Mechanical and Materials EngineeringWestern Engineering

Automation Technologies and Systems

This area focuses on automation technologies, systems and control related to:

Mechatronics, Robotics, Sensors and Controls

Research in this broad area includes mechatronic systems, dynamics and control, robotics, sensors and actuators, real time control, micromechanics and geometric computing. Students interested in this area have the opportunity to investigate novel techniques, devices and systems to address challenging problems related to automation technologies, computer-assisted surgical robots, machine vision, geometric inspection, scientific visualization, and sensor development.

The following faculty members are involved in this area:

S. A. Asokanthan, Ph.D. (Waterloo, Canada), Professor

Primary research is in the area of inertial systems, sensors and control with emphasis on dynamics, control and damage detection in Flexible Multi-body Systems. In particular, characterization of inertial sensors, dynamic influence of sensors and effective use sensors for damage detection are of interest. Recent projects include dynamics and stability of MEMS-based angular rate sensors (Gyroscopes) and their applications in vehicle dynamics and control; dynamic behavior of RF-MEMS devices; damage detection in large-scale flexible structures; hybrid control of flexible robots.

R. O. Buchal, Ph.D., P.Eng. (British Columbia,Canada), Associate Professor

Research interests include inspection planning for coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), computer support for conceptual design, tools to support collaborative design, and computer applications in engineering education.

G. K. Knopf,Ph.D., P.Eng. (Saskatchewan, Canada), Professor

Research activities are directed toward the development of innovative optical sensors and imaging systems. Current interests include fibre optic sensors and systems, polymer based optically driven micro-actuators, and light sensitive bioelectronics. Recent research projects have focused on surface-geometry measurement using an unconstrained range-sensor head; modeling and analysis of the material removal process during laser machining; design and fabrication of a nickel-based micro-gripper; and the development of protein-based optical sensors and imaging arrays.

M. D. Naish, Ph.D., P.Eng. (Toronto, Canada), Assistant Professor

Primary research interests are directed towards improving the quality of information available to automated systems, with particular emphasis on adaptive multi-sensor robotic systems. The aim is to develop systems and strategies by which sensor and actuator components may be combined to produce flexible and robust sensor systems for a given application. Recent developments include a reconfigurable multisensor surveillance system, an active omnidirectional vision system, a flexible inspection system, and modular sensor components.

S. P. Salisbury, Ph.D., P.Eng. (Toronto, Canada), Assistant Professor

Research interest is in the development of novel actuators and control systems based on piezoceramics for high accuracy positioning. Piezoceramics have high power density and high accuracy which makes them ideal for miniaturization and use in demanding applications. Current focus is on the development of devices for biomedical applications. A major thrust is the development of a needle positioning surgical system based on piezoceramic actuators in an inchworm configuration. Improved control of needle interventions will increase success rates and permit more demanding surgeries.

O. R. Tutunea-Fatan Ph.D. (Western, Canada), Assistant Professor

Primary research is in the area of five-axis numerically controlled (NC) machining of complex surfaces, in an attempt to simultaneously improve the productivity and efficiency of the process through an optimized coordination of the machine tool movements. The research in the macroscale domain will be complemented by activities in the micromachining area, trying to address an increased need for precise miniaturized components. Due to numerous differences between macro- and microscale operations, it is expected that many of the macroscale results will require a significant amount of adjustment in order to become applicable in micromachining.