Ethan K. Gordon

I am a PhD candidate in the Personal Robotics Lab at the University of Washington. My current research interests are in robotics and AI with a focus on online learning for physics-based deformable object manipulation and compliant control in the application of robot-assisted feeding. I have previously done work in virtual reality and integrated photonics. In my spare time, I enjoy skiing, a Cappella, Dungeons and Dragons, and ham radio (KD9LKN).

Full CV


UW PhD, Computer Science and Engineering (2018-)
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Advisor: Prof. Siddhartha Srinivasa
M.S. awarded June 2020

Princeton BSE, Electrical Engineering (2013-2017), Summa cum laude
Princeton University, NJ
Certificates in Engineering Physics, Robotics and Intelligent Systems, Applications of Computing
Thesis Advisor: Prof. Paul Prucnal


Oculus Oculus VR (2017-2018)
Concept Engineer, Varifocal Displays
Menlo Park, CA; Redmond, WA

Connectivity Lab Facebook, Connectivity Lab (Summer 2016)
Software Engineering Intern, Embedded Systems
Menlo Park, CA
Advisor: Prof. Ramesh Raskar

MIRTHE Lightwave Communications Lab, MIRTHE REU (Summer 2015)
Undergraduate Researcher
Princeton, NJ
Advisor: Prof. Paul Prucnal

Navier Navier, Inc. (Summer 2014)
Software Engineering Intern, Cryptography
Chicago, IL


Summer STEM Institute Summer STEM Institute (2021)
Research Mentor (Virtual Lab, 2 Students)
Seattle, WA

University of Washington Teaching Assistant
CSE 490v: Virtual Reality Systems (Winter 2020)
CSE 481c: Robotics Capstone Course (Winter 2019)
CSE 481v: AR/VR Capstone Course (Autumn 2018)

Splash Princeton Splash (2014-2017)
Instructor (Circuit Design, Special Relativity)
Princeton, NJ


FamilyWorks FamilyWorks Seattle (2020-)
Food Rescue
Seattle, WA

FIRST FIRST Robotics (2019)
Judge, FTC Event Volunteer
Kent, WA

REC Robotics Education and Competition (2019)
Judge, Vex IQ Event Volunteer
Seattle, WA



Benchmarking Structured Policies and Policy Optimization for Dexterous Object Manipulation  
Niklas Funk, Charles Schaff, Rishabh Madan, Takuma Yoneda, Julen Urain De Jesus, Joe Watson, Ethan K. Gordon, Felix Widmaier, Stefan Bauer, Siddhartha S. Srinivasa, Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Matthew R. Walter, Jan Peters
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), SI: Robotic Grasping and Manipulation, 2021
Paper Website  

Leveraging Post Hoc Context for Faster Learning in Bandit Settings with Applications in Robot-Assisted Feeding  
Ethan K. Gordon, Sumegh Roychowdhury, Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Kevin Jamieson, and Siddhartha S. Srinivasa
International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Xi'an, China, 2021
Demo Video  

Adaptive Robot-Assisted Feeding: An Online Learning Framework for Acquiring Previously-Unseen Food Items  
Ethan K. Gordon, Xiang Meng, Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Matt Barnes, and Siddhartha S. Srinivasa
International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Las Vegas, US, 2020
Demo Video  

Is more autonomy always better? Exploring preferences of mobility-impaired users in robot-assisted feeding  
Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Ethan K. Gordon, Rosario Scalise, Maria E. Cabrera, Anat Caspi, Maya Cakmak, and Siddhartha S. Srinivasa
International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Cambridge, UK, 2020

Robot-Assisted Feeding: Generalizing Skewering Strategies across Food Items on a Plate  
Ryan Feng, Younsun Kim, Gilwoo Lee, Ethan K. Gordon, Matt Schmittle, Shivaum Kuma, Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, and Siddhartha S. Srinivasa
International Symposium on Robotics Research, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2019
Demo Video  
Public Dataset  

Design and Control of a Photonic Neural Network Applied to High-Bandwidth Classification  
Senior Thesis, Princeton University, 2017
Program for Enginering Physics, Senior Thesis Award
Advisor: Prof. Paul Prucnal

Mode Division Multiplexing (MDM) Weight Bank Design for Use in Photonic Neural Networks  
Junior Paper, Princeton University, 2017
Advisor: Prof. Paul Prucnal

Workshops and Demonstrations

A Contextual Bandit Framework for Robot-Assisted Feeding  
Ethan K. Gordon, Xiang Meng, Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Matt Barnes, and Siddhartha S. Srinivasa
Presented at: Workshop on Food Manipulation, Humanoids, Toronto, Canada, 2019
Presentation Slides   ; (PDF)  

Learning from failures in robot-assisted feeding: Using online learning to develop manipulation strategies for bite acquisition  
Ethan K. Gordon, Xiang Meng
Presented at: Workshop on AI x Food, IJCAI, Macau, China, 2019
Presentation Slides  

Autonomous robot feeding for upper-extremity mobility impaired people: Integrating sensing, perception, learning, motion planning, and robot control.
Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Daniel Gallenberger, David Dubois, Louis L'√Čcuyer-Lapiere, Youngsun Kim, Aditya Vamsikrishna, Rosario Scalise, Ramon Qu, Hanjun Song, Ethan K. Gordon, and Siddhartha S. Srinivasa
NeurIPS, Montreal, Canada, 2018; Best Demo Award.
Project Homepage  
Demo Video  

Awards & Honors

  • NeurIPS Best Demonstration - Montreal, CA (2018)
  • Optical Engineering Award of Excellence - Princeton University (2017)
  • Sigma Xi - Princeton University (2017)
  • Rhodes Finalist - District 10, Chicago, IL (2016)
  • Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence - Princeton University (2015)