Dai Owaki

Assistant Professor


Dai Owaki (Assistant Professor ) has moved to Neuro-robotics Lab., Dept. of Robotics, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, since 1st October 2017.

Hayashibe Lab.: http://neuro.mech.tohoku.ac.jp

Dai Owaki: http://oscillex.org/

Research Statement

Intelligence through Embodiment

The concept of embodiment [1], in which intelligence emerges through the interaction between brain, body, and environment, is the key to understand extraordinary locomotive ability of animals on the earth and to build robots that can adaptively locomote in the real world.


A synthetic approach grounded in embodiment, whereby we aim to understand the mechanism underlying animal locomotion by building a real physical robot that can move around the real world [2]. This approach has two advantages:

  1. we can test such a robot in environments similar to ones encountered by animals without the need to model the complex interaction between the robot and environment, thus allowing for sound evaluation of their performance, e.g., in terms of efficiency.

  2. we can design a minimal robot by simplifying its musculoskeletal and neural systems, allowing for extraction of sufficient conditions to explain the underlying mechanism of interest.

Representative Research Topics (Comming Soon!):

  • Passive dynamic walking and running by elastic springs [Theory and Simulation]
  • Passive dynamic runner (World record!!!) [Robot]
  • Multi-rhythmic oscillator [Simulation]
  • A minimal CPG model for quadruped locomotion through physical communication [Theory, Simulation, Robots]
  • Soft deformable feet that can enable biped to stably walk [Simulation and Robots]
  • Hexapod, Myriapod, ... [Robots]
  • A novel rehabilitation approach for controlling the body representation in the brain (see here!)

[1] R. Pfeifer, C. Scheier, Understanding intelligence, (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1999).

[2] B. Webb, Nature 417, 359 (2002).

Short Biography

Dai Owaki received BE degree from Dept. of Electrical Engineering/Electronics/Information Electronics in 2004, ME degree from the Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University in 2006, and PhD degree from Dept. of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University in 2009. From April 2009 to March 2011, he was an assistant professor of the Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University. Since April 2011, he has been an assistant professor of Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University.


2008 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Japan Chapter Young Award (ICRA’08), SICE Annual Conference Young Author’s Award (2008), and 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems JTCF Novel Technology Paper Award Finalist, and CLAWAR Association Best Technical Paper Award (Highly Commended papaer award, 2014).

Other Interests

I enjoy coffee (drip coffee and espresso) and watching football! Forza, Vegalta Sendai!!