Skip Navigation


Christopher Assad


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 198-219

Pasadena, CA 91109

Member of:

347A - Embedded Robotic Systems

Christopher Assad

Group Supervisor


This was a test edit added by David Martin.


Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, May 1997. Thesis: Electric field maps and boundary element simulations of electrolocation in weakly electric fish.
B.S. in Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, June 1987. Graduated with honors.
SUNY/Buffalo, Sep 1982-June 1984 (transferred to Caltech after sophomore year)
High School: Kenmore East, Town of Tonawanda, New York, Class of 1982

Professional Experience

2009-present: PI on JPL DRDF, "Dynamic Stability for Efficient Legged Locomotion." Co-Is: B. Kennedy (JPL), Prof. M. Hartmann (Northwestern University)
2006-present: Co-I on “An Exploratory Study of Bio-Inspired Pedestrian Detection and Driver Health Monitor Systems,” funded by DENSO Automotive. Goals: Detect pedestrians with a UWB pulsed radar sensor; monitor heartbeat and breathing of driver with remote sensing. PI: Prof. Joel Burdick (Caltech)
2007-2008: Support for "Mars Celestial Navigator," funded by the Mars Technology Program. Goal: develop a combined IMU/camera sensor for autonomous position determination of an aerial vehicle at Mars. PI: J. Alexander (JPL)
2007-2008: JPL PI on SURP/DRDF "Mission Contingencies for Team (Astronaut-Robot-Mission Control) Interactions." Co-Is: W. Burleson, K. Hodges (ASU), D. Newman, S. Dubowsky (MIT)
2007-2008: Support for EMOS "Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor" protoflight project, funded by the NASA Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control program. Goal: Mini mass spectrometer/ gas chromatograph instrument to monitor air quality on the International Space Station.
2007: Support for JPL Strategic Initiative R&TD, “Optical Transceivers for High-Rate Mars Links.” Goal: High throughput laser communications from surface to orbit. PI: A. Biswas (JPL)
2006: Task lead on JPL Spontaneous R&TD, “Multi-Electrode EMG Sleeve Human-Machine Interface." Goal: Integrate EMG array into sleeve to track finger forces, for application to power-assisted EVA gloves and telerobotic interfaces.
2004-2006: Co-I on JPL DRDF, "Real-Time Landmark Tracking." Goals: Design neural network for visual landmark tracking, implement in parallel FPGA hardware, demonstrate in rover navigation application. Co-Is: Chao (JPL), Huntsberger (JPL), Hanan (U Oklahoma), Perona (Caltech)
2005-2006: Co-I on "Elasmobranch Brain-Machine Interface," funded by DARPA Bio-Inspired Undersea Sensors program. Goal: Brain implants in freely swimming sharks. PIs: Andersen, Burdick (Caltech)
2000-2005: Task lead on "Biological Computing," sponsored by JPL CISM and NASA CICT/ITSR Revolutionary Computing program area. Goals: Model sensory-motor control algorithms in vertebrate nervous systems, to help develop more intelligent and autonomous robotic explorers. Projects included modelling cerebellum to perform dynamic state estimation, models of fish electrosensory systems and rat vibrissal systems for biomorphic sensing, spiking neuron information coding and networks, and biomorphic robotics. Collaborators: Hartmann (Northwestern University), Paulin (University of Otago)
2004-2005: Task lead on "Fault Detection Signal Analysis for Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control," sponsored by NASAs AEMC Program. Goal: Develop advanced signal analysis methods to monitor sensor data from life support systems.
2003-2004: Task lead on "Multi-Media Human Computer Interface for Mission-Critical Systems"," sponsored by NASA Intelligent Systems NRA, HCC area. Goal: Improve interface design and training for mission operators. Co-I: Kellman (UCLA)
2001-2003: Co-I on "Biological computing for robot navigation and control," funded by NASA Intelligent Systems NRA. PI: Jabri (Oregon Graduate Institute), Co-I: Sejnowski (Salk Institute)

Research Interests

* Human-Machine Interfaces
* Human-Robot Interaction
* Bio-inspired computing
* Biomorphic Robotics
* Landmark tracking for visual navigation
* Cerebellar models for dynamic state estimation and predictive control
* Legged locomotion
* Spiking neuron information coding and networks
* Neuromorphic VLSI design
* Electroreception in electric fish


  1. A. Rankin, A. Huertas, L. Matthies, M. Bajracharya, C. Assad, S. Brennan, P. Bellutta, and G. Sherwin, "Unmanned Ground Vehicle Perception using Thermal Infrared Cameras," Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 8045, 01 April 2011.
  1. C. Assad, D. Newman, W. Burleson, J. Essenburg, U.K. Banaru, S. Cary, K. Hodges, "Mission Contingencies for Team (Astronaut-Robot-Mission Control) Interactions," JPL SURP DRDF Annual Report, Task # 1209 and 1222, 01 January 2008.
  2. Y Chen, L Del Castillo, N Aranki, C Assad, M Mazzola, M Mojarradi, E Kolawa, "Reliability assessment of high temperature electronics and packaging technologies for Venus mission," IEEE CFP08RPS-CDR 46th Annual International Reliability Physics Symposium, Phoenix, 641-642, 01 January 2008.
  3. A Stoica, M Kuhlman, C Assad, D Keymeulen, "Developing humanoid robots for real-world environments," 8th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, 567-572, 01 January 2008.
  1. Y. Chen, L. Del Castillo, N. Aranki, C. Assad, "High-temperature electronics and packaging reliability methodology and cabling issues," JPL R&TD Annual Report, R.06.037.044, 01 January 2007.
  2. A Csaszar, JC Hanan, P Moreels, CL Hughlett, C Assad, T-H Chao, P Perona, "A Low Cost Test-Bed for Real-Time Landmark Tracking," SPIE Sensors and Systems for Space Applications, April 9-11, Orlando, 01 January 2007.
  1. C. Assad, TH. Chao, J. Hanan, A. Csaszar, P. Moreels, P. Perona, "Real-Time Landmark Tracking," JPL DRDF Annual Report, 01 January 2006.
  2. C. Assad, "Cerebellar Model for Dynamic Balance," Dynamic Walking Workshop, May 6-8, Ann Arbor MI, 01 January 2006.
  3. C. Assad, M. Jabon, N. Aranki, "Multi-electrode EMG sleeve human-machine interface," JPL R&TD Annual Report, 01 January 2006.
  4. C. Assad, "Intelligent Control for Agile Biomorphic Robotics," In: Howard AM, Tunstel EW (eds.), Intelligence for Space Robotics, TSI Press, 383-402, 01 January 2006.
  1. Hanan JC, Chao TH, Assad C, Hughlett C, Zhou H, Lu T, "Closed-Loop Automatic Target Recognition and Monitoring System," SPIE, Optical Pattern Recognition XVI, 01 January 2005.
  2. C. Assad, S. Trujillo, S. Dastoor and L. Xu, "Cerebellar dynamic state estimation for a biomorphic robot arm," IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 877-882, 01 January 2005.
  1. Paulin MG, Hoffman LF, Assad C, "Distributed coding by single spikes in the bullfrog vestibular nerve: a basis for dynamical computation in neural systems," Neurocomputing 58-60, 73-77, 01 January 2004.
  2. Paulin MG, Hoffman LF, Assad C, "Dynamics and the Single Spike," Special Issue on Temporal Coding for Neural Information Processing, IEEE Transactions Neural Networks, 15(5), 987-994, 01 January 2004.
  1. Hartmann MJ, Johnson NJ, Towal RB, Assad C, "Mechanical characteristics of rat vibrissae: Resonant frequencies and damping in isolated whiskers and in the awake behaving animal," J Neuroscience 23(16), 6510-6519, 01 January 2003.
  1. Hartmann MJ, Assad C, "Head and whisker movements during exploratory behavior in rats," Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Prog. No. 257.1, 01 January 2002.
  2. Assad C, Hartmann MJ, Paulin MG, "Control of a simulated arm using a novel combination of cerebellar learning mechanisms," Neurocomputing 44-46, 273-281, 01 January 2002.
  1. Assad C, Hartmann M, Paulin MG, "Reanimating Marr's bones: A new look at 'A Theory of Cerebellar Cortex'," Computational Neuroscience Meeting CNS*2001, Pacific Grove, 01 January 2001.
  2. Assad C, Kewley D, "Novel aVLSI weight storage and Hebbian synapse for spiking neuron circuits," Novel Technology Report / NASA Tech Brief NPO-20965, 01 January 2001.
  3. Paulin MG, Hoffman LR, Assad C, "A model of cerebellar computations for dynamical state estimation," Autonomous Robots 11, 279-284, 01 January 2001.
  4. C. Assad, "An hypothesis for a novel learning mechanism in cerebellar cortex," Autonomous Robots 11, 285-290, 01 January 2001.
  1. Stoddard PK, Rasnow B, Assad C, "The electric organ discharges of the gymnotiform fishes: III. Brachyhypopomus," Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 184(6):609-630, 01 January 1999.
  2. Assad C, Rasnow B, Stoddard PK, "Electric organ discharges and electric images during electrolocation," J Experimental Biology 202(10):1185-1193, 01 January 1999.
  1. Assad C, Rasnow B, Stoddard PK, Bower JM, "The electric organ discharges of the gymnotiform fishes: II. Eigenmannia," J Comparative Physiology A 183(4):419-432, 01 January 1998.
  2. Assad C, "The next level of motor control: Inspiration from the Cerebellum," First NASA/JPL workshop on Biomorphic Explorers for Future Missions. Aug 19-20, JPL, 01 January 1998.
  1. Rasnow B, Assad C, Hartmann M, Bower JM, "Applications of multimedia computers and video mixing to neuroethology," Journal of Neuroscience Methods 76:83-91, 01 January 1997.