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The Mechatronics Lab Faculty


Director:

Dr. Al Wicks

Affiliated Faculty and Researchers

Dr. John Bird

Dr. Kathleen Meehan

Dr. Andre Muelenaer Jr., MS, MD

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Graduate Students


    Image of Sam Abbott-McCune

Sam Abbott-McCune

Email: abbott-mccune@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • B.S. Electrical Engineering Technology, Virginia State University
  • M.S. Computer Science, Virginia Commonwealth University

Research Area (previous and current):

  • Magnetic Levitation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Security of Robotic Systems

Professional Awards:

  • Too many to list here.

    Image of Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown

Email: brownrc@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2012
Research Area (previous and current):
  • Advanced Perception for UGV's
  • Bio-Inspired Unmanned Underwater Vehicles
  • Heat Transfer Effects on Yield Stress of Aluminum Support Beams
Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:
  • Hobbies: Sports of any kind, guitar, board games and video games

    Image of James Burns

James Burns

Email: jamesianburns@gmail.com

Education: 

  • BS of ESM, Virginia Tech
  • BS of MATH,Virginia Tech

Research Area: 

  • Dynamics and Control

    Image of Carlos Caceres

Carlos Caceres

Email: cac7xy@vt.edu

Education

  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering

Research Area

  • Previous: Combustion, Digital Signal Processing.
  • Current: IR Camera Calibration, Electric Litter.

Interests: 

  • I have run three marathons in the past four years. 
  • I am originally from Peru. 
  • I love any kind of challenge.

Christopher Del Barga

Email: dchrist@vt.edu

Education

  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico Tech 2012

Research Area

  • Controls and Vehicle Dynamics

Interests: 

  • Hobbies: swimming, hiking, biking, writing, and travelling.
  • Interests: science fiction literature, US history, spectator sports, family, and friends

    Image of Bill Freeman

Bill Freeman

Email: Bill.Freeman@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • B.S. Electrical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Research Area (previous and current):

  • ROCKY Drive by wire system <--2010-2011
  • GUSS System Integrator <-- 2010-2012
  • Image Stabilization <-- Thesis
  • AITV Perception Team <--- 2012-future

Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:

  • Hiking, playing guitar and building robots

    Image of William French

William French

Email: french13@vt.edu

Education:
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering- Virginia Polytechnic Institue and State University, 2011
Research Area:
  • Thesis- A Conceptual Design and Economic Justification for Small Autonomous Harvesters
  • Autonomous Agriculture
  • Mechatronics Design
  • System Design
Interest/Hobbies:
  • Bluegrass and Americana music
  • Agriculture
  • Politics
  • Virginia Tech Football
  • Cooking for large groups

    Image of Ben Goldman

Ben Goldman

Email: bgoldman@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • A.S. Engineering, Virginia Western CC , 2008;
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2011

Research Area (previous and current):

  • Research: Perception for UGVs
  • Thesis: Multi-spectral 3D scene reconstruction

Professional Awards:

  • SMART Scholar 2010, 2011

Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:

  • Hobbies: Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball
  • Fun Facts: I wanted to build robots since 6th grade and got my first pair of flip-flops when I was 20.

    Image of David Hamm

David Hamm

Email: dwhamm@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Minor in Green Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2011

Research Area (previous and current):

  • Hybrid Vehicles
  • Autonomous Vehicles

Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:

  • Disc Golf
  • Video Games

    Image of Philip Jones

Philip Jones

Email: pjones3@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico, 2011
  • M.S. Mechanical Engineering (current), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Research Area (previous and current):

  • Nano-material synthesis (undergrad at UNM)
  • Smart grid theory and simulation (UNM)
  • Trajectory Generation and Optimization for Spacecraft Maneuvers (AFRL)
  • Sensor Development for Autonomous Vehicles (Virginia Tech)

Professional Awards:

  • BG Taylor Graduate Award- 2012

Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:

  • Motorcycles, billiards, cooking, guitar, and anything outside.

    Image of Elizabeth Mogren

Elizabeth Mogren

Email: ebonnell@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • B.S. Physics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • B.S. Mathematics, , Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Research Area (previous and current):

  • Elementary particle physics - QWeak experiment measuring the weak interaction in proton-electron elastic scattering to gain insight in the Standard Model. Specifically designing and building drift chambers for experiment calibration.
  • Manufacturing Engineering responsible for manufacturing processes, documentation, and instructions for components of non-contacting optical data links for CT Scan application.
  • Networking sensors used for autonomy in autonomous vehicles using optical fibers.

Professional Awards:

  • Daniel C. & Delia F. Grant Scholarship 2006 – 2007
  • Webster & Sara Schoene Richardson Memorial Scholarship 2005 – 2006
  • Dean’s List 2000, 2001, 2005 – 2008
  • USAA Spirit Award VTNROTC 2001 – 2002

Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20


    Image of Daniel Moodie

Dan Moodie

Email: dmoodie@vt.edu

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • BS in Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2012

Research Area (previous and current):

  • 3D scene reconstruction for visualization

Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:

  • Gymnastics, computers, video games, and computer programming.

    Image of Christian Roa

Christian Roa

Email: Crroa7@vt.edu

Education

  • BS ME, Virginia Tech

Research Area

  • Switching mode power supplies 
  • High efficiency DC-DC conversion
  • Power monitoring for smart power networks

Interests: 

  • Swing Dancing
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking

    Image of Thomas Ruscher

Thomas Ruscher

Email: thrusc@vt.edu

Education:

  • BS Physics, College of William and Mary
  • Graduate Student, ME & ECE, Virginia Tech

Research Area:

Electronics! Analog, digital, microcontroller/embedded, computing, etc. Current (Fall 2012) research project is the design of a miniature-sized ultrasonic air flow meter for medical applications, a great hybrid ME/ECE project.

Interests:

It’s a delight to help others understand electronics, and to empower them to design with confidence. Outside of the lab, I occasionally take on home remodeling projects. The outdoors is very important, particularly hiking and wilderness backpacking.


    Image of Chuck Sanders

Chuck Saunders

Educational History (degrees held, etc.):

  • AA&S in Engineering, NRCC
  • BSME, Virginia Polytechnic and State University

Research Area (previous and current):

  • Hybrid autonomy

Hobbies, interests, fun facts, anything else:

  • Experienced auto mechanic.
  • Navy vet (carrier nuke mechanic).
  • Married for seven years.
  • All-around cool guy.

    Image of Latonya Scott

Latonya Scott

Email: lscott@vt.edu

Education

  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

Research Area

  • PMDI

Interests: 

  • Reading
  • Watching movies
  • Hanging with friends
  • Fun Fact: I have ten brothers and sisters.

    Michael Teresi

Michael Teresi

Email: mteresi@vt.edu

Education:

  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

Research Area:

  • Graduate research on digital image registration and fusion for autonomous ground vehicles.
  • Extensive experience in LabVIEW programming for data acquisition and processing
  • Additional experience in printed circuit design and fabrication for data acquisition.

Interests:

  • Jazz trumpeter
  • Racquetball player
  • Amateur telescope maker
  • Homebrewer

    Image of Mark Umansky

Mark Umansky

Email: mumansky@vt.edu

Education:

  • BSME 2011
  • MSME 2013 (expected)

Research Area:

  • Multispectral computer vision for unmanned ground vehicles

Professional Awards:

  • 2011 ASME IDETC Student Design Competition, first place

Interests:

  • Collegiate Times photographer

    Image of Andrew Zetts

Andrew Zetts

Email: andrewz@vt.edu

Education:

  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech,  2012

Research Area:

  • HEAT (Hybrid Electric Autonomous Team)
  • AITV

Interests:

  • Jeopardy
  • Crossword puzzles
  • I am always down to be on your team for trivia night!

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Undergraduate Students


    Image of Hannah Barber

Hannah Barber


    Image of Robert Burgess

Robert Burgess

Email: Rburge7@vt.edu

Education

  • BSME 2013

Research Area

  • Humanoid robotics
  • Robotic perception

Interests: 

  • Soccer

    Image of Melanie Carlson

Melanie Carlson

Email: melanc3@vt.edu

Education: 

  • Undergraduate, Biological Sciences

Research Area: 

  • PMDI/Sleep Lab

Interests: 

  • Volleyball
  • Hiking
  • SCUBA diving
  • Employed at Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea

Andrew Jung

Email: ajung@vt.edu

Education:

  •  BS EE 2014

Research Area

  • PMDI (Wireless data acquisition)

Interests: 

  • Listening to music! 
  • Rollerblading and ice skating. 
  • I like rhythmic activities.

Andrew Palmer

Email: ahpalmer@vt.edu

Education: 

  • Undergraduate

Research Area: 

  • Assistant on the autonomous harvester project

Interests: 

  • Cadet Sergeant Major in the Corps of Cadets
  • Visited Italy this summer to sing with the VT Chamber Choir.

    Image of Okmin Pyon

Okmin Pyon

Email: shinji99@vt.edu

Education

  • Mechanical Engineering Class of 2013; BS/MS Dual Enrollment Program, Computer Science Minor

Research Area

  • PED-ER
  • PMDI

Interests: 

  • Huge fan of Science and fantasy fictions

    Image of David Reeves

David Reeves 

Email: dreeves@vt.edu 

Education:

  • Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering 

Research Area: 

  • GUSS-ITV
  • Additive Manufacturing 

Interests:

  • Sailing
  • Triathlons
  • Brazilian jujitsu
  • Marine ROTC

    Image of Ryan Sandor

Ryan Sandor

Email: Ryans92@vt.edu

Education

  • Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering

Research Area

  • Technology to playback 90+ year old Edison wax cylinder records with a laser.

Professional Awards: 

  • Deans list fall 2011, spring 2012, fall 2012
  • Gamma Beta Phi honor society member.

Interests: I have lived in Singapore for 4 years and have visited 18 countries and 20 states. My hobbies include Classic cars, collecting and restoring vintage electronics (I now own every form of media ever), model railroading, electronic circuit and mechanical device designing and building. I have worked an internship at GE and hope to create a steam car in the future as an attempt at solving the energy crisis.


    Image of Josh Stadler

Josh Stadler

Email: sjosh723@vt.edu

Education:

  • Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Research Area:

  • Automation

Interests:

  • Trumpet Player
  • Wallyball
  • PVP Minecraft Server Host
  • Interested in learning violin
  • Marching Virginians

    Image of Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor

Email: ashleyt1@vt.edu

Education: 

  • Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: 

  • Pediatric Medical Device Institute (PMDI)- early detection of neurological disorders in infants using accelerometers

Interests: 

  • Smiles
  • People
  • Healthcare
  • Playing the piano
  • Sweet tea
  • Running

    Courtney Tamaro

Courtney Tamaro

Email: cat1992@vt.edu

Education: 

  • Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: 

  • AITV: hydraulic steering and braking

Interests: 

  • Salsa dancing
  • Appalachian Service Project
  • Quidditch
  • Running

    Image of Marcus Thoreson

Marcus Thoreson

Email: ldex56@vt.edu

Education:

  • Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering

Research Area

  • Autonomous Systems

    Image of Craig Tripp

Craig Tripp

Email: ctripp91@vt.edu

Education: 

  • Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: 

  • Controls
  • Autonomous Vehicles

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Alumni


Alex Cope

Patrick Curry

Matt Dowden

Jonathan Gaines

Carlos Guevara

Kevin Murray

Chuong Nguyen

Allen Stanley

Phillip Tweedy

Jonathan Weekly


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