Christopher Thierauf

Hello, World!

My name is Chris Thierauf.

At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, I'm a Research Engineer in the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF), I've been writing software for the AUV Sentry. I help provide autonomous deep-sea exploration capabilities for the NSF while also furthering my own research on robot autonomy.
At Tufts University, I'm a PhD Candidate in the Human-Robot Interaction Lab. I design, build, and program robots that help investigate how robots can overcome challenging situations in complex environemnts, when human expertise is not available.
On this website, you can find more about my publications, other past projects, check out my curriculum vitae, or get in touch.

Graduate Research

My graduate level research began in September 2020.

  • Three papers are currently pending (One in review at AAMAS, one targeting RSS, one pending journal paper).
  • Curriculum learning on simulated and real-world robots (published in AAMAS).
  • UVC Disinfection Robot (published in ICRA).

Undergraduate Research

  • Lecture on 3D printing and Free Software at LibrePlanet, Spring 2019.
  • Undergraduate conference paper on networking 3D printers, Summer 2018.
  • Laser Scarecrow grant involvement, Summer 2018.

Other projects and robots

I write code, including these ROS packages:
  • gpio_control
    Package and python utilities to control GPIO on Linux SoC's (Raspberry Pi, NVidia Jetson, etc).
    Available as a ROS package and via
  • discretized_movement
    Simplify the MoveIt action space through cartesian discretization for reinforcement learning applications.
    Available as a ROS package.
  • pybullet_simplified_fetch
    Simplified physics simulation environment for the Fetch robot mobile manipulator.
    Available as a ROS package.
  • rosactive
    When working with several independent ROS projects simultaneously, managing the different workspaces and shell variables can be difficult. rosactive is a CLI utility to resolve this.
    Available as a ROS package.
I also build stuff:
  • Sledbot
    An autonomous, low-cost mobile robot capable of being configured to carry a variety of loads. My contributions were to perform the electrical design, core control software, and wheel assembly.
  • Plugbot
    A small robot initially designed to work with the Sledbot for the purpose of seeking out charging sources. Later adapted to become a more extensible low-cost platform by combining 360-degree LIDAR, IMU, wheel odometry, and cameras.

Undergraduate Level

  • Underwater ROV (Undergraduate IEEE Chapter project)
    I wrote the control code for 3 teleoperated underwater robots over the course of 4 years, half of which I served as the software project lead. I also worked on sensor interfaces and networking setups to create unique cohesive systems.
  • "Enbarr" (Bs.C Capstone project)
    Mechanical, electrical, and software design for an extensible underwater research platform. A laser-cut metal plate produces the structure while silicone covers all components for waterproofing.
  • Laser Scarecrow
    Funded by Northeast SARE FNE18-893 to repel birds from using lasers, which are non-harmful to crops and animals. The system brought crop loss down by 85 percent at an order of magnitude cheaper than existing solutions while meeting grant requirements.
  • Spectral Digitizer
    Project goal was to create a machine to digitize physical records of elemental spectra per request of NIST. I wrote code to control stepper motor at high precision at the direction of experienced engineers.

Curriculum Vitae

My full curriculum vitae can be downloaded here. Here's a summary of the important bits:

  • Currently full-time Research Engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Undergoing PhD at Tufts University, joint degree in Computer Science and HRI, expected completion 2024)
  • Masters degree at Tufts University, joint degree in Computer Science and HRI, completed 2023)
  • Completed B.Sc in Computer Science, minoring in Applied Mathematics, from the Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • Previously fully-funded as a Graduate Research Assistant
  • Past work experience as Undergraduate Research Assistant in two labs and as a Software Engineer Co-op
  • Diverse technical skillset includes:
    • Numerous programming languages (comfort in Python, Java, C, C++, knowledge of others)
    • Robotics and computer vision frameworks (advanced knowledge of ROS, comfort in ROS 2.0, OpenCV, and others)
    • Familiarity with multiple common robotics research platforms (PR2, Kinova, Fetch, UR5), and some standards for creating new platforms
    • Familiar with CAD design tools (Onhape, FreeCAD, Inventor) for the purpose of documentation and manufacturing
    • Comfortable with manufacturing using FDM/SLA 3D printing technologies, capable of using mills, lathes (manual, conversational, g-code)

Contact Me

I'm in a couple of different corners of the internet. You can find me on LinkedIn, or GitHub. If you'd like to get in touch with me directly, email me: chris (at)