2024 Investiture Information

Laura Ray

Myron Tribus Professor of Engineering Innovation

Senior Associate Dean, Faculty Development

Professor Ray's NASA and NSF-funded research includes developing autonomous robots to study remote polar regions.

Research Interests

System dynamics and controls; robotics; signal processing; machine intelligence


  • BSE, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University 1984
  • MSE, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University 1985
  • PhD, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University 1991


  • Outstanding Service Award for Faculty, Dartmouth Engineering (2022)
  • Senior Member, National Academy of Inventors (2020)
  • Dartmouth Technology Innovation and Commercialization Award (2019)
  • American Society for Non-destructive Testing Fellowship (2001)
  • Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, SAE (1997)

Professional Activities

  • Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Research Projects

  • Cooperative control of multi-robot systems

    Cooperative control of multi-robot systems

    Cooperative control of multi-robot systems focuses on modeling and control of groups of high-speed mobile robots while accommodating communication latencies and nonlinear vehicle dynamics. In distributed cooperative control, robots communicate information about their state to each other; communication latencies and error depends on the amount of information communicated and the number of robots. We are developing distributed control system modeling and design tools that seek to maximize control bandwidth for a given information set. These tools will also assist in assessing the value of information transmitted in maintaining stability and performance of group dynamics. Both potential function path planning and control and predictive control methods are being developed.

  • Terrain identification

    Terrain identification

    Terrain identification research focuses on using small, lightweight robots to classify, characterize, and identify terrain properties necessary to predict mobility of these vehicles on the terrain. Terramechanics models for heavy vehicles are well understood, but similar comprehensive models do not exist for lightweight (sub-500 kg) vehicles. We are developing terrain models and modeling tools that can be used to asses mobility on a given terrain, while avoiding maneuvers that cause immobilization. We seek to integrate terrain identification and traction/stability control of the robots in order to allow autonomous or remote control of these robots at the maximum attainable speeds and accelerations achievable on the terrain.

  • Robot design and smart navigation

    Robot design and smart navigation

    Robot design and smart navigation focuses on developing affordable robot designs that employ "smart navigation" for path planning and mobility in extreme terrain, rather than complex and expensive vision systems. We are developing solar-powered robotic platforms for deploying scientific instrumentation over hundreds of kilometers in Arctic and Antarctic regions. These robots employ proprioceptive sensors to determine whether difficult terrain is passable, and if not, to navigate around such terrain.

  • Acoustics and signal processing

    Acoustics and signal processing

    Acoustics and signal processing research focuses on active noise control and distributed sensing. Active noise control reduces noise in hearing protection and communication systems to reduce noise induced hearing loss and to enhance the ability to communicate. Distributed sensing research uses signal processing to focus listening in a specified direction. This research blends mechatronics—the design of mechanical and electrical systems—with high performance signal processing and control algorithms to improve communication in noisy environments.

Selected Publications

  • Laura Ray, Madeleine Jordan**, Steven A Arcone, Lynn M Kaluzienski, Benjamin Walker*, Peter Ortquist Koons, James Lever, Gordon Hamilton, Velocity Field of the McMurdo Shear Zone (MSZ) from Annual Ground Penetrating Radar Imaging and Crevasse Matching, Cold Regions Science and Technology 103023, 2020.
  • J.T. Cook*, L. Ray, & J. H. Lever, Mobility Enhancement of Heavy-Duty Tracked Vehicles Under Load Using Real-Time Terrain Characterization, Traction Control, and a Towing Winch. ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control. 141(7), July 2019. doi: 10.1115/1.4043111
  • J.T. Cook*, L.R. Ray, and J. H. Lever. Dynamics modeling and robotic-assist, leader-follower control of tractor convoys. Journal of Terramechanics, 75, 57-72, Feb 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jterra.2017.05.002
  • Jerald D. Kralik, Tao Mao, Zhao Cheng, and Laura E. Ray, Modeling Incubation and Restructuring for Robotic Creative Problem Solving, Journal of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, special issue on Robotics and Creativity, 86, 1–12, Dec 2016.
  • S.A. Arcone, J.H. Lever, J., L. Ray, G. Hamilton, B. Walker* P. Koons, Ground-Penetrating Radar Profiles of the McMurdo Shear Zone, Antarctica Acquired with an Unmanned Rover: Interpretation of Crevasses, Fractures and Folds within Firn and Marine Ice, Geophysics, 81(1), Jan 2016.


  • System and method for identifying ictal states in a patient | 10,485,471
  • In-ear digital electronic noise cancelling and communication device | 8,385,560
  • Tuned feedforward LMS filter with feedback control | 6,996,241
  • Method for tuning an adaptive leaky LMS filter | 6,741,707



A Decade of Challenges and Progress for Polar Robots

Graduate Student Engineering Research: Polar Ice Research - Cool Robot

Graduate Student Engineering Research: Yeti Robot

Graduate Student Engineering Research: Psychoacoustics

Cooperative Robots

Professor Laura Ray on the Luce Graduate Fellowships

Yeti Robot with Tucker Sno-Cat

Dartmouth PhD Innovation Program: Harrison Hall


In the News

NH Business Review
Tech Tidbits From Around New Hampshire
Jun 17, 2021
NH Business Review
Tech Tidbits From Around NH
Feb 14, 2020
Business decisions
Jun 12, 2015
National Geographic News
Yeti Robot Detects Polar Dangers
Apr 25, 2013
Nashua Telegraph
Dartmouth's Cool Robot is literally cool
Feb 08, 2012
Cold hard facts
Jan 31, 2012
Burlington Free Press
MicroStrain partners with Dartmouth
Oct 04, 2011
Scientific American
Harnessing Robots to Study Inaccessible Arctic
Aug 17, 2011
Discovery News
Frozen Rover Goes for a Spin
Jul 26, 2011
The Boston Globe
Dartmouth taps Parametric for robot study
Mar 07, 2011
VOX of Dartmouth
Hear, hear!
Mar 07, 2011
The Dartmouth
NASA interested in Thayer-designed robot
Mar 07, 2011
A Cool Robot for polar duty
Mar 07, 2011
A Sound Solution
Mar 07, 2011
Concord Monitor
Defense Department grants $1.6 million
Mar 06, 2011