Dynamic systems & robotics research
Mechanical Engineering research involvement at NAU
Our research in dynamics and robotics covers a wide variety of topics ranging from UAV systems to advanced prosthesis to new actuators. Details on some of our research projects in dynamics & robotics are described below. Please contact the lead faculty to learn more about any of our research projects.
Marine energy harvesting for remote sensor systems Accordion Closed
Lead: Micahel Shafer
Keywords: Energy harvesting, wildlife telemetry, marine, solar power
Energy harvesting is used in terrestrial sensor applications, but is largely absent in the marine sensor field despite several possible harvesting methods and calls for use by the ocean science community. This project has focused on working with wildlife telemetry manufactures to identify practical ambient marine energy transduction methods and then developing methods to assess their potential for supplementing telemetry system energy budgets. Despite the inherent benefits of solar power, the inability to quantify energy production capacity in the marine environment has precluded adoption. This project has worked to develop the methods for marine environment solar power energy assessment through both analytic and experimental methods.
UAV Tracking System for Monitoring Wildlife Accordion Closed
Twisted Polymer Actuators Accordion Closed
Magnetic shape memory alloys (MSMAs) can undergo a recoverable deformation in the presence of a magnetic field or mechanical load. In this project, our group has developed several thermodynamic based models to predict the magneto-mechanical behavior of MSMAs, the most recent of which is fully three-dimensional. We are also trying to optimize use of MSMAs for various applications, most notably current work focuses on power harvesting with MSMAs.
Wearable exoskeletons to improve gait in individuals with movement disorders Accordion Closed
Lead: Zach Lerner
Keywords: Robotics, Exoskeleton, Biomechanics
Dr. Lerner’s Biomechatronics Lab is conducting research on the design and control of wearable exoskeletons to improve walking efficiency and posture in individuals with neurological disorders.
Test fixture development for Powered Prosthesis Accordion Closed
Lead: John Tester
Keywords: Prosthesis, robotics, automation, orthotics
Powered lower limb (ankle-foot) prostheses are now in the marketplace, yet their effective operation is limited to level walking. Stair ascent and particularly descent proves problematic in their operation. In order to test new control operational concepts, we are developing automated test systems for these prosthesis devices. The test systems will enable repeatable inputs into the wearable robotic devices, allowing for rapid control redesign without the need for direct human testing until the final device design is proven in the laboratory.