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Elliott Donlon

From Honolulu, HI

Lives & works in the San Francisco North Bay


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2018 - 2020  M.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Olin College

2010 - 2014  B.S. in Engineering: Systems

Cumulative 3.68 GPA

Recipient of 4-year, 50% Olin Merit Scholarship 


Punahou School

Graduated: June 2010

Honors Diploma, 3.8 GPA 



Software: SolidWorks, Onshape, DipTrace, GitHub.


Fabrication: 3-D Printers, mill, lathe, drills, saws, MIG welding, sheet metal tools, water jet, laser cutter, metal and polymer casting. 

Laboratory: FTIR, TGA, DSC, DMA, Various Mechanical Testers, various programmable furnaces, optical and SE microscopy, recrystallization, vacuum filtration, chromatography, photolithography. 


         2022 - Current       Fyto - Senior Mechanical Engineer

•Design one of the world's largest autonomous aquatic plant harvester on a small engineering team of 5.

•Build out engineering and plant-growing infrastructure to enable the company's continued innovation

             2020 - 2022       Giner, Inc. - Project Engineer

•Led the manufacture, testing, and acceptance of the Electrolysis Cell Stack to use in the Oxygen Generating Assembly on the International Space Station.

•Supported project management of Giner's aerospace class electrolyzers and fuel cells for oxygen and power generation to support crew life.

             2018 - 2020       Domestic Water Usage and Sanitation Systems in Indian Villages 

•Worked with Professor Amos Winter in the GEAR Lab at MIT to identify areas of opportunity for technological innovation in Indian sanitation.

•Developed a framework to assess fitness of current solutions against adequate service requirements through technoeconomic and multi-criteria analyses.

             2016 - 2018       Reactive Gripper Development 

•Designed and built robot fingers with integrated sensing and reactive actuation. 

•Created a high-fidelity tactile sensor building on prior work of collaborators. 

•Co-authored successful 75k seed funding proposal with Lab PI Alberto Rodriguez. 

             2015 - 2018       Design and Fabrication for MIT’s Manipulations and Mechanisms Lab 

•Designed and built robotic manipulation research platforms for data collection. 

•Led the design, fabrication and system integration of the Team MIT robot for the Amazon Picking Challenge where we placed 2nd out of ~30 teams in 2015, 3rd and 4th in 2016, and 1st in the 2017 Stowing task. 

             2013 - 2014        Improving Fabrication of Microfluidic Chips – Senior Capstone Project 

•Created a new fabrication work-flow for microfluidic devices. 

•Designed a machine to rapidly hot-emboss micro-features onto plastic substrate. 

Activities and Outreach

​Mar 2018 - Oct 2022      MIT Glass Lab Technical Instructor

•Teach fundamentals of glass blowing to beginner students via demonstration, assistance feedback, troubleshooting and safety instruction. Assisted in maintenance of shop resources.

​       Fall 2017 - 2020      MIT MakerWorkshop Mentor 

•Trained shop users and run the shop as volunteer staff; Advanced Hand Tools Machine Master: Organized trainings, maintained machines and established use protocol. 

Dec 2014 - Mar 2015     Glass Workshop Volunteer Work at Entre Amigos – San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico 

•Designed a glass kiln utilizing only toasters and other available scrap materials. 

•Empowered Mexican artists to supplement their income with new glass-making skills, a newly-acquired hot process and new products utilizing recycled material. 

               2013 - 2014      3-D Printing Czar – Creating a 3-D Printing Lab at Olin College 

•Led a team in the creation of a free-for-student-use 3-D print space at Olin College. 

•Modified budget desktop 3-D printing technologies to experiment with new materials, material recycling and print optimization. 

Awards and Honors

​                          2021      Giner, Inc. President's Award for outstanding service to the comapny

                          2018      MIT Tata Center Research Fellow

​                          2018      NSF Graduate Research Fellow

​                          2016      Most Potential for Impact" award at MIT ESI's Annual Hackathon for Climate Change​

Selected Publications


  1. Donlon, E., Dong, S., Liu, M., Li, J., Adelson, E., & Rodriguez, A. (2018). GelSlim: A High-Resolution, Compact, Robust, and Calibrated Tactile-sensing Finger. In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. article. (Amazon Research Awards Best Manipulation Paper Finalist)

  2. Zeng, A., Song, S., Yu, K., Donlon, E., Hogan, F. R., Bauza, M., … Rodriguez, A. (2018). Robotic Pick-and-Place of Novel Objects in Clutter with Multi-Affordance Grasping and Cross-Domain Image Matching. In The International Conference on Robotics and Automation. (Amazon Research Awards Best Systems Paper)

  3. Fazeli, N., Donlon, E., Drumwright, E., & Rodriguez, A. (2017). Empirical Evaluation of Common Contact Models for Planar Impact. In The International Conference on Robotics and Automation (pp. 3418–3425).

  4. Ross, C., Donlon, E., Kessler, A., Lee, C., Xiang, H., Jaffe, C. C., & Bloch, B. N. (2015). Patient and Structure Specific Quality Assurance Phantom Insert for Radiation Therapy of Prostate Cancer. Journal of Medical Devices, 9(2), 20938.

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