Advanced Manufacturing Processes
MINI Lab's research in Advanced Manufacturing Processes focuses on collecting and unifying data from all manufacturing aspects at the process level (e.g. product and tooling designs, process parameters and tooling condition, real-time force and temperature recording, product inspection data) to generate theoretical and fundamental understandings of the processes through innovative monitoring methods, numerical modelling, and data analysis. Such understandings help develop new smart manufacturing processes and/or improve current ones and corresponding machine tools for enhanced capabilities, flexibility, and product quality.
Brain Machine Interface (BMI)
Understanding how the brain works is one of the greatest unsolved scientific challenges of our time. As the BRAIN Initiative 2.0 Strategic Planning points out, “the most ambitious goals from BRAIN 2025, such as recording the activity of 1 to 10 million neurons in a behaving mammal, remain out of reach”. Ultra-miniaturized (< 25 µm diameter) electrodes of soft materials flying under the radar of our immunization system are needed for large-scale chronic recording/stimulation of neural activities. But such devices (e.g. carbon fibers of 7 µm diameter) face challenges due to laborious hand-assembly methods and the need for sophisticated implantation techniques due to the delicate nature. Solving such dilemma requires tissue cutting expertise. Also, human effort needed in a brain-wide recording setup calls for automatic assembly and assistive devices to revolutionize the current labor-intensive implantation process lacking accuracy or repeatability.
MINI Lab's research in brain machine interface uses our manufacturing expertise to focus on three main aspects: fabrication, implantation, and customization. Our research is dedicated to define the next-generation interface with the optimized body and tip geometry and smallest size possible to reach custom targeted brain areas for chronic recording and/or stimulation with corresponding novel techniques and platforms to enable automatic and repeatable fabrication and minimum-damage implantation of such interfaces.
Biomedical manufacturing is the application of manufacturing technology to advance the safety, quality, cost, efficiency, and speed of healthcare service and research.
MINI Lab's research in this area utilizes both physics- and data-based modelling to understand the healthcare procedures from manufacturing aspect and make the surgeon-skill-dependent processes “smarter”. Our work on custom assistive device manufacturing evolves the current labor-intensive processes by digitization and additive manufacturing. Our research philosophy to solve these biomedical challenges focuses on a) duplication of clinical practice with engineering measurements to mathematize the problem, b) statistical analysis to identify key factors, and c) theoretical and modelling work to provide solutions.