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Center for Automation Technologies and Systems

Center for Automation Technologies and Systems

March 2006 – December 2011
Advisor: Professor John Wen

Visually-Guided Multi-probe Microassembly, March 2006 – December 2011

  • Primary research project, Dissertation and Thesis
  • Collaboration with National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD
  • Process to assemble sub-millimetre parts to create complex MEMS devices
  • Uses sharp-tip probes instead of more complex and fragile microgrippers
  • Capable of grasping rectangular and curved objects
  • Full spatial manipulation capability
  • Microscope computer vision used for spatial feedback
  • Optical MEMS fiber alignment in collaboration with General Electric Global Research, Schenectady, NY
  • Applications:
    • Assembled MEMS
    • Microrobotics
    • Microsurgery
    • Nanotechnology instrumentation and fabrication
    • Lab-on-chip devices
    • Novel actuator technology
    • Optical-MEMS devices

Closeup view of the Microassembly Testbed manipulation workspace


Assembled microstructure consisting of four parts with overall dimensions of 800 um by 400 um


A micropart grasped and manipulated by probes

View of the Microassembly Testbed workcell


Motoman SDA10 Programming and Kinect Demonstration, July 2011

  • Developed high-level programming interface for industrial robot with high-speed controller option
  • Developed a demonstration where the robot will mirror motion of a human through Microsoft Kinect sensor
    • Completed in one week
    • Demonstrated for two members of the US Congress

Smart Lighting ERC Smart Room

  • Developed system integration software for smart room consisting of LED RGB lights, cameras, and wireless color sensors
  • Developed algorithm for feedback control of light fixtures through sensors
  • Testbed for next generation light control algorithm

Robot Raconteur, January 2010-December 2011

  • Open-source library for communication between nodes of robotic and automation systems
  • Message passing and object-based client-service operation
  • Simple serialization protocol with automatically generated thunk code
  • Open source, LGPL for integrated libraries
  • Language-neutral design
  • Currently supports MATLAB, xPC Target, C#, C++, Arduino
  • Used by multiple system in the CATS and the ERC Smart ROOM

Robot Raconteur layout

Schematic diagram of the topology of communication between nodes with Robot Raconteur


Schematic diagram of Client/Service communication within Robot Raconteur

Dual Arm System Upgrade and Refurbishment, May 2007 – December 2011

  • Refurbished a robotic system consisting of two PUMA 560 robots and a robot transporter system with three joints supporting each robot
  • Developed new computer-based controller using MATLAB xPC Target
  • Developed distributed control architecture and programming API

Live Cell Marker Tracking, August 2009 – December 2009

  • Developed tracking software for 3D microscopy of GFP markers
  • Used to measure behaviour of chromosomes during mitosis
  • Continued work by team after being reassigned to other project

ASOM scanning microscope adaptive optics control, January 2008-December 2009

  • Large region scanning microscope using adaptive optics
  • Developed system integration software
  • Developed reduced order Zernike function optimization method for adaptive optics mirror

iRobot Create Mobile Robots

  • Specified components and set up several robots with enhanced computers and vision systems
  • Used for simulation in formation control

iRobot Create augmented with PC104 stack, wireless networking, and webcams

Modeling and Control of a High Temperature Aluminum-Nitride Crystal Growth Furnace

  • Collaboration with Crystal IS, Green Island, NY
  • Used FEM software to model high temperature furnace and identify low-order model
  • Developed optimal controller based on Kalman estimator

Human Spine Kinematic Testing, January 2008 – December 2010

  • Robot used to move cadaver spine to replicate motions captured on live subjects
  • Sensors used to determine effects of fused vertebrae
  • Provided robot and data capture programming for biomedical team