Daniel S. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Physics, Engineering, and Software – Brooklyn, NY

What I Do

I'm a research scientist and multidisciplinary engineer with experience in nonlinear dynamics, electronics, sensors, mechatronics, and the continuum mechanics of solids and fluids. I've spent the past decade or so working in robotics hardware R&D and robotics software development.

Where I've Been

I grew up on Lego, Forrest Mims III electronics books, and sci-fi. In high school, I discovered physics and amateur radio. Despite my budding RF electronics and antenna design career, physics won out over electrical engineering for my undergrad studies, and the mathematics of chaos theory steered me toward graduate research in nonlinear dynamics.

During my Ph.D., I designed, built, and instrumented a twenty ton geophysical fluid dynamics experiment, measured what it did, wrote a few hundred pages about it, graduated, and then then dried it out and filled it with thirteen tons of flammable liquid metal. After a few more publications and some cool visualizations, I moved on to startup life in Brooklyn designing, building, and testing hydrokinetic generator prototypes.

Propulsion prototypes spun out of that work led to a $1.5m R&D contract from the Office of Naval Research and pivoted us largely to robotics. As principal investigator, most of my time was dedicated to the development of Pliant Energy Systems' Velox amphibious robot, including all electronics design, sensor integration, and robot firmware development. I moved on from Pliant in early 2020, but I'm still involved in an advisory capacity as Pliant develops its next-generation amphibious platform, C-Ray.

After Pliant, until late 2022, I held a complex key role at Polarworks, implementing motion planning code in C++, developing software demos, derisking client engagements, providing technical advice to sales and management, and working organically across various needs in product strategy and management.