Manan Arya leads the Morphing Space Structures Laboratory. His research is on structures that can adapt their shape to respond to changing requirements. Examples include deployable structures for spacecraft that can stow in constrained volumes for launch and then unfold to larger sizes in space, terrestrial structures with variable geometry, and morphing robots. Key research thrusts include lightweight fiber-reinforced composite materials to enable innovative designs for flexible structures, and the algorithmic generation of the geometry of morphing structures – the arrangement of stiff and compliant elements – to enable novel folding mechanisms.
He has published more than 20 journal and conference papers and has been awarded 5 US patents. Prior to joining Stanford, he was a Technologist at the Advanced Deployable Structures Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where he developed and tested breakthrough designs for space structures, including deployable reflectarrays, starshades, and solar arrays.