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Over the last several decades, advances in robotics have been exploited to reduce the manufacturing cost and improve quality in a wide variety of applications. This trend is expected to continue, and recent advances in robotics are expanding the role of robots from the mass production lines to small batch manufacturing. We are also beginning to see technology diffusion from the other direction as well and advances in manufacturing processes are being used to realize innovative robot designs and/or reduce the cost of robots. There appears to be a synergy between robotics and manufacturing areas, and advances in one field can be used to make significant advances in the other. In this seminar, I will present four case studies from our work to illustrate how this synergy can be exploited. The first case study will describe a hybrid assembly cell where humans and robots can safely and efficiently collaborate to perform mechanical assembly tasks. This new assembly method is enabled by new real time planning and operator tracking algorithms developed by our group. It enables leveraging complementary strengths of humans and robots in assembly tasks. The second case study will describe a new manufacturing process called in-mold assembly that has been realized by integrating customized robots inside the mold to eliminate post-molding assembly operations. Material is assembled in the liquid form during the in-mold assembly process, and hence articulated multifunctional structures that would have been otherwise impossible to realize can be made using this new process. The third case study will describe how in-mold assembly and additive manufacturing processes have been used to realize several different bird-inspired robots. The use of new manufacturing processes enabled us to significantly reduce the weight of the structure and realize a platform called Robo Raven, which uses independent wing control to perform aerobatics and is able to harvest solar energy using multi-functional wings. The final case study will describe how 3D printing is used to realize a robot that uses limbless locomotion. This robot is able to achieve high speed by utilizing exaggerated rectilinear gait enabled by a novel 3D printed parallel mechanism.
Dr. Satyandra K. Gupta is a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was the founding director of the Maryland Robotics Center. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, he was a Research Scientist in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, he is on an IPA assignment at National Science Foundation and serving as a program director in the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems. He manages National Robotics Initiative.
Dr. Gupta's interest is broadly in the area of automation. He is specifically interested in automation problems arising in Engineering Design, Manufacturing, and Robotics. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He has served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, ASME Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering, and SME Journal of Manufacturing Processes.
Dr. Gupta has received several honors and awards for his research contributions. Representative examples include: a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research in 2000, a Robert W. Galvin Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 2001, a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2001, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2001, Invention of the Year Award in Physical Science category at the University of Maryland in 2007, Kos Ishii-Toshiba Award from ASME Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Committee in 2011, and Excellence in Research Award from ASME Computers and Information in Engineering Division in 2013. He has also received six best paper awards at conferences and 2012 Most Cited Paper Award from Computer Aided Design Journal.