Charlotte Folinus

Mechanical Engineer


Charlotte is a mechanical engineer with a passion for the intersection of mechanical, computational, and stakeholder-centered design. Her technical toolbox includes problem-agnostic skills in machine design, optimization, and structural analysis, which she has used for designing everything from soft robots to personalized prosthetic feet, 3D-printed running shoes, and solar-powered irrigation systems.

As a researcher in MIT’s Fabrication-Integrated Design Lab, she formalizes design frameworks for soft machines, and she uses these tools to design soft robots for gentle and adaptive interactions, uncertain environments, and/or limited control capabilities. Her current work focuses on how the materials and fabrication processes we use meaningfully impact the performance and reliability of soft machines. By better understanding the limitations of our materials and fabrication methods, we can incorporate this knowledge into our design process to create machines and devices with improved capabilities such as higher payload, improved mechanical robustness, and longer lifetimes.

In addition to research, she has been heavily involved with MakerWorkshop, MIT’s fully student-run makerspace where she teaches design, fabrication, and safety skills to both students and staff. She has also developed and taught new courses on engineering design, computer-aided design, and makerspace safety.

Charlotte is currently a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering, and she previously received an S.B. and S.M in mechanical engineering from MIT. Outside of work, you can find her in a machine shop, on the Emerald Necklace, or in the White Mountains.