Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology 2021-2022 Projects

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  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Myah Kuhn, Civil Engineering

    • Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries in the United States, and every year thousands of young people get involved in crashes. Not only do young drivers have over-representation in motor vehicle crashes, but they also experience higher injury severities when involved in crashes, leading to many fatalities. Economic costs associated with these motor vehicle crashes involving young drivers is immense and in the range of millions of dollars every year.

      One of the reasons contributing to this unfortunate scenario is the lack of seat belt usage while operating motor vehicles. It is important to find ways to improve the situation by promoting seat belt usage among young drivers. Accordingly, this project will investigate the seat belt usage patterns of college students at the KSU campuses by conducting a survey among the student population. The student/s will develop a questionnaire to conduct the survey. Data on perceptions of college students who are young drivers and their seat belt usage patterns will be collected using the developed questionnaire. By analyzing the data collected via the questionnaire, the project will identify the perceptions and understanding about seat belt usage among college students at KSU campuses. To supplement the data gathered via the survey, several focus group meetings will be held so that a better understanding on improving the usage rates could be identified. Finally, recommendations will be developed on how to encourage college students to wear seat belts always or at least more frequently. 

      1. Understand the basic concepts in conducting research in the broad area of engineering
      2. Understand how a literature review is conducted
      3. Learn about basic data analysis practices
      4. Understand how findings could be derived by analyzing data
      5. Be familiar with how research could be used to make the lives of road users and overall society better
      6. Educate themselves and others about the importance of seat belt usage in saving lives and the economic benefits associated with that.
      1. Meet with the faculty advisor for at least 30 minutes for guidance/direction
      2. Conduct the tasks related to the project independently depending on the stage of the project
      3. Write down the activities completed and time spent working on the project
      4. Participate in the activities of the Undergraduate Research Club
    • Dr. Sunanda Dissanayake,

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Henry Armstrong, Civil Engineering; Alexander Campbell, Enviromental Engineering

    • Illicit discharges are considered a threat to local water quality. Each year, approximately 860 billion gallons of sewage spills are reported throughout the country. In Georgia, sewer spills data shows that spills may range from hundreds of gallons to millions of gallons depending on the severity of the leak. The undetected sewer leaks may degrade the water quality in nearby streams, therefore causing undesirable consequences. These consequences may include elevated fecal coliform levels, fish kills, and human health-related issues. Current protocol in illicit discharge identification is done manually. The steps involved are tedious and time-consuming. It is clear that there exists a gap in detection of illicit discharges. In light of this, an automated system may provide much-needed help in timely detecting remediation of illicit discharges.   
      This proposed project will assemble an illicit discharge detection and alerting system using commercially available and cost-efficient sensors. The proposed system will be deployed in the field to help autonomously detect illicit discharge activities.

      1. Design and deploy a robust monitoring station
      2. Design web interface for data observation
      3. Perform regression and error analysis of collected data.
      4. Write technical papers
      1. Attend weekly meeting
      2. Design and improve monitoring station for outdoor deployment
      3. Computer programming of sensors and website
      4. Data analysis and interpretation
    • Dr. Tien Yee,

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Hai Nguyen, Environmental Engineering; Andrea Mayorga, Environmental Engineering; Amelia Baker, Industrial & Systems Engineering Charlie Anderson, Enviromental Engineering

    • Significant climate changes that include rise in temperature and variation in precipitation patterns are being experienced with impacts anticipated to worsen in years to come. While the entire United States could be impacted by climate change, the extent to which certain effects are prevalent will occur on a regional basis. Therefore, any approach to understanding how climate change will affect environmental performance must be performed at a regional level using numerical models that assess risks like flooding to the most socially vulnerable populations.

      This research project aims to evaluate the impact of potential future climate change on flood regimes and floodplain protection within rural farming communities of Georgia. We will utilize ensemble streamflow scenarios from the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model, which includes meteorological observations and global climate models from 2011-2050, to simulate future events. Results from the two-dimensional Runoff Inundation Toolkit for Operational Needs (TRITON) hydrodynamic model will be used to identify flood inundation areas. Relevant landcover/landuse and census data will be combined within a Geographical Information Systems platform to evaluate impact using a novel hydrological and socioeconomic, or hydro-soc, approach.

    • After completing this first-year undergraduate research experience, scholars will be able to:

      1. Conduct a literature review
      2. Understand and utilize the basic functions of high-performance computing
      3. Understand and utilize the basic functions of geographical information systems software
      4. Perform simple hydrological analysis using numerical modeling software
      5. Explain the foundational impacts of climate change on rural farming communities
      6. Present the phases of their research at conferences
      7. Work as a team with peers
    • Weekly duties include:

      1. Participation in group/individual weekly meetings
      2. Submit summation of at least 1 article to support the literature review
      3. Weekly software training and exploration
      4. Conduct real model sensitivity and validation tests
      5. Some travel might be required to visit Oak Ridge National Laboratories Computing Facilities
    • Dr. Roneisha Worthy,

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Carter Eget, Electrical Engineering; Zach Beatty, Mechatronics Engineering; Nelson Sifontes, Mechatronics Engineering Elliott Johnson, Mechatronics Engineering

    • Solar cells are the building blocks of solar panels, which can directly convert sunlight into electricity and play a key role in renewable power generation. To produce high quality and reliable solar panels, it is important to ensure that the cells are free of any defects. Presence of defects in solar cells are a major threat that can reduce efficiency and the amount of power output. In addition, defects may cause faster degradation of the solar cells while operating in the field and in the worst-case scenario can fail an entire solar panel. Hence, it is imperative that accurate detection of defects is crucial for solar panel manufacturing. There could be different types of defects present in a solar cell, such as microstructural defects and electronic defects that are not visible by the naked eye or optical microscopes, which makes the defect identification an engineering challenge. 

      In this project, we propose a novel "Photon Induced Current Mapping" (PICM) technique to identify invisible defects in a solar cell using multi wavelength lasers. The proposed technology will allow fast and accurate measurement – thus reducing the cost, increasing industrial production throughput, and improving quality control. The specific aim of this project is to design and build the proposed "PICM" instrument and perform experiments to demonstrate its capability of identifying defects in solar cells. The first-year research scholar will gain valuable knowledge on solar cell technology, receive hands-on training in electrical measurements and testing of solar cells, learn to build electronic circuits, instrumentation and computer programming for automated testing, and develop important and useful engineering research skills through this project.

      1. Understand the working principles of solar cells and the effects of defects on the operation of solar cells.
      2. Understand basic research methodologies starting from inception of the idea to literature research, design, planning, fabrication, testing and research result dissemination.
      3. Work in a multidisciplinary team environment with other undergraduate/graduate students with majors in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics and Computer Engineering, and develop critical teamwork skills.
      4. Learn computer aided design and create a model of the proposed device structure.
      5. Apply 3D printing, laser cutting, machining and milling techniques to fabricate the device parts and assembly of the complete device.
      6. Write computer programs to control the device and perform experiments.
      7. Develop hands-on skills for electrical testing and measurement of solar cells.
      8. Develop professional communication and scientific/technical writing skills.
      1. Perform literature survey and write the summary of findings.
      2. Perform design, fabrication, assembly, and testing of the prototype device/instrumentation system.
      3. Perform data acquisition and experimental data analysis.
      4. Communicate and present research progress and results in research group meetings.
      5. Write reports/manuscript drafts for prospective journal publications and prepare presentations for conferences.
    • Dr. Sandip Das,

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Kelsi Smith, Mechatronics Engineering

    • Recently, robotic scientists have miniaturized robots into millimeter level sizes by designing new actuators with MEMS technology and novel materials. However, most of these microrobots can merely receive control signals passively and actuate. Their intelligence is inferior to natural insects of the same size. On the other hand, recent advances in Tiny ML (Machine Learning) have brought compact machine learning models to ultra-low-power and resource-limited devices, such as general-purpose micro-controller units (MCU). However, these works primarily target visual or audio recognition tasks instead of sensing, decision-making, or actuation control for small robots.

      The proposed project will be a sub-project of an existing project collaborated with Georgia Tech's research teams to design and fabricate intelligent monolithic microrobots. The goal is to achieve the collective intelligence of microrobots. The main challenge comes from the limited power, memories, and computing recourse of MCU or microprocessor to enable intelligent navigation, sensor data processing, communication, and actuation control. 
      In the proposed project, our undergraduate scholar will explore the method to simplify and compress brain-inspired computing algorithms and other machine learning models that can smoothly operate on an MCU. These models aim at the end-to-end AI application for robots, namely from sensing to actuation. Our students will start with simple algorithms and applications. They will gradually learn AI and machine learning basics and software-hardware co-design to facilitate such a design process. Together with other sensors and actuators, this embedded computing system is expected to be encapsulated in a mini-robot at the scale of two or three centimeters. 
      The mini-robotic swarm in this project can be applied to applications including searching, investigation, and analysis. For example, it may help analyze and control pests and diseases or investigate forensic scenes with various sensors. The results of this research project will be used as an evaluation and feasibility verification for the design of future intelligence micro-robots in millimeter size controlled by a single-chip system instead of MCU.

    • The learning objectives include:

      1. Gain essential knowledge and skills in AI, machine learning, and embedded systems.
      2. Understand brain-inspired computing and be able to implement related algorithms.
      3. Explore the algorithm design under the hardware constraints and tradeoffs.
      4. Collaborate with undergraduate and graduate students in other teams
      5. Gain research skills systematically and understand the research process.
      6. Acquire abilities in academic writing, presentation, and communication.
      7. Improve skills in solving practical engineering problems.
      1. Weekly meeting and report the progress.
      2. Discuss the project with advisor and collaborators.
      3. Study algorithms and explore the implementation on hardware.
      4. Evaluate the system performance.
      5. Accomplish a final report and complete a research paper.
      6. Participate in drafting external grant proposals. 
    • Dr. Yan Fang, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Bruno Lescano, Electrical Engineering; Andres Victoria, Electrical Engineering

    • The project goal is to develop light-based medical sensors to non-invasively assess health of parathyroid glands during thyroid surgery. Parathyroid glands (PTG) are four small glands located in the neck behind the thyroid and they regulate the calcium in our bodies. During thyroid surgery, surgeon could possibly damage parathyroid glands, which can cause a serious complication called hypocalemia (low calcium level in the blood). In the US, approximately 20 million people are diagnosed with thyroid diseases annually and approximately 150,000 thyroid surgeries are performed. Reportedly, approximately 27% of these patients suffer from temporary or permanent hypocalcemia, which can lead to lifelong deleterious consequences with serious economic burden. Thus, reliable preservation of healthy and viable parathyroid glands during surgery is crucial for the improved outcomes. 

      Currently, no standardized or practical equipment are available to noninvasively assess the parathyroid gland viability. Viability assessment via surgeon's visual inspection of PTG color is unreliable and subjective. Recent imaging technique visualizes the feeding vessel to PTG for viability assessment using a fluorescence dye injection. However, this technique only provides temporary qualitative perfusion information. Thus, there is an unmet clinical need for a non-invasive, dye-free intraoperative tool that is capable of rapid and quantitative PTG viability assessment in thyroid surgery. Our solution is to develop and translate a portable, low-cost fiber-optic probe-based medical device that can be used by surgeons to rapidly determine the PTG viability. Specifically, our prototype device will utilize "spectroscopic technique" to non-invasively measure multiple perfusion-related parameters including tissue blood flow index, tissue oxygenation and hemoglobin concentration.

      For this project, undergraduate students will assist with design/ build/ verification of light-based medical devices. If the prototype is successfully built, validation test will be performed during human thyroid surgery. Then, students can indirectly experience the entire cycle of medical device development. Also, "biomedical optics" is an emerging field that studies the basic principles of interaction between light and biological tissues. Light as a medium for tissue sensing has a huge potential of clinical translation and wearable health monitoring like Apple Watch.

      1. Students will gain general knowledge on biomedical optics.
      2. Students will learn a basic principle of light-based sensors.
      3. Students will learn how to design a 3D-printed enclosure.
      4. Students will learn how to perform optical spectroscopic sensing.
      5. Students will learn how to build fiber-optic probes.
      6. Students will learn how to make tissue-simulating phantoms.
      7. Students will learn how to run computational simulation (Monte Carlo) on light-tissue interaction.
      8. Students will learn an electronics system to operate light source and detector
      9. Students will learn how to analyze tissue spectroscopic data.
      1. Literature study in biomedical optics
      2. Weekly progress meeting
      3. Assisting with designing and building system
      4. Performing experiment and writing a report 
    • Dr. Paul Lee, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Noah Clark, Computer Science

    • The Eddy Viscosity equation is heavily used in predicting the wind turbine wake aerodynamics. However, the numerical solution to this equation poses several challenges such as divergence and lack of accuracy. The rise of machine learning algorithms in recent years provide an opportunity to develop fast and accurate solutions to replace traditional techniques. In this approach, neural networks are typically trained by defining a loss function, as an error to minimize, in satisfying the governing equation. In this project, we will use Python to develop the required algorithms to solve the Eddy Viscosity model. To verify and validate the proposed algorithm, we will use finite difference method to compare the results for correctness, accuracy, and speed. The outcome of this project is a general computational framework that can be used to solve many other governing equations that frequently appear in science and engineering problems.

      1. The student will learn how different equations predict the wake aerodynamics of wind turbines.
      2. The student will learn how to solve these equations using finite difference method.
      3. The student will learn how to develop simple neural network machine learning algorithms.
      4. The student will learn how to work with Python.
      5. The student will learn how to verify and validate solution techniques developed for any scientific problem.
      1. Read research articles.
      2. Learn and practice Python programing language.
      3. Solve by hand several equations to get familiarize with different solution techniques.
      4. Practice how to solve equations by a computer.
    • Dr. Turaj Ashuri, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Bryan Ortero-Garcia, Undeclared; Asia Douglas, Industrial & Systems Engineering

    • Research has shown that novice and expert pilots have significantly different gaze patterns throughout the different phases of a flight. The gaze patterns differ in fixation duration, the number of fixations, and the order of fixations. This research aims to investigate eye gaze patterns of novice and expert pilots to identify a reliable eye gaze pattern (algorithm) to expedite training of novice pilots so they can reach an expert level swiftly and safely. We will use an eye-tracking device and a flight simulator to investigate eye gaze patterns. This research has the potential to ensure safe and quick learning experiences for novice pilots. 

    • Students will learn the ABCs of conducting research and participate in the various activities of an applied study. This involves the following activites:

      1. conduct a literature review
      2. get Citi certified (IRB)
      3. recruit participants
      4. setup the experiment
      5. data analysis
      6. use the eye tracking device and flight simulator
    • Student weekly activities will vary from week to week but will involve the following activities:

      1. conduct a literature review
      2. get Citi certified (IRB)
      3. recruit participants
      4. setup the experiment
      5. analyze data
      6. use the eye tracking device and flight simulator
      7. attend research meetings
    • Dr. Awatef Ergai, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Quang Lam, Mechanical Engineering; Joel Muteteke, Mechanical Engineering

    • Modern industrial processes often result in release of heavy metal cations (such as Ca, Cr, Hg, Cu, Pb etc.) in water bodies, causing adverse biological and ecological consequences. Although, numerous techniques have been developed to detect heavy metals in aqueous solutions, their early detection in trace concentration remains a challenge. Electrochemistry based impedance sensors have gained considerable attraction due to miniaturization and low cost. Electrodes fabricated using high surface area nanocomposite materials have shown promise towards development of sensor platform. This project aims at developing basic understanding of structure-property-function relation to development of sensor device with superior sensitivity, selectivity, and lower detection of limit. 

      The First-Year Scholar will conduct basic research towards development, fabrication, and testing of a sensor device for detection of heavy metals. A detailed literature survey will be conducted to identify processes and materials. The student will document the state-of-the-art electrode materials and potential research gaps will be identified. Investigate possible reaction mechanisms developed at the interface during sensing process. A detailed experimental procedure will be developed and discussed. The First-Year Scholar will learn various aspects of nanomaterials, processing techniques, and will learn the state-of-the-art methods to test these devices. Student will be involved in writing reports and publishing manuscripts. 

      1. Exposure to nanotechnology based sensors.
      2. Conduct hands-on experimental research, generating results and performing data analysis for generating meaningful conclusions.
      3. Learn the cutting-edge characterization techniques used in materials science.
      4. Engage in writing research articles and conference proceedings. 
    • The student will participate in weekly meetings with the research group to discuss the progress and plan for future experimental work. 

    • Dr. Ashish Aphale, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Erick Lin

    • This is an interdisciplinary project working with faculty and student researchers in the Geographic Information Systems Lab. Traditional maps are 2D representations of a 3D world. This project is focused on creating a 3D map of Kennesaw State University. It will involve working with CAD programs, scaling, and visual representations. One application of a 3D map is for the blind to gain a perspective of the terrain and landscape.

      1. Research 3D printed maps.
      2. Research CAD programs to generate 3D printed maps.
      3. Understand the effects of scaling on tactile perception.
      4. Perform 3D printing of 3D maps at various scales.
      1. Collaborate with student researchers in the GIS Lab.
      2. Setup 3D printers for the GIS Lab.
      3. Learn new CAD software.
      4. 3D print 3D maps at various scales.
    • Dr. Randy Emert, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Jack Cochran, Computer Engineering

    • Various biomimetic fish robots have been introduced and demonstrated their actuation and controllability in underwater applications. However, a swimming millirobot, whose size is similar to a larval fish, remained unexplored because of difficulty in fabrication and control. Recently, we developed swimming locomotions and controllability with a soft millirobot. To fabricate a swimming millirobot, magnetic particles are embedded with a polymer-based robot body and magnetized to c a desired spatial profile using permanent magnets. Since magnetic control using electromagnets allows wireless actuation and control for small-scale swimming robots, it is the ideal method for our approach. To understand its swimming motion, we will identify its dynamics of locomotion using simple harmonic magnetic fields. As a result, we demonstrated several swimming locomotions such as corkscrew swimming. The custom-built electromagnetic system generates time-varying magnetic fields in 3D space to control the swimming robot.

      The long-term goal of our laboratory is to utilize a small-scale biomimetic robot with biological creatures to promote biomedical research. Consequently, the objective of this First-Year Scholars Program (FYSP) is to analyze the corkscrew swimming motion of the soft millirobot experimentally and theoretically. The soft-bodied swimming robot deforms its body shape under the magnetic fields and spins to generate its propulsion force. A student researcher will be asked:

      1. to characterize the swimming locomotion parameters of soft-bodied millirobot by changing various design parameters experimentally.
      2. to simulate the swimming locomotion using the multiphysics simulation software and compare it to the experimental result to understand the robot's locomotion.

      A student will work as a team with research students in our lab and learn how to work effectively as part of a research group. In addition, students will be encouraged to write a research paper or poster on their findings and present them in various ways. By participating in this project, a student researcher will understand how the small-scale softrobot swims and experience hands-on experiences on fabrication, control, data analysis, and programming for small-scale robots.

      1. Understand how a small-scale robot can swim
      2. Describe how to control magnetic fields using electromagnets.
      3. Use a Multiphysics simulation tool for simulation.
      4. Evaluate and analyze experimental data using software (MATLAB)
      1. Literature survey and review of a soft-millirobot
      2. Fabricate and test a swimming soft-millirobot and compare it with simulation
      3. Learn Multiphysics program and simulate a swimming motion of a soft-millirobot
      4. Write reports and present the experimental results
      5. Participate in a weekly group/individual meeting 
    • Dr. Dal Hyung Kim, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Blayne Jarrett, Biology; Kory Frierson, Mechanical Engineering; Srushti Savadi, Biology

    • Self-propelled microrobots have the potential for use as carriers and probes in narrow spaces and channels. Their functionality depends on the deformation and mobility of the robots. Unilamellar vesicle is a useful tool to study the dynamics of a fluid enclosure under fluid flows or osmosis gradients. In this project, the new First-Year Scholars will work with a former First-Year Scholar to construct giant unilamellar vesicles and design a confined fluid environment to study the responses of giant unilamellar vesicles under such environment. The results are projected to shine a light on the design of cell-imitating microrobots that are potentially capable of drug delivery and diagnosis, as well as the understanding of the dynamics of living cells. For example, sarcoma and metastatic breast cells can migrate in confined channels via water permeation driven by sodium-hydrogen exchanger-induced ion fluxes. Since microrobots can sense chemicals and travel to the source via chemical attractants, the proposed work will also provide a basis for future studies when we begin to add proteins, channels, and pumps into the vesicle membrane.  

      We are looking for highly motivated freshmen to play significant roles in the project, along with other highly motivated undergraduate team members. The anticipated results include lab-created giant unilamellar vesicles that can be used to study the deformation of the vesicles under various flow environments. The giant vesicles are expected to range from 30 microns to 50 microns in diameter, which is small enough to be comparable to some large-sized cells but also large enough for future research when ion channels and pumps will be embedded into the membrane. The deformation of the vesicles will be quantified by the shear motion and the change of the aspect ratio under different flow and hydraulic pressure conditions.

    • At the end of the program, the First-Year Scholar should be able to:

      1. identify relevant literature for experimental protocols
      2. articulate research problems
      3. design experiments
      4. troubleshoot and optimize experimental procedures
      5. overcome challenges
      6. identify the biochemical properties of various solutions
      7. make giant unilamellar vesicles
      8. design control variable
      9. quantify the relationships among different variables
      10. work effectively in a team
      11. enhance communication skills
      12. deliver academic presentations
      13. write a research report
      1. Read and learn from literature
      2. Follow existing experiment protocols to construct giant unilamellar vesicles
      3. Design experiments on constructing confined-fluid environment
      4. Identify challenges and find solutions
      5. Analyze and organize results
      6. Work with team members to make progress
      7. Meet with the PI to report progress
    • Dr. Yizeng Li, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Liam Watson, Mechanical Engineering; Abinash Satapathy, Mechanical Engineering; Nazanin Rajabi, Mechanical Engineering; Lakshay Battu, Mechanical Engineering

    • This project develops a novel thermal coating for high-speed airplanes. The latest airplanes use carbon-fiber-reinforced-polymer (CFRP) for their body materials because of their light weight and extraordinary mechanical strength. For example, 53% of Airbus A350 body is made of CFRP. However, CFRP is degraded quickly by heat generated by friction during high-speed flying. Therefore, it is a critical issue to develop a coating material that can efficiently protect CFRP from frictional heating. In this research project, we develop a novel thermal coating material by combining nanostructured carbon with phenolic polymer. The flexibility of phenolic polymers prevents the coating material from being damaged by friction. The anisotropic thermal transport property of nanostructured carbon will spread heat accumulated in hot spots in a high-speed airplane over the airplane body surface efficiently, preventing the heat from being propagated into the CFRP body material. The high mechanical strength of nanostructured carbon will also increase the structural durability of the coating material.

    • At the end of the completion, students who participate in this research project will be able to:

      1. Simulate heat transfer in macro and nanoscale
      2. Set up experiments such as flame tests and thermal conductivity measurements
      3. Write a scientific report such as conference papers and journal articles
      4. Disseminate their research findings in conferences
    • Students will need to meet with the mentor weekly to report their research finding and progress in their research study. 

    • Dr. Jungkyu Park, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Rajeshwari Raja, Chemistry

    • Pregnancy is a complex and dynamic process that heavily impacts the mother's cardiovascular system. The inability to adapt to these changes can worsen previously silent cardiac disease and lead to complications for both mother and baby and, in some cases, death. In fact, complications arising from pregnancy-related cardiovascular disease are the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide and account for 15.5% of pregnancy-related deaths in the US alone. These trends are made more severe in the instance of maternal obesity, which is rapidly increasing in the developed world.

      Despite this, scientists and engineers are still struggling to find out how pregnancy can cause these complications and what can be done to reduce or completely resolve them. Although genetics may play a role in promoting complications in pregnancy, pregnancy-induced blood flow alterations have also emerged as a potential driver. Specifically, the altered fluid dynamics in the cardiovascular system may interact with heart valves and blood vessels and lead to impaired function and degradation. Furthermore, obesity is known to cause mechanical stress overloads within the cardiovascular system, which could compound with the effects of pregnancy and promote the development of cardiac diseases. Unfortunately, the exact nature of the local blood flow changes associated with obese pregnancy and their impact on the mechanical stresses acting on the cardiovascular system are not known yet.

      This project aims to use state-of-the-art computer simulations and clinical data from actual patients to provide major innovations in the field of women's cardiovascular health during high-risk obese pregnancy. We'll use 3D computational modeling techniques to look at the blood flow heart valves and blood vessels, and calculate the mechanical stresses acting on them. This project will, for the first time, provide a detailed assessment of the effects of obesity on cardiovascular blood flow over the course of pregnancy.

    • The student will:

      1. Learn the basic principles, theory, and techniques associated with both computational fluid dynamics and finite element modeling
      2. Experiment and help develop cutting edge computational techniques for simulating fluid-structure interactions.
      3. Develop a firm grasp of the principles of fluid mechanics as it relates to the cardiovascular system
      4. Learn key research practices such as: doing a literature review, preparing a simulation, time management and organization, preparing an academic paper, etc.
      5. Learn how to generate high-resolution images for scientific publication
    • The student will meet with the mentor twice per week: once for progress review and updates, and once for hands-on tutorials going through the computational setup procedures. The student will be expected to be able to work independently and think creatively to satisfy the various problems and issues that may arise.

    • Dr. Jason A. Shar, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Christopher Smith, Mechanical Engineering; Akash Umashankar, Mechanical Engineering; Andrew Huynh, Undeclared; Galilea Rosas Guzman, Mechanical Engineering

    • The project is focused on the design, development, and control of various bioinspired compliant and soft robots. Once the design is finalized, the product will be 3D printed using the appropriate filament either thermoplastic urethane, polylactic acid, or PETG. The data acquisition and reading from the sensors will be utilized to test the validity of the mathematical model. The simulations will be performed in Ansys, Adams, and Matlab Simulink.

    • The participating First-Year Scholar will have the opportunity to get training on:

      1. Designing systems in SolidWorks
      2. Performing motion analysis in SolidWorks
      3. 3D printing in both desktop type and industrial type 3D printers
      4. Reading from Arduino
      5. Conducting experiments on the developed systems
      6. Training on using Matlab/Matlab Simulink/Matlab Simscape
    • The student is responsible for attending biweekly meetings and working closely with our well-established group (Dynamics and Control Research Group) located in Norton Hall, R2-327.

      Please see our website:

    • Dr. Ayse Tekes, 


  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Aden Edwards, Mechatronics Engineering; Daniel Lieberman, Mechatronics Engineering

    • Ultrasound imaging procedure is one of the least invasive and most cost-effective imagining modalities which is widely being used in diagnostic applications. Ultrasound imaging is defined as application of high-frequency sound waves to view inside the body. This technique can be used for real-time imaging and unlike X-ray imaging there is no exposure to harmful ionizing radiation. FDA lists common ultrasound procedures as abdominal ultrasound, bone sonometry, breast ultrasound, echocardiogram, fetal ultrasound, and ultrasound-guided biopsies. To obtain ultrasound images, clinicians manually steer the ultrasound probe over the region of interest. Thus, the quality of ultrasound images is highly determined by human factors. A study on accuracy of ultrasound imaging indicates that extended training for postgraduates can improve the accuracy of the images form 65% to about 95%. Also, direct contact between the physicians and patients during the procedure increases the risk of infections diseases. In the case of a pandemic this can be catastrophic. For instance, WHO estimated that 115000 healthcare works have died from COVID-19. This could have been potentially avoided by acquiring robotic assisted remote diagnostic and therapeutic methods. There are many other reasons why a robotic assisted remote ultrasound system is in high demand such as: people who are living in rural areas have not access to skillful sonographer, reduction of the human errors and waiting time, and economical reasons.

      Robotic assisted ultrasound imaging has received a lot of interests recently. These systems generally consist of a robotic arm equipped with ultrasound probe and a joystick to control the motion of the robot arm. Thus, a physician can remotely steer the ultrasound prob over the region of interest without being in contact with the patient for diagnostic purposes. These robotics systems can be categorized into conventional rigid robots and soft robots. The rigid robots comprise of rigid metallic parts and heavily rely on application of external force sensors and monitoring systems to improve the safety of system. However, failure of these safety systems when a rigid robot arm is in direct contact with the patient can be catastrophic. On the other hand, soft robots have the potential to revolutionize the safe interaction of human and robotic systems due to the application of soft and compliant materials in the structure of the robot. Since force sensors cannot guarantee the safety of human robot interaction, application of soft, and lightweight materials in the structure of the robot would be critical to minimize the impact forces due to accidental collision between the robot and patient.  To the best of our knowledge there are only two soft robots designed for ultrasound imaging. The first one is a soft arm with 3 degrees of freedom (DOF). Noting that minimum required DOF for manipulation in 3-dimensional spaces is 6, this system suffers from limited maneuverability and cannot effectively perform imaging procedures. In fact, clinical data shows that effective ultrasound imaging of heart and abdomen requires 6 DOF. Also, considering the structure of the robot as a single soft arm, its output force and positioning accuracy is limited.  To address these issues, a soft parallel robot comprising of three soft actuators is developed. While application of a parallel structure improved the blocking force and positioning accuracy of the system, it only has 3 DOF and suffers from problem of limited maneuverability. To solve this issue for the first time we are proposing a novel 6 DOF soft parallel robot for ultrasound imaging.

      1. CAD modeling
      2. Ordering equipment
      3. 3D printing
      4. Kinematics analysis
      1. Modeling, design and fabrication
      2. Writing weekly reports
      3. Writing a conference paper
    • Dr. Amir Ali Amiri Moghadam, 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Django Sunny Leveson-Jones, Mechatronics Engineering

    • In mobile robot research, the robot needs to answer three main questions in order to make it navigate.

      1. Where am I?
      2. Where am I going?
      3. How do I get here?

      In order to address these questions on the Robotic Platform, we follow guidelines for the environmental model, for the interpretation and examination of the environment, for the location and condition of the system and for the planning of the movement.

      As we see, BATs navigation in the forest will resolve all the above questions by merely transmitting a sound wave and having to know the environment by hearing the echo.

      In the first part of the project, we will concentrate on creating a simulation environment like a forest and making our robot maneuver through acoustic laws. 

      The second step is to verify this strategy with a real robot and how fast the sensor is responding.

      But, on a larger scale, we can solve a lot of payload problems on robots and only set up a simple acoustic sensor to get to know the whole area.

    • It would be a great platform for multiple students to conduct quality research. Students will be involved in literature reviews and will learn using advanced software to develop Robotic algorithms.

      1. Literature survey and review the previous research on biology to biotechnology.
      2. Analyze the ideas and prepare solutions 
    • Dr. Muhammad Hassan Tanveer,