DIMLab - Design of Innovative Machines Lab

The Design of Innovative Machines Lab (the DIMLab) is home to the design team led by Dr. Drew Murray and Dr. Dave Myszka of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. The primary goal of the team is to create, design, build, and test novel machines and mechanisms for a variety of applications while generating the theory that supports these innovations. The DIMLab is in Kettering Labs, room 143, on the University of Dayton campus. 



On June 1, we launched our DIMLab My Mini Factory site featuring printable DIMLabyrinths like the one seen to the left. A DIMLabyrinth is a 3-dimensional maze that fills the space in a cube. To download and print your own, please visit our My Mini Factory site! Watch the videos below to see what game play looks like. In the case of the 3-by-3-by-3, our S3RP3NTIN3 DIMLabyrinth puzzle, you can see it smoothly solved in the video on the left. In the case of the 5-by-5-by-5, our Cube-asaurus Rex DIMLabyrinth puzzle, you can see the frustration caused by this challenging puzzle in the video on the right! 

The videos below show DIMLabyrinth mazes generated by our MATLAB code. The code guarantees all spots in the cube are visited and that a path connects the input location to the output location. The video immediately below shows a very challenging 10-by-10-by-10 maze.

This video shows a far less challenging 3-by-3-by-3 maze.

May 15: The mannequin in this video shows off the statically equivalent serial chain (SESC). He teaches us about the SESC using some sweet dance moves, so be sure to crank up your sound! The SESC is a way of visualizing and tracking the center of mass. Once the SESC is constructed through some initial experiments, the center of mass is located from the kinematics alone. No force plates or sensing of other data is needed! In the video, the SESC is the set of links that begins at hip center. Note how the SESC moves as the mannequin moves.
The virtual mannequin stars in the video. The actual mannequin exists too! Recent testing was performed in the Motion Analysis Lab in Fitz Hall (room 220F) with Allison Kinney's biomechanics team. We're hoping to compare the actual data to the virtual data from the model!

May 1: The images and videos below are from Noel Michel's undergraduate honors thesis project "Designing Fictional Spaces: Questionable Architecture that Supports Sustainable Design." Noel constructed weird and paradoxical spaces described in three pieces of short fiction using the Rhinoceros 3D modeling package. The first video and the three images below it are from Jorge Luis Borges's "The Library of Babel." The author details a library that is seemingly infinite in scale (it has more books than there are atoms in the universe!) yet is actually finite.

This video is from Donald Barthelme's "The Balloon" about a massive balloon that appears over New York City.

Frank Kafka wrote a short(-ish!) story called "The Burrow." The narrator describes an underground lair that he has fashioned himself. The two images below are inspired by the story.

April 22: Thirteen DIMLab members presented their research at the Stander Symposium: 
  • Dillon Balk - Soft Robot Actuator Design for Digital Light Processing
  • Anthony Bazler & Nick Lanese - Design of a Trike for Paraplegics Powered By Functional Electrical Stimulation of Leg Muscles
  • Yizhen Cai - A Novel Approach to Design Planar Four-Bar Linkages for Approximation Motion Synthesis
  • Tiangang Chen - A Fast Algorithm for Solving the Kinematics of Hyper Redundant Robots
  • Robert McCarren - Automated Design of Truss-Based Mechanical Components Using Topology Optimization
  • Noel Michel - Designing Fictional Spaces: Questionable Architecture that Supports Sustainable Design
  • Austin Mills - Assessment of the Structural Suitability of Tensegrity Aircraft Wings
  • Mohamed Mohamed - Optimization of Solar Array Positioning Actuators for Small Satellites
  • Chengwei Shi - Design Modeling of Spatial Shape-Change Linkages
  • Adam Wicks - DIMLabyrinths: Printable 3D Cube Mazes
  • Tianze Xu - Dimensioning Mechanical Press Architecture for Improved Dwell using Advanced Algebraic Techniques
  • Xingyu Zhu - Dimensioning Mechanical Presses Driven by a Geared Five-Bar for Desired Dwell using Advanced Algebraic Techniques

April 15: The DIMLab is currently working with a team at the Labatoire d'Informatique, de Robotique et de Microelectronique de Montpellier (LIRMM) in France. The goal is to develop tricycles powered by FES stimulated leg muscles in drivers with para- or tetraplegia. The official site for the project is freewheels.inria.fr. The video below shows one of the concepts for modifying the pedaling mechanism.

April 1: The DIMLab has a long standing interest in shape-changing mechanisms. A concept for a morphing wing using tensegrity is shown below.

On July 26th, Drew Murray gave an invited presentation in Shanghai, China at Shanghai UniversityThe title of the talk was "Designs with Many Moving Parts - The Links Between Things." He was hosted in Nanjing by Feng Feng (Jeff) Xi and Yingzhong Tian.

On May 5, Justin Ehren graduated from UD with his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. He joined the UD Renewable and Clean Energy master's program. This is a video of a mechanism for extending an orientable solar array away from a 3U cubesat. The video was made by Ben Millard and Dillon Balk to assist Justin in presenting the modeling work he did for his honors thesis on this topic.

On May 1st, Yucheng Li was awarded a Graduate Student Summer Fellowship. These awards are from the Graduate School at the University of Dayton and provide a stipend for the summer!

On April 24th, eleven DIMLab members presented their research at the Stander Symposium: 
  • Austin Mills - Assessment of Tensegrity-Based Aircraft Wings Capable of Morphing
  • Yucheng Li - Spatial Chains for Matching 3-Dimensional Curves
  • Andy Bazler & Bennett Snyder - Design of a Trike for Paraplegic Use with FES
  • Ben Millard & Dillon Balk - Design Modeling of Various CubeSat Solar Arrays Configurations
  • Justin Ehren - Energy Analysis and Orbit Simulation of Actuated CubeSat Solar Arrays
  • Matt Deters & Zack Jordan - Linkages In Mechanical Presses That Produce Substantial Dwell
  • Alex Seither & Ian Melnyk - Tracking the Center of Mass of a Human Using a Statically Equivalent Serial Chain


On February 15th, the DIMLab moved from Fitz Hall to Kettering Labs. Check out our new space:
Yucheng Li and Professor Dave Myszka at the 2019 Stander Symposium