Sridhar Kota

Sridhar Kota is the Herrick Professor of Engineering, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan and the founding Executive Director at MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, a national consortium on emerging technologies and advanced manufacturing.

Professor Kota served as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2009-2012. He played an instrumental role in initiating and launching National Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and the National Robotics Initiative.

He is the founder and CEO of (i) FlexSys Inc., which developed and flight tested the world’s first modern aircraft with shape-changing wings to improve fuel efficiency and noise reduction and (ii) Inspire Rx LLC that developed negative pressure AerosolVE Helmet (PPE for the Patient) to protect health care workers and to provide non-invasive oxygen treatments to patients with respiratory infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Professional Experience


  • Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Teaching and Research areas of focus include: Mechanical Systems Design and Manufacturing, Kinematics and Continuum mechanics, Compliant (Elastic) mechanisms, Soft Robots.


  • Jan 2001–Present: Founder & CTO FlexSys Inc., Ann Arbor, MI: Applications of Bio-Inspired Design; Invented, developed and flight-tested world’s first shape-changing aircraft wing. Design of innovative products for automotive, appliance, furniture and medical industries.
  • 2020–Present: Founder & CEO Inspire Rx LLC, Ann Arbor, MI: Invented and developed clinically proven, portable negative pressure devices (AerosolVE BioHelmet and BioDome) to treat COVID-19 patients and protect healthcare workers.


  • As an academic domain expert, served as product design and engineering consultant for numerous industrial firms including Allied Signal, BASF, Bendix, Ford, General Motors, Gillette, Johnson Controls, MEMX, Steven Graphics, etc.
  • Worked as Product design engineer at Piper Industries, Impact Extrusion Division.
  • As the founder and CEO of FlexSys, engaged on numerous design engineering projects with firms in aerospace, automotive, medical device and wind energy industries. 
  • As founding executive director of MForesight, convened industry thought leaders at multiple workshops and roundtable discussions to identify emerging technology opportunities and cross-cutting challenges of national importance to enhance U.S manufacturing competitiveness.


  • September 2009-April 2012: Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Think Tank

  • 2015-present: Founding Executive Director of MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight—a federally-funded, independent national consortium (think-and-do tank) focused on enhancing the U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.

Honors and Awards

  • 2017 University of Michigan Distinguished University Innovator Award
  • SBIR Tibbetts Award for Development and Successful Flight Testing Revolutionary Shape-Changing Aircraft Wings (2015).
  • University of Michigan Regent’s Award for Distinguished Public Service (2014).
  • 2012 Mechanical Engineering Achievement Award, University of Michigan
  • ASME Swanson Foundation White House Fellow – 2009-12.
  • ASME Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Educator Award (Society Award 2010)
  • ASME Machine Design Award – highest honor bestowed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in Engineering Design (2004)
  • ASME Fellow (2002)
  • ASME Leonardo Da Vinci Award (1997) -“for significant original contributions to the field of mechanical design through invention of a device with practical applications”
  • Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics “Teaching Excellence Award” for making “ME 450, the Senior Capstone Design Course, the College of Engineering Showcase Course.” (1995)
  • Mechanical Engineering Department Teaching Excellence Award (1993)
  • Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph Teetor Award (1993)
  • Five Best Paper Awards (ASME, AIAA conferences). 22 doctoral advisees
  • Over 200 technical publications; 26 issued patents, 1 co-authored text book