Marko B. Popovic's research interest ranges from fundamental physics, e.g. particle physics, to human neurosensory-motor organization, engineering robotics systems that assist and augment humans, biomechatronics, and bioinspired engineering. He is the founder and director of Popovic Labs http://users.wpi.edu/~mpopovic/ where researchers study physics, biomechanics, and robotics with the goal of answering how living systems function and to synthesize systems that have resembling architecture and functionality and/or may improve life.
Professor Popovic teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses within PH, RBE and BME, such as RBE 520 Biomechanics and Robotics; RBE 595 Space and Planetary Robotics, PH 597 Particle Physics, PH 1110, PH 1111, PH 1120, PH 1121, PH 1130, PH 1140, PH 2201, PH 2301, PH 3301, PH 3401, PH 3402, etc. As of March 2017, he was the primary advisor to ~60 senior MQP and ~20 (MS and PhD) WPI graduate students.
Professor Popovic single authored a textbook on 'Biomechanics and Robotics', Pan Stanford Publishing 2014, for senior undergraduate and graduate students. This is the first unified textbook on this important and popular theme. He recently accepted an invitation from Elsevier to be a lead editor and author of another university textbook and reference book on 'Biomechatronics'; expected print day is March 2018. This project will involve contributions from top world experts in this field.
Professor Popovic authored ~30 peer-reviewed publications cited by ~1400 other research publications (as of March 2017). Results of his work were showcased by Reuters, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Channel News Asia, Business Insider, CNBC; Yahoo! News; the Toronto Sun; Daily Times Pakistan; UK Eurosport, Yahoo! News entertainment, CNN, TIME Magazine, National Geographic, and many other domestic and overseas media.
Professor Popovic is one of the leading inventors in WPI history (the best, based on received IP fees, as of March 2017).
Professor Popovic received a PhD in physics from Boston University in 2001(2). Subsequently, and probably quite uniquely, for one academic year, he had two simultaneous postdoctoral appointments, one in high energy theory at Harvard and another one at AI Lab at MIT. From 2002 to 2009, his research focus was human biomechanics, AI, robotics, health science and technology, and even e-banking and new-generation Internet, all at MIT. Since joining WPI in 2010, Professor Popovic's research is focused on human biophysics and the development of new paradigms in biomedical engineering and robotics. In addition, Professor Popovic is also interested in new models of high-energy physics, which might describe interesting phenomena at very small space-time distances and potentially explain the Higgs sector of the standard model of particle physics.
He is one of the founders of the MIT Biomechatronics Group, and a member of the team praised for the best innovation in health in 2007, the robotics ankle, by CNN and TIME. In 2011, Professor Popovic's Society of Physics Students (SPS) team received top Sigma Pi Sigma Research Undergraduate Award at the national level for the project, Physics Applied to Post-Stroke Rehabilitation: Shoulder Soft Robotics Brace. In 2011, Professor Popovic chaired the Biomechanics and Robotics Theme of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference, which is the top biomedical conference in the world and the largest conference in New England in 2011. His inventions generated notable interest; e.g. Hydro Muscle IP rights had been purchased by Lockheed Martin in 2014 ($235K for non-exclusive license) and by Toyota ($10K for a single year research license) in 2016.
Professor Popovic enjoys teaching and interacting with students. He considers himself to be a knowledgeable, fair, approachable, and inspiring professor and advisor who always praises good ideas, hard work, and a hands-on approach. He promotes creativity and professionalism.