
  • Greg Dreifus, MIT
  • Prashant Gupta, WSU

Project Alumni

  • C. Blas, USNA 2017
  • K. Strotz, USNA 2016
Self-sustaining Swarms for Persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance


Recent years have shown an increased prevalence of unmanned systems on the battle field and an increased interest of department of defense agencies in the deployment of these systems. Unmanned vehicles are primarily deployed for intelligence gathering applications and generally require one or more operators to accomplish a mission. Small, squad-level systems are typically limited by flight duration, and large-scale systems typically require a team of operators in conjunction with a ground crew to successfully deploy. This research focuses on leveraging low-cost commercial off the shelf hardware to create a highbred approach to intelligence gathering, using a biologically inspired approach.

Project Alumni

  • J. Gainer, USNA 2018
  • S. Johnson, USNA 2017
  • R. Stroup, USNA 2017
  • K. Strotz, USNA 2016
  • D. Brainerd, USNA 2015
  • A. Edmond, USNA 2015
  • L. Jarreau, USNA 2015
  • A. Lewis, USNA 2015
  • C. Perez, USNA 2015
Shape Adapting Underwater Vehicles

Project P.I.

Assistant Professor Levi D. DeVries


Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have shown great promise in fulfilling surveillance, scavenging, and monitoring tasks, but can be hindered in expansive, cluttered or obstacle ridden environments. Traditional gliders and streamlined AUVs are designed for long term operational efficiency in expansive environments, but are hindered in cluttered spaces due to their design and control authority; agile AUVs can penetrate cluttered or sensitive environments but are limited in operational endurance. This research focuses on the development, modeling, and control of a bio-inspired shape adapting vehicle leveraging techniques from continuum and soft robotics.

Project Alumni

  • A. Bass, USNA 2016
  • R. Richmond, USNA 2016
  • W. Satre, USNA 2016
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