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Tyler Okamoto


4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91101


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Member of:

347C - Extreme Environment Robotics Systems

Tyler Okamoto

Robotics Technologist


Tyler Okamoto is a Robotics Technologist in the Extreme Environment Robotics Group (347C) of JPL. He is developing a robot to sample the surface of Enceladus and is working various projects for the US Navy.

Prior to joining JPL, Tyler was a research assistant at the MIT Mechatronics Research Lab where he developed soft, multi-axis robotic sensors for detecting leaks in water pipe networks. At Caltech, he managed the Caltech Robotics Team which created a multifunctional autonomous submarine, was a TA for a MechE lab class, and worked on a reconfigurable space telescope.


M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2019) from MIT
Research Area: Designing a Soft Omnidirectional Tactile Feedback Sensor with Application in Leak Detection
Research Advisor: Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Minor in Aerospace Engineering (2019) from Caltech

Professional Experience

Robotics Technologist Extreme Environment Robotics Group (2019-present)
Research Assistant at the MIT Mechatronics Research Lab (2017-2019)
Teaching Assistant for the ME50 lab at Caltech (2017)
Tooling Engineer Intern at SpaceX (2016)
Robotics Engineer Intern at JPL (2015)

Research Interests

Robotic sampling mechanisms, robotic mobility systems, autonomous mapping, manipulation


Discovery Bonus Award (2020) for Zero-G test flights for the Enceladus sampling system

Team Bonus Award (2020) for support of flights for the UAVSAR instrument over the Lightening Complex Fires


  1. Evan Bock Clark, Andrew Branch, Rebecca Castano, Ian Fenty, Christine Gebara, Ara Kourchians, Daniel Limonadi, Gauri Madhok, Patrick McGarey, Flora Mechentel, Kelly Nguyen, Tyler Okamoto, Eric Rignot, Federico Rossi, Brendan Santos, Justin Schachter, Michael Schodlok, Dane Schoelen, Timothy Stanton, Joshua Vander Hook, Ben Wolsieffer, Xavier Zapien, "IceNode: a Buoyant Vehicle for Acquiring Well-Distributed Long-Duration Melt Rate Measurements under Ice Shelves," OCEANS 2021: San Diego – Porto, pp. 1-10, 20 September 2021.
  2. Choukroun, M., Backes, P., Cable, M., Fayolle, E., Hodyss, R., Murdza, A., … Okamoto, T., Riccobono, D., Zacny, K., "Sampling Plume Deposits on Enceladus’ Surface to Explore Ocean Materials and Search for Traces of Life or Biosignatures," The Planetary Science Journal, 2, 20 May 2021.
  3. Badescu, M., Okamoto, T., Backes, P., Moreland, S., Riccobono, D., Kugel, M., Brinkman, A., Choukroun, M., Molaro, J., Newbold, T., Heness, A., "The Dual-Rasp Sampling System Design with Closed Pneumatic Sample Transfer.," IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, pp. 1-11, 06 March 2021.
  1. Dhaouadi, W., Marteau, E., Kolvenbach, H., Choukroun, M., Molaro, J. L., Hodyss, R., Backes, P., Moreland, S., Badescu, M., Okamoto, T., & others., "Robotic Exploration of Enceladus’ Surface: Sampling, Testing, and Modeling," IROS Workshop on Planetary Exploration Robots: Challenges and Opportunities (PLANROBO20), 29 October 2020.
  1. Okamoto, T., "Design of an omnidirectional soft tactile sensor with applications in leak detection [Master’s Thesis, MIT]," MIT DSpace, 01 June 2019.