The Center for Robotics Research was established in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering by the Board of Trustees in June, 1983 to provide a focal point for the community in the growing field of robotics. Dr. Ernest L. Hall, Paul E. Geier Professor of Robotics, is the Director of the Center. The staff and students of the Center workwith industry engineers and scientists, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and the community on a variety of robotics activities including research, teaching and service activities.
The research objectives include new robot designs, robot kinematics and dynamics, robot vision and navigation, designing control structures for robot systems and manufacturing systems, artificial intelligence systems such as expert systems, neural networks and fuzzy logic for robotics applications, computer architectures, and applications for automated and man/machine systems. Potential applications include a variety of automated control systems, material handling, and material processing systems for industrial applications including hazardous material handling, rehabilitation robotics and space systems.
As a research unit, the Center also specializes in particular areas such as intelligent robots and robot vision to effective accomplish significant results. Significant results include preparing researchers for industrial research, training teachers for universities, developing prototype machines to demonstrate technologies which may be licensed to industry, inventions which can be patented, software developments, application solutions, technology transfer, and general research that advances the state of the art.
The Center prefers long range basic and applied research in intelligent robotic systems. Such systems are intended to broaden the spectrum of applications of modern automation to tasks which are now considered difficult or impossible to implement. The Center provides a framework for merging concepts from the fields of machine design, artificial and machineintelligence, and advanced control
Research concentrations include the design and analysis of both stationary and mobile robotic systems, robot vision and sensory based controls, robot control systems, robot programming languages, work cell interfacing , human/machine interfacing, and robotic applications to industry, environmental problems, medical and defense applications. Industrial applications include intelligent machine designs for new advanced material handling systems, advanced manufacturing systems, material distribution systems and assembly systems. Emphasis is placed on cross-disciplinary research for major breakthroughs in the state of the art.
Support for the Center is provided by grants, contracts and gifts from industry, government and individuals. Industrial support has been received from the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Sciences, Cincinnati Milacron, General Electric, the Kroger Company, James River Corporation, Timken Corporation, GMF Inc., Multicon Inc., Tennant, Chiquitta Brands, Inc., Procter & Gamble, Jergens, Westinghouse, FERMCO, and others. Government support has been received from the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Edison Program, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the USAF and others.
Collaborative efforts are encouraged with other university departments interested in industrial robots and intelligent machines. The Center was instrumental in the award to the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Nuclear Engineering of the Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics and in the award of the NSF Multi-University Material Handling Research Center.
As a major research unit, the Center works to provide the following services to society: advanced education and training in state of the art robotic systems; research into fundamental problems and questions regarding robot design, safety and applications; training researchers for industry and universities; consultation for industry and government facilities; solutions for particular industrial problems; software and hardware prototype developments; and publications and inventions.
The Center currently has a variety of robotic, sensory systems and computers available for research studies. Industrial robots currently available include a GE P-50, a GE A-40 and a GMF A-1. Two control engineering Automated Guided Vehicles are also available. A Sun SPARC 10 workstation is connected to the university network and world wide web.
Several vision systems including a Gould array processor, two GE Optovision systems and two Automatic vision systems as well as a variety of PC vision systems are available.
Several Pentium and other PC's are also available. An experimental optical bench andvarious workstations and tools are also available. Close proximity to the department electronics shop and the college machine shop permit students to access to a variety of electronics equipment and machine tools.
Under the generic research topic of intelligent machines, projects have been conducted on industrial robot applications, mobile robot designs, work cell simulation, robot safety, three dimensional measurements, medical imaging, and software development.
The teaching function accomplished by the Center personnel include the graduate course in Intelligent Systems Theory, the senior and graduate sequence in Robotics Applications, Robot Control, Robot Design, and Robot Vision as well as the undergraduate course in Manufacturing Controls and other courses as required. The service function accomplished by Center personnel includes demonstrations to students and industrial visitors, contracts and expert witness testimony.
Also the research students at the Center have been participating in the "International Ground Robotics Competition" conducted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems since 1991. The performance of the BEARCAT Cub robot (and its earlier version Bearcat I, II and III) has been commendable. In 2008, the team was placed among the top 10 teams in all the contests held at Oakland, Michigan, and has performed impressively at other recent competitions as well. We look forward to the 2012 IGVC competition. The team also participates in the ION lawnmower competition, which is held in Dayton.