I just successfully defended my PhD thesis, so it has now been accepted with minor corrections. The viva was 3.5 hours long, and consisted of a short overview presentation, followed by a thorough reading and discussion of the 184-page thesis.

robotic granular jamming thesis cover

Because my thesis was interdisciplinary in nature, the two external examiners came from different fields. One was an expert in robotics, while the other in granular matter. Both asked insightful and detailed questions on the sections most relevant to their expertise, which I found to be very good, yet a bit stressful. Every aspect of the thesis was covered by someone knowledgeable in the field, and thus there was no room to divert questions or dismiss suggestions. Nonetheless, both examiners were happy with the work I had done, and their main criticism was that the chapters were not written strongly enough to truly emphasize the impact my research has produced. They both agreed that my work has a vast potential in medicine, physics, engineering, and robotics, and so the introductions of each chapter should highlight the main contributions to provide future readers a better understanding of the importance and relevance. The granular matter examiner even mentioned that future work based on my PhD could produce papers with citations of 600+, as they can be submitted to journals like Nature or Science. So, to any upcoming PhD students who want to follow my work, hopefully my contributions will help you make it big!

In other news, within two weeks before my defense, I received word that all three of my journal papers had been accepted. It was perfect timing! So, watch out for my name in Soft Robotics, Advanced Robotics, and Journal of Robotics Society of Japan.