Pierre M Larochelle (2017)

Department Head and Professor

Mechanical Engineering (ME)


B.S., University of California-San Diego
M.S., University of California-Irvine
Ph.D. University of California-Irvine


CM 133 (campus map)
Research Expertise

Dr. Larochelle’s research interests are centered on the study of open and closed spatial kinematic chains. These kinematic chains are the functional basis of robots, parallel kinematic machines, mechanisms and linkages. Specific areas of interest currently being investigated include autonomous walking machines, mobile robots, synthesis and analysis of spatial mechanisms for rigid body guidance; design of robotic mechanical systems for increased dynamic performance; optimal control of robotic mechanical systems; computer-aided design of spatial and spherical mechanisms; virtual reality as applied to the design of robotic mechanical systems; theoretical kinematics; and mechatronics. In addition, Dr. Larochelle is an expert in creativity & innovation within the engineering design process. 

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Brief Bio
Pierre Larochelle (Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Irvine) is the Department Head and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Previously he served as an Associate Dean and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the design of complex robotic mechanical systems and enabling creativity and innovation in design. He is the founding director of the Robotics and Spatial Systems Laboratory (RASSL), has over 100 publications, holds two US patents, and serves as a consultant on robotics, automation, machine design, creativity & innovation, and computer-aided design. He serves as the Vice Chair of ASME’s Design Engineering Division and will serve as Chair in 2018-2019. He serves as an ABET Accreditation Visit Team Chair. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a Senior Member of IEEE, and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, ASEE, and the Order of the Engineer.
At the undergraduate level Dr. Larochelle teaches courses in statics, dynamics, machines, robotics, vibrations, controls, and design. At the graduate level he teaches courses in robot dynamics & control, design of complex robotic mechanical systems, advanced kinematics, and spatial mechanism design.
Course Listing