Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen

Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, JPL, is a Senior Research Scientist, the supervisor of the Electroactive Technologies Group (x355N), Resident NDE Expert, as well as in-charge of the Nondestructive Evaluation and Advance Actuators (NDEAA) Lab that he established in 1991. He received his Ph. D. in Physics (1979) and M.Sc. in Materials Science (1973) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.  He is a physicist specializing in electroactive materials/mechanisms, biomimetics and ultrasonic Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE).  He is listed as Subject Matter Expert (SME) in NDE and Piezoelectric Actuators and Sensors on the JPL’s Procurement Quality Assurance List. Under his leadership many innovative concepts and mechanisms were initiated, analytically modeled, simulated, developed, and experimentally tested for planetary exploration, commercial, medical, and other applications.  He made two notable discoveries of ultrasonic wave phenomena in composite materials: the polar backscattering (1979) and the leaky Lamb waves (LLW) (1983).  From Nov. 2009 to Sept. 2011, he served as the Chair of the JPL’s Senior Research Scientists Council.  Dr. Bar-Cohen is a Fellow of two technical societies: The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). 

His scientific, engineering and technology accomplishments and leadership have earned him two NASA Honor Award Medals - NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (2001), and NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement (2006), the JPL’s Magellan Award (2016) for extraordinary work in advancing the field of electroactive materials and mechanisms, two SPIE’s Lifetime Achievement Awards – NDE (2001) and Smart Materials and Structures (2005), the ASNT’s 2002 Lester Honor Lecture Award, the 2006 ASNT Sustained Excellence award, the 2007 SPIE President’s Award as well as many other honors and awards. Dr. Bar-Cohen is listed on 34 Who’s Who Biographic Directories and his brief bio is listed on Wikipedia with links to his websites at JPL.  Also, the Nov. 2001 issue of Tech Briefs featured him as a Who’s Who in NASA.  His research and accomplishments with his teams received extensive media coverage including interviews with radio and TV stations, NASA Press Releases, JPL's Universe, as well as articles in daily newspapers, magazines, and technically related websites. 

His prior affiliations include: Principal Specialist, McDonnell Douglas Corp., Long Beach, CA (1983-1991); Sr. Physicist, Systems Research Lab (SRL), Dayton, Ohio, at the Air Force Materials Lab. (AFML) (1980-1983); Post-doctorate, National Research Council (NRC) at AFML (1979-1980); and Sr. NDE Specialist, Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) (1971-1979). 

Currently, he is responsible for developing ultrasonic drills and planetary samplers, sample containerization method using inductively heated brazing (for simultaneously performing separation, seaming, sealing, and sterilization of double-wall containers); electroactive mechanisms, ultrasonic NDE and health monitoring methods, as well as high power ultrasonic techniques.  The containerization method addresses the critical need for the extremely strict planetary protection requirements of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission to prevent contamination of Earth.  His professional expansion into the field of electroactive technologies started from his initiated collaboration with MIT to apply his elastic plate wave related expertise to jointly develop piezoelectric motors under a NASA Telerobotic task.  He followed his success with numerous initiatives and tasks leadership funded by JPL, NASA, and reimbursable sources including: AFOSR, AGA, Army, Boston Scientific, Consolidated Edison, DARPA, the Federal Highway Administration, NIH, Placidus and Teleflex.

He made significant contributions to NDE of composites and bonded solids as well as aging aircraft structures.  He initiated and led the development of real time monitoring of composites curing, broadband transducers, and a device for nondestructive determination of elastic properties of composites. Using the expertise that he established in electroactive technologies, he pursued innovation and R&D in biomimetics and robotics, including the Multifunctional Automated Crawling System (MACS), and an on-command exoskeleton.  The crawler MACS was designed to serve as a robotic platform for PC-board base instruments.  As a follow-on effort, he edited and co-authored an ASNT book on the subject of robotics for NDE (published by ASNT in 2000).  Since 1995, he has actively pioneered technology for applications in the field of medicine, which has recently become a strategic emphasis of the JPL’s Executive Council. He initiated and led developments of novel devices for noninvasive diagnostics and treatment using piezo-sensors and actuators resulting in many NTRs and registered patents.

Dr. Bar-Cohen played a key role in establishing the field of Electroactive Polymers (EAP), edited the defining book, and also he defined the sub-disciplines of ionic and field or electronic driven.  For many years, he has been leading instructor of annual SPIE course on EAP.  In an effort to promote rapid advances in the development of EAP, his initiatives and proactive efforts led to the SPIE’s EAPAD annual conference (which he has been chairing since 1999), as well as has been publishing the semi-annual WW-EAP Newsletter, and maintaining the WW-EAP Webhub.  In 1999, Dr. Bar-Cohen posed a challenge to the worldwide research and engineering community to develop a robotic arm that is actuated by EAP (also known as artificial muscles) to win an arm-wrestling match against a human opponent. He held the first wrestling match between EAP actuated arms and human on March 7, 2005 as part of the SPIE Annual International EAPAD Conference.  Three arms wrestled with a high school female student and she won against all of them.  This loss of the EAP actuated arms highlighted the complexity and significance of the challenge that he posed and it attracted enormous professional and public attention to the field.  The graphic representation, which he created to illustrate the arm-wrestling challenge, has become the icon of the field of EAP in technical presentations worldwide.

For his contributions to the field of EAP, Business Week named him, under the category Gurus of Technology, as one of “Five People Pushing Tech's Boundaries” and “The Brain behind Plastic Muscle”; Popular Science (mirrored by CNN) named him the “Artificial Muscle Man”; SPIE’s OE magazine described him as “redefining robotics” and Scientific American described him as the “unofficial coordinator” of the field of EAP.

His teaching and mentoring activity includes his serving an Adjunct Full Professor at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Dept., UCLA (1989 – 1993).  At JPL, he served as a mentor of over 60 students and 9 postdocs, where four of postdocs he hired as full-time JPL employees.  Also, he taught many EAP courses during the annual SPIE Smart Structures symposia and other forums.  Dr. Bar-Cohen has established and is maintaining a large international network of peers (over 2,600 worldwide) from the academic, NASA and industry to whom he has been disseminating his Edited Newsletters. These Newsletters consist of scientists’ and engineers’ inputs from NASA, DoD, academia, and industry.  His first Newsletter series were about NDE NASA-wide (13 issues), then about Materials and Processes NASA-wide (2 issues), and his latest are about EAP and Biomimetics worldwide (since the start in 1999, he published 35 issues).


Publication record: He (co)edited/(co)authored 9 books, (co)authored over 380 publications of which 66 in refereed professional journal and 72 book chapters, served as an Editor of 26 conference proceedings, made hundreds of presentations (including 40 Plenary, Keynote and Invited papers) at national and international conferences, and he is the Biomimetics Book Series Editor for CRC Press; and Smart Materials, Structures and Systems Book Series Editor for Artech House.  He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Advanced Robotic System, as well as a member of the Editorial Board of 4 other journals (of robotics and biomimetics).  He served as a Guest Editor for 4 special issues of professional journals (on topics related to EAP, Smart Materials, and Biomimetics). He has (co)Chaired 48 national and international Conferences/Symposia, served as Symposia Track Coordinator of 7 Conferences, and co-Chaired 38 Symposia Sessions.  Moreover, he has made over 50 colloquia presentations at academic institutes and lectures at local societies’ monthly chapter meetings.  He gave two lectures (on Feb. 21 and 22, 2002 and Feb. 18 and 19, 2010) at the JPL’s Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, which are held at von Karman, JPL, and Pasadena City College (PCC). Moreover, he is a member of the

·         Editorial Board of the “Bioinspiration & Biomimetics: learning from nature” Journal, The Institute of Physics, England (Since Sept. 2005)

·         Editorial Board of the Journal of Bionic Engineering (JBE) since December 2009.

·         Editorial board of the Advances in Materials Research Journal since May 2011.

·         Associate Editor of the International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials, Taylor & Francis Group, Since May 24, 2011

·         Topic Editor in Chief, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, Humanoid and Bioinspired Robotics, since April 2013

·         Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Advanced Robotic System, since August 2013.

·         Biomimetics Book Series Editor, Taylor & Francis Group, Since 2010

·         Member of the Executive Committee of the Aerospace Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), August 24, 2016 (for 5 years)


According to the Google Scholar (checked on Sept. 7, 2016), his publications have a high number of citations (10,440); a Hirsch's Index 42; and i10-index of 166.  His introduction Chapter of his book about EAP has been cited by 1,676.  


Innovation record: His innovation is documented in 32 registered patents, 1 submitted patent disclosures, 10 Provisional Patents, 117 New Technology Reports (NTR), 73 Class 1 NASA Tech Brief Awards, 90 Tech Briefs publications, and 14 NASA Board (Space Act) Awards. 


Book Series Editor

Biomimetics Book Series Editor for CRC Press https://www.crcpress.com/Biomimetics-Series/book-series/crcbioser 

Y. Bar-Cohen (Book Editor and author of 5 chapters out of 20), Biomimetics: Nature-Based Innovation, ISBN: 9781439834763, ISBN 10: 1439834768, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida (Sept. 2011), pp. 1-788.

I. Mazzoleni, “Architecture Follows Nature-Biomimetic Principles for Innovative Design”, ISBN 9781466506077 (March 21, 2013), 264 Pages

I. A. Anderson, J. Vincent, J. Montgomery, “Ocean Innovation: Biomimetics Beneath the Waves”, ISBN 9781439837627 (June 1, 2016), 202 pages



P. Bonde, “Mechanical Circulatory Support: Principles and Practice”, ISBN 9781482201376, March 15, 2017

P. Kumar, K. P. Singh, “Natural Biophotonic Architectures: Complex Optical Effects and Biomimetic Applications,” ISBN 9781482232172, October 01, 2016


Smart Materials, Structures and Systems Book Series Editor for Artech House:

N. White and S. Beeby, “Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Systems”, ISBN-10: 1596937181; ISBN-13: 978-1596937185; Artech House, (June 30, 2010), 292 pages









NASA Honor Award Medals



"I attribute my success to my imagination, creativity and hard work; but above all it comes from good collaboration with top experts worldwide. My idea of cooperative research with interdisciplinary experts was adapted from the world of ants who collectively are capable of performing impressive tasks that are far beyond what they are expected to be able to do as individuals." Dr. Bar-Cohen's quote from the article entitled "Redefining Robotics" in Member Profile of the month, OE Magazine, March 2003.

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The Nov. 2001 issue of the NASA Tech Briefs covered Dr. Bar-Cohen under the title "Who's Who in NASA"

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the future is now." LAtimes.Com coverage that includes NDEAA, August 7, 2000
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gifDr. Bar-Cohen and NDEAA in "Who's Who in NASA", NASA Tech Briefs, Nov. 2001
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Redefining Robotics" - OE Magazine, March 2003, - p. 32-33.
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Special Report: Gurus of Technology - Five People Pushing the Technology Boundaries" Business Week Online. April 1, 2003.
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Special Report: Gurus of Technology - The Brain behind Plastic Muscle" Business Week Online, April 1, 2003.
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"MSN Careers Column - "So you want to be a rocket man?," April 24, 2001
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"JPL Spotlight: Scientists 'Muscle' Sci-Fi into Reality," June 3, 2002
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Meet the Artificial Muscle Man," Popular Science, Sept. 30, 2003
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Artificial Muscles", Scientific American, Oct. 2003
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Meet the Artificial Muscle Man," CNN.com, Oct. 9, 2003
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Electric Flex," IEEE Spectrum, June 2004
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Muscle Mover," EE Times, October 4 2004, page 19

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"NASA’s “Muscle” Man," JewishJournal.com, December 5, 2010

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"NASA’s “Muscle” Man," The Hebrew version of the article in JewishJournal.com, December 11, 2010

Videos and audios of presentations

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Humanlike Robots: The Realization of the Science Fiction of Synthetic Humans" a lecture on video von Karman Lecture Series, Feb. 2010

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Electroactive Polymers as Artificial Muscles" a lecture on video von Karman Lecture Series, Feb. 2002
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif"Electroative Polymers (EAP) as Artificial Muscles - Reality and Challenges," Fermilab Colloquium, April 30, 2003"
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gifNPR AirTalk interview with Larry Mantle, Dec. 3, 2003 under the Caltech Edition (Listen) - starts at the minute 16:50 of the 31:00 minutes of this audio file.
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gifNPR's review of the armwrestling competition and the interview on NPR "In Arm Wrestling, Teen Beats Robots Hands Down"
Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gifPTI Course entitled "Biomimetics - Biologically Inspired Technology," held on October 24, 2005, at Texas Instrument, Dallas, TX

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gif Interview with i24News about Pluto and the New Horizons mission, July 19, 2015 http://www.i24news.tv/en/tv/replay/i24newsen/4362506460001

For more information you can contact:
Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), M.S. 67-119, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
Phone: 818-354-2610 E-Mail: yosi@jpl.nasa.gov






To return to:

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gifYosi's Biography Website

Description: Description: Description: Description: T:\www\nasa-nde\yosi\blueball.gifJPL's Electroactive Technologies Group, NDEAA Webhub