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Our Automation Robotics Lab links together mechanical, electrical, microprocessor and computer engineering sciences, allowing students to create intelligent machines based on optical tracking and sensing and précising techniques. Our lab provides hands-on experience working with a variety of automated systems, including robotic arms for positioning and grasping. Students learn principles of rapid assembly technology utilized in important industries, such as the automotive, to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
- Students combined theory with practical experience to build such high tech devices as a “sight-to-touch” Force Feedback Controller to assist surgeons by allowing them to virtually “feel” skin and tissue textures while performing robotic surgery.
- A student-built, smart tennis ball machine utilizes laser-guided, optical sensing technology to detect where the player is standing. The machine ejects the ball away from the player, offering a more challenging exercise than traditional machines, which eject tennis balls at arbitrary angles, regardless of where the player is standing. Such experiments teach students real-life applications, which can be transferred to other fields, such as the military, to develop missile-guided systems.
- Students designed an automated, computer programed painter to draw images on a board, based on input.
- Using optical tracking technology, an automated package color identification system was designed for the postal service to automatically identify package color and place correct tracking route labels express, regular or priority – based on package color patterns
- Students built a human tracking camera, which swivels on multi-axis, based on where a human is standing or moving. Image contrasts also determine camera positioning.
- Dr. Xiaoli Zhang is the Automation Robotics Lab Manager. . An Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Zhang earned her PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009. Her main research interests are robotics and biomedical applications, especially robotics for minimally invasive surgery, haptics in rehabilitation, and intelligent human-machine interaction.