Mechanical engineering professor Pinhas Ben-Tzvi has been named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Established in 1880, ASME aims to “advance engineering for the benefit of society.” It currently has more than 85,000 members from 140 countries. In order to be selected as a fellow — a “membership grade of distinction” recognizing “significant engineering achievements” — an ASME member must have been in active practice for at least 10 years and have been an active corporate member of ASME for at least a decade as well.

“I am honored and humbled by such prestigious recognition bestowed upon me by the professional community,” said Ben-Tzvi. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to this legacy of excellence and training the next generation of diverse engineers poised to improve our world through innovations in technology by way of innovative teaching, research, and professional service activities.”

Ben-Tzvi’s research centers on fundamental and applied research in robotics, mechatronics, and controls. Some of his current projects include robotic exoskeletons for use in rehabilitation, bio-inspired robotic tails that can be used to stabilize and maneuver legged robots in the field, semi-autonomous victim extraction robots that can remove injured people from harm’s way without risking more lives, and reconfigurable mobile robotics for search and rescue. In addition to his research projects, he is also passionate about educating students at the graduate and undergraduate levels in robotics and mechatronics, transferring university-based technologies to the marketplace, and collaborating with industry and government to help solve real-world problems. He joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2015.

As founding director of the Robotics and Mechatronics Lab, Ben-Tzvi mentors students and young researchers working toward new innovations in robotics. He has more than two decades of experience in robotics research, having spent time in both industry and academia. He recently published an article in ASME’s magazine on the use of tails in robots.

His work in robotics has been cited more than 2,600 times, and he currently carries an H-index of 28 and i10-index of 71. He has been named a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and an honorary faculty member of Pi Tau Sigma, the international honor society for mechanical engineers. Ben-Tzvi received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019 and the College of Engineering Faculty Fellow Award in 2018 from Virginia Tech. While a faculty member at George Washington University, he was awarded both the 2013 GWU SEAS Outstanding Young Researcher and the 2013 Outstanding Young Teacher awards.

Ben-Tzvi has served as technical editor for the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics and associate editor for IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine and ASME’s Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. He served as an associate editor for the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation from 2013-18.

His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, and more. He has authored and co-authored more than 170 peer-reviewed journal articles and refereed papers in conference proceedings. He is the named inventor on 12 U.S. patents and patent applications.

Ben-Tzvi is one of 13 faculty members in the mechanical engineering department currently holding the title of ASME fellow.

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