Meet our Summer Researchers!

This summer we have three undergraduate researchers working on the Sunbots project.

Ari Bennett

  • What is your year and major?
    • Integrated Digital Media, 4th year senior.
  • Where are you from?
    • Stone Mountain, Georgia.
  • Why did you come to NYU?
    • I really wanted to live and study in a new urban environment in the integrated digital media program. IDM interested me with its experimentalism compared to other computer science majors I saw at other schools.
  • What are your general research interests?
    • Speculative design and fabrication.
  • Why are you interested in researching these topics?
    • There’s a lot of satisfaction from building something, working with your hands, and working in the 3D space.
  • What are you working on with the Sunbots project?
    • I am working on the general design and structure of the plant bots with Sarah. I designed the newest and latest body for the Sunbots, in order to incorporate additional components such as terrariums and solar panels. Also, I’m currently moving into working with different materials for both the large Sunbots and the minis we are planning to make.
  • What got you interested in the Sunbots project?
    • The concept of plant-based robotics also offer an interesting perspective on our ecological future, as we continue to witness the approaching effects of global climate change, as well as the increasing amount E-waste accumulating our planet. The artistic and speculative nature of the Sunbots closely aligns with the personal work and studies I’ve conducted during my time in the digital media program.
  • Fun facts: What is your favorite animal?
    • Frogs, because I think they are neat. 
  • What is your favorite plant?
    • Cilantro and rosemary, because they smell so good and taste so fresh!

Brandon LeMay

  • What is your year and major?
    • I am a junior, graduating in 2021, with an electrical engineering major and math minor.
  • Where are you from?
    • Roseville, Minnesota.
  • Why did you come to NYU?
    • I wanted to go to a big city, and New York is one of the biggest. I also speak the language here compared to other cities.
  • What are your general research interests?
    • Robotics and electronics design
  • Why are you interested in researching these topics?
    • I think there’s a lot of exploration and progress in them. They can be applicable for lots of fields of study. 
  • What are you working on with the Sunbots project?
    • I am making the circuit board, adding wireless communication for the Sunbots so that they can collaborate in communicating their surroundings, so that they can find sunlight.
  • What got you interested in the Sunbots project?
    • I was reading the list of projects, and I was surprised by this one. It piqued my interest.
  • Fun facts: What is your favorite animal?
    • Sea otter, because they are smart, they use tools, and they are super cute.
  • What is your favorite plant?
    • Mangrove trees, because they are a community and they help with preventing erosion and lessening the effects of large waves on coastlines. Also, potatoes.

Sarah Yetman

  • What is your year and major?
    • I am a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering, but I’m not sure what minor yet.
  • Where are you from?
    • I’m from Charleston, SC.
  • Why did you come to NYU?
    • I always wanted to move somewhere colder, cause South Carolina is extremely hot during the summer. I was familiar with NYC because my dad is from Brooklyn and we frequently visited when I was a kid. And, as a bonus, this is the place I got the biggest scholarship to!
  • What are your general research interests?
    • Environmental research and energy systems.
  • Why are you interested in researching these topics?
    • Environmental research is very important in our current age, and I always felt like I could make more of a difference in that way.
  • What are you working on with the Sunbots project?
    • I am working with solar energy, terrarium and plant research (and care), as well as helping machine some of the structure with Ari.
  • What got you interested in the Sunbots project?
    • I really love plants, working with plants. I think it’s interesting to consider the environmental impact of these plant bots, especially on a larger scale. 
  • Fun fact: What is your favorite animal?
    • Black-footed Cat, cause it’s wild but looks like a cute domestic cat.
  • What is your favorite plant?
    • Lilies, because I love the way they smell. I used to have wild lilies in my backyard that smelled heavenly.

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