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Global Innovation Design (MA)

Robert Pearce

I am a Multidisciplinary Designer with a background in biomechanical engineering and management consulting. I have just completed a M.Sc. (distinction) and a M.A. in Global Innovation Design from Imperial College and the Royal College of Art respectively. I have had the opportunity to live, study, and work in London, New York, and Tokyo and use my international and interdisciplinary background to infuse my creations with a global perspective. 


Degree Details

School of Design

Global Innovation Design (MA)

I am currently involved in two start-ups: BrainHack ( and Scaled. BrainHack uses augmented reality to help users remember information more readily by tapping into their spatial memory, and Scaled creates mass-customized braces and protective-wear using advanced generative design algorithms. 

Mimo - A Touch Interface Using a Mimosa Pudica Plant

Profile View of Mimo

Mimosa Pudica in Action

Mimo with App

Various Mimo Components and Prototypes

Prototyping Mimos Electronics

Close up of Mimos Electronics

Electronics Above View

Mimo is an internet connected interface made from a touch-sensitive mimosa pudica plant that can control other smart devices in an exciting and playful new way.

As the connected devices around us multiply and become ubiquitous, a new challenge is arising: how do we engage with this explosion of new interfaces? Increasingly, the choke point in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is the human instead of the machine. The typical way to address this challenge has been to move interfaces into the background by making our devices more passive, predictive, and self-sustaining. However, there is another, complimentary path. Instead of just reducing interactions, what if we make them more fun, exciting, and enriching? Mimo, named after the touch responsive mimosa pudica plant, is a response to the hundreds of mundane and utilitarian interactions that we have with technology everyday.

When touched, mimosa pudica plants respond by instantly drooping the affected leaf and folding its leaflets together. Mimo harnesses this natural feedback mechanism by recognizing touches and using them to control internet connected devices. For example, by playing or pausing music, or turning on and off smart lights. This action provides us with an exciting and fascinating way to reengage with everyday interactions, and encourages us to rethink the role of technology and nature in the human ecosystem.


The prototype device is made primarily with PLA parts, smoothed and solvent welded with dichloromethane. The electronics are mounted on two fully custom printed circuit boards (one for the custom grow light, and one to host an embedded ESP32 controller). The device connects with IFTTT, which acts as an intermediary that allows Mimo to be connected to almost all smart devices including music players, smart plugs, and smart lights.


4 Months
BiomimicryelectronicsHCIHuman Computer Interactionindustrial designInteractionInterfaceinternet of thingsIoTplantPlayfulSmart

Biomimetic soft robotic foot for quadrupeds based on a goat foot

Study of goat foot anatomy

Illustration of the stick and slip action of a goat foot

Initial 3D printed prototypes

Using a 3 axis motion platform to test the behaviour of the design under dynamic conditions

Testing the stick and slip response of various prototypes

Molded robot feet with various shore hardnesses

The hooves of mountain goats are incredible, they exhibit remarkable traction on steep and unstable terrain, giving mountain goats the ability to survive in otherwise treacherous conditions. The Morphological Computing Lab at Imperial College has been able to identify the key mechanisms and morphological features that underlie this ability. This design project explores how we might simplify this mechanism into a practical soft-robotic foot for quadrupedal robots.

When a mountain goat’s foot slips in the forward direction, its cleft hoof will alternately stick and slip. This action enables the hoof to reposition itself while maintaining a condition of static friction, increasing the amount of work required to slip over the ground. This system is fully passive, not requiring any input from the goat’s central nervous system that would cause a delay in reaction time.

By passively repositioning and resisting slip, this design enables robots to rely less on their slower, error-prone, active systems. This foot can reduce slips and falls in rough, unstable, and difficult to perceive terrain, protecting the robot, its cargo, and its operators, and allowing it to operate in an expanded range of environments.


Molded SH70 Polyurethane


4 Weeks

In Collaboration with:

Firefighter from Engine 210 of the FDNY with prototype of the Long Irons

Understanding the problem the Long Irons solves

The Long Irons prototype split apart

Disconnecting a halligan from a pike pole using the Long Irons bracket system

Render of the Long Irons connecting the end of a pike pole to a halligan

Renders showing the three distinct brackets that make up the Long Irons system that connnect a pike pole and a halligan together

The Long Irons is a system of three unique, milled-steel brackets that can attach a pike pole to a Halligan in under two seconds. This solution enables a firefighter to carry both a Halligan and a pike pole, while simultaneously improving both tools.

The Long Irons elegantly uses the added weight of the Halligan to rebalance the pike pole, and the added length of the pike pole to provide a longer lever arm for the Halligan. Combined, the two tools negate each others’ weaknesses and empower a firefighter to operate flexibly and safely in a broad set of firefighting scenarios.

This project was undertaken with key input from Engine 210 and Ladder 102 of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).


Steel, Nitrile Rubber, UHMW Polyethylene


3 Months Part Time
30 July 2020
15:00 (GMT + 0)

GID Graduates Present: Humanising Technology x More than Human Design

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