Ethan Schaler is a robotics mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. With backgrounds in electrical engineering (Ph.D.), mechanical engineering (B.S.) and micro/nanotechnology (M.Phil.), Schaler collaborates with researchers in a variety of disciplines to design, build and test robotic systems at micrometer to meter scales. In the past, he's made flexible grippers, miniature legged robots and high-voltage actuators. Lately, he’s been brainstorming ideas for new robots to explore unique corners of our solar system.
Schaler is NIAC Fellow on two separate projects – FLOAT (a levitating transport system for the moon) and SWIM (a swarm of miniature underwater robots for Ocean Worlds) – but also spends the majority of his time on work related to the Mars 2020 (Perseverance) rover’s robotic arm and sampling and caching system.