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Mechatronics Lab

Ultrasonic Airflow Sensor for Tracheostomy Patients- PMDI

The Ultrasonic Airflow Sensor for Tracheostomy Patients is one of the many medical devices and care solutions that PMDI is working to develop.

    Picture of Thomas working on the Ultrasonic Airflow Sensor

Ultrasonic Airflow Sensor for Tracheostomy Patients- PMDI

The Ultrasonic Airflow Sensor for Tracheostomy Patients is one of the many medical devices and care solutions that PMDI is working to develop.

    Picture of Thomas working on the Ultrasonic Airflow Sensor

GUSS - Applied Autonomy

The GUSS project is the main focus of the Applied Autonomy section of the Mechatronics Lab.

   

GUSS Project Image The GUSS project is the main focus of the Applied Autonomy section of the Mechatronics Lab.

We are the Mechatronics Lab at Virginia Tech..."Creating Practical Engineering Solutions"

This lab focuses on creating practical engineering solutions by integrating sensors and microcontrollers in to military and medical applications. Dr. Al Wicks, our advisor, has a background in autonomous vehicles, pediatric medical devices, experimental modal analysis, digital signal processing, golf club dynamics, laser-based transducers and instrumentation.

Our two main areas of research are Applied Autonomy and Medical Devices. Applied Autonomy is really at the core of our lab's philosophy. We have several projects which aim at adding to the field of autonomous technology. Funded by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, we are currently involved with several projects with the U.S. Marine Corps. These include:

  • Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS)
  • LIDAR-Camera Sensor Fusion
  • Multispectral Perception to Identify Vegetation, Water, and Humans
  • Switching Mode DC-DC Converter
  • Autonomous Network Triangulation System (ANTS)
    An oscilloscope connected to a circuit board shows a waveform

In addition to these research projects listed above, the Mechatronics Lab has focused for several years on providing courses to build students' interest in electromechanical systems. These courses aptly-named Mechatronics I and II, focus on microcontrollers, sensors, and hands on applications. It is offered mainly for senior undergraduate students. These engineers are exposed to the world of LabVIEW, electrical circuitry, microcontroller programming, serial communication, GPS systems, motor control, printed circuit boards, TCP communication, computer vision, and wireless communication. These tools are the basis for most of the research that goes on in our lab.

It is becoming very common for undergraduate students, in the Mechatronics courses, to become graduate students in the lab and go on to make contributions as researchers. In addition, other classes, such as Applied Autonomous Mobile Robotics are under development.  Truly our lab strives to provide students the tools necessary to succeed. With the wide variety of projects we have, there is always a fit for dedicated individuals hoping to make a difference.

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