The Vessel Dynamics Lab had a fabulous time at IEEE/MTS Oceans 2023 in Limerick, Ireland, where graduate student researcher Vanessa Barth presented on “Gaze controlled underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to improve accessibility in maritime robotics” and undergrad researcher Sam Athapaththu presented his “Autonomous modular water collection system.”
Capstone Team Buoy for the 2022-2023 academic year worked to prototype a (currently) remote controlled (aiming for autonomous) miniature version of the FLIP ship. Here is a brief example of sea trials in the horizontal configuration.
One of our 2022-2023 capstone projects was the design and build of a sprint capable underwater glider. Check out their video here.
The paper is in progress, but here’s a sneak peak at Vanessa Barth’s work on eye gaze control using a BlueROV2 as the test platform. From the ROV’s eye-view through the window in the water tank, Vanessa can be spotted facing her computer around 28 seconds in.
Thank you all sincerely for your role in getting Mason to the 2022 RobotX competition in Penrith, Australia. Our travel team consisted of six individuals – three undergrads: Emina Sinanovic, Damion Colgrove, and Orion Colgrove, one grad student: Vanessa Barth, one alum: Reginald Lockhart, and me. Due to global shipping challenges, we made a tactical decision a couple months out not to ship the boat, and to participate technically as a “documentation only” team. That said, RoboNation generously provided us on-site workspace, and we traveled with our UAV and sensing packages, joining a team of teams with Lake Superior State University and Queensland University of Technology. Mason was able to tick off two competition tasks – the heartbeat message and UAV search and rescue. It was exciting to see the onsite team work, as lead Reggie kept everyone on task, optimistic, and enthusiastic while rapidly tapping into resources from last year’s work, Emina and Vanessa rallied to make the heartbeat happen, and Orion and Damion successfully executed UAV waypoint navigation and perception, all supported by the months of effort students and alums put into the project over the last year, plus wonderful camaraderie from all on-site teams, particularly our LSSU/QUT newfound friends.
Over the course of the last year, we engaged 26 students from mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, and systems engineering and operations research in this maritime robotics opportunity. This was made possible by amazing faculty mentors from each of those departments: Greg Stein, Jana Kosecka, Lance Sherry, Ali Raz, Erion Plaku, Daigo Shishika, Cameron Nowzari, and Nathan Kathir who oversees the ME department’s capstone program, industry sponsors Gibbs & Cox, Beck Foundation, and the US Government, our volunteer “customer” and source of RobotX knowledge extraordinaire CAPT Dave Edwards, and the stupendous Mason support we received including, but not limited to, Ardiana Brahja for purchasing, Johnnie Hall with prototyping and machining, Melissa Perez and Zachary Machuga on export compliance and shipping, and Kim Goodwin-Slater and Kayla Hine on finance.
Julianna Smith and the whole team at RoboNation and Kelly Cooper at ONR – thank you so much for this opportunity and rolling with us when we made our tactical shift. Travis Moscicki, thank you for your patience and coaching on the heartbeat. Justin Hechinger at Camzilla, thank you for making sure our drone would have power once we got to Australia. To the volunteers from the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia – thank you for keeping things safe and lively. And to the best volunteer embedded judge a team could ask for – Julie Young, big thanks for your wisdom, positivity, and reminders to take lots of photos and enjoy the experience. On the topic of photos, attached are two of my favorites – the Mason team on site and the LSSU/QUT/Mason megateam.
Thank you all, and looking forward to 2024!
The RoboNation’s 2022 RobotX competition is about a month away! Here’s a video showcasing our travel team.
Check out podcast episode 6 of The Mason Mechanical Engineer which includes conversations with RobotX team members!
We are fielding a team for the 2022 RobotX challenge! So very excited after the first assembly of our WAM-V a few weeks ago. Exciting things on the horizon in maritime robotics at Mason!
Congratulations to the Mason PEP team on their 2nd place finish in the “unmanned” category of ASNE’s Promoting Electric Propulsion competition held at the 2021 Multi-Agency Craft Conference (MACC). This represented the culmination of three senior design team’s efforts – a hull team and propulsion team in the 2019-2020 academic year, and a holistic team to pull it all together in the 2020-2021 academic year. Despite pandemic, these students’ hard work paid off the minute their boat entered the water. Proud of y’all. Well done!
Mason’s Team Leviathan had a successful first day of open water testing in advance of the 2021 Promoting Electric Propulsion (PEP) competition!
The Vessel Dynamics Laboratory is looking to add a post-doctoral researcher to the team. The ideal candidate would have expertise in agent based modeling and/or smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH), past work experience with human subjects, and an enthusiasm for occupational safety research. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please contact Leigh!
Congratulations to Vessel Dynamics lab alum Brook Sherman – USCG Base Elizabeth City is in good hands!
Vessel Dynamics Lab alum Rosa Avalos-Warren is making news for her support of the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch. Check out NASA Goddard’s website to read the full story! So proud of you Rosa!
Check out this great article about Dhawal Bhanderi’s work to help supply Hampton Roads hospitals with PPE: https://volgenau.gmu.edu/news/584831
This is an RC to autonomous conversion done by undergraduate researcher Dhawal Bhanderi. In this video, at 4x speed, it starts off running autonomously, Dhawal takes control as it goes under the dock, then returns it to autonomous waypoint tracking. Check out the video:
McCue, L., “Design Trends in Unmanned Systems,” SNAME/IBEX 2019, Tampa, FL, September 30, 2019.
Moises is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at George Mason University. He is currently working on doing high speed planing hull simulations to represent the Generic Prismatic Planing Hull (GPPH). After graduation, he plans on going to grad school to pursue a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. Outside of academia you can find him reading fiction novels, playing super smash bros, and working out.
As we get ready to kick off the 2019-2020 academic year, I’m thrilled to be settling into new lab space at GMU’s Potomac Science Center. While furniture is still on order, computing power has arrived along with enough SeaPerch and SeaGlide kits to last us through some kickoff STEM outreach activities. If you’re in the neighborhood, come by and visit: 1203 Potomac Science Center, 650 Mason Ferry Ave, Woodbridge VA!
This video gives a short overview on the history and thought process behind the fishing vessel safety apps SCraMP and FVdrills. App Store links for the apps are:
- SCraMP: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/scramp/id456343416
- FVdrills: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/fvdrills/id597745204
To purchase a copy of Beating the Odds on Northern Waters by Jensen and Dzugan, visit: https://www.amsea.org/booksandcurricula
McCue, L., “Utilization of KNN Algorithms on AIS data for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness,” Technology, Systems and Ships, Washington, DC, June 18-20, 2019.
Briscoe, M., McCue, L., and Lumme, D., “Implementing and Integrating an engineering video game into a variety of educational contexts,” 2019 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Tampa, Florida, June, 2019.
Briscoe, M., McCue, L., Kring, D., and Craig, M., “Gamifying Engineering: Initial data and results from implementing a naval engineering video game (work in progress),” 2019 ASEE Southeastern Section Conference, Rayleigh, NC, March 10-12, 2019.
I get asked from time to time for a video how-to for using SCraMP. So, here you go!
Cooper, M. and McCue, L., “Design of a Controller for Autonomous Vessel Recovery Utilizing the Prediction of Host Vessel Motions,” Naval Engineers Journal, Volume 129, Number 1, 1 March 2017, pp. 117-131(15).
While this site has been dormant the last few years, it is back live now – I have re-entered academia joining the Mechanical Engineering faculty at George Mason University. Enthusiastic prospective students are encourage to reach out as I am actively recruiting PhD students.
Our NASA NIAC project to explore Europa is featured in the newly released NASA 360 video From Science Fiction to Science Fact! The entire video is great, and Europa specifically is discussed at 2:25 in.
John Gilbert has received a prestigious SMART scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year to further his PhD research in computational fluids. It is anticipated/hoped that upon graduation he will work for the Hull Response and Protection branch of the Survivability, Structures, and Materials department of Carderock. Way to go John!
STEM-on-Wheels is an ongoing project to outfit a mobile STEM trailer with fun, hands-on, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics activities for schools, after-school clubs, scouts, and other community groups. The new trailer made its first public appearance at the 2014 ASNE Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium in Virginia Beach. To learn more about the program and upcoming schedule, please visit http://www.hampton.eng.vt.edu/stemonwheels.html.
Update: Stephanie Sherman’s work on air traffic management has won her a Virginia Space Grant Consortium graduate student research grant and an Airport Cooperative Research Program Graduate Research Award! Stephanie is working to develop a computational model of air traffic based upon a smoothed particle hydrodynamics-esque definition of aircraft interactions (like particle interactions in SPH). Through this approach, her tool will be able to model stochastic aircraft characteristics in addition to deterministic characteristics. Fundamentally, she is trying to provide a tool which can help address two important and challenging problems:
- Model aircraft interactions in a decentralized control scheme versus the current centralized control approach (e.g. the bulk of aircraft interactions being governed by instructions from air traffic controllers).
- Model manned and unmanned aircraft interact with non-deterministic factors (e.g. pilot skill, aircraft handling, etc…)
Both of these topics are of interest for study as part of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
To learn more about her excellent work, follow the tag for S_Sherman.
Perform basic research in the field of ship motions as well as experimental and computational fluid dynamics in the Dr. Leigh McCue-Weil’s research lab. Research expertise in either RANS or meshfree CFD approaches such as SPH with interest in both approaches and/or expertise in experimental fluids. Job responsibilities will require strong experience with computational and experimental components. Post-doc will work with Dr. McCue-Weil in preparing reports to the research sponsor, writing journal and conference papers, and presenting in conference and other open forums.
Ph.D. in ocean/naval/aerospace/mechanical or related engineering discipline, as well as knowledge of, or experience in, CFD and experimental fluids.
Experience with OpenFoam, SPHysics or other mesh-free Lagrangian CFD approach.
For a complete listing of position qualifications, and to apply, please visit http://www.jobs.vt.edu, and search for posting #SR0140111. Review of applications will begin on July 29, 2014.
Graduate student researcher John Gilbert has received a prestigious NREIP Summer Internship position with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock’s Combatant Craft Division. Go John!
Folks often inquire about the accuracy of using an iPhone’s sensors as a data acquisition system. John Zseleczky from the U.S. Naval Academy Hydromechanics Laboratory recently conducted a very nice comparative study resulting in the attached data and has given me the go-ahead to share this publicly. Thank you very much John Z. and the USNA!
The underwater combustion of a propane-air mixture in an acrylic cylinder is captured on the video linked here from multiple angles. This experiment, led by Van Jones with assistance from Kariann Vander Pol and John Gilbert, is designed to provide visual data and pressure time-histories for future CFD validation studies. We have submitted this to the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics gallery of fluid motion competition this year! More information, including an extended abstract and higher resolution version of the video can be found at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.3523.
I am often asked if SCraMP can be useful on big ships as well as the small craft, for which it is named. My answer is always a resounding yes! There is nothing in the code that would confine it to small craft, and indeed, I have tried to make it as customizable as possible to suit a range of needs. With that in mind, the latest SCraMP release, hitting the app store today (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scramp/id456343416), adds two new safety metrics, one to help identify possible parametric roll conditions and one to provide guidance as to whether or not conditions might be making passengers sensitive to motion sickness. As always, if you have suggestions for app improvements or feedback on SCraMP v3.13, I am eager to hear from SCraMPers.
SCraMP users, a bug has been identified with the use of the safety metrics screen of SCraMP when running iOS7. I have submitted to Apple an update to solve the problem and hope to have the new iOS7 version of SCraMP released to you next week. Apologies for any inconvenience in the meantime.
Just got this e-mail from former post-doc Pankaj Kumar: “I am happy to inform you that I have been awarded best group project in IHPC/ASTAR. This award is for developing Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) solver within the OpenFOAM framework. My job in this project was to develop finite difference- and finite volume- based LBM solvers in OpenFOAM.” Congratulations Pankaj!
David Hickerson successfully defended his MS in July of 2013. In his research he used computational fluid dynamics simulations to study a sailboat heaving-to in a storm. His complete thesis is available online here.
This has been a great few months for SCraMP coverage. SCraMP was mentioned in the National Fisherman Best of 2012 article in January and received equally flattering coverage in the March/April Ship and Boat International. Thank you to those authors helping get the word out, and to those friends who are letting me know when they’ve seen SCraMP articles appear (both of these were pleasant surprises for me)!
Check out David Allen discussing Europa exploration online here.
A few weeks ago I had the tremendous honor of receiving this award. Below are my remarks and a wonderful picture of my advisor Armin Troesch who presented the award, ASNE president Ronald Kiss, and me (photo provided by ASNE–thanks Jared!).
Thank you. I am going to keep this short as my toddler in attendance will likely express out loud what many might be feeling regarding long acceptance remarks. Mostly I want to say a handful of thank you’s. I have been lucky to have really great advising, as an undergraduate from the late Pat Curtiss and as a graduate student from Armin Troesch. Thank you Armin for being such a wonderful advisor and setting my career on the right path. I am also fortunate to have fantastic colleagues at Virginia Tech, particularly Al Brown who has diligently kept me out of trouble, and my amazing students who make me look good. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those program officers who have supported my work: Pat Purtell, Kelly Cooper, Bob Brizzolara, Eduardo Misawa, and Jay Falker. Every one of them took a chance on me being able to broaden my early research in ways that would support the ONR, NSF, and NASA missions, and I appreciate their faith in me, and my team’s abilities. I want to thank all the good folks at Carderock who have let me spend two summers in Bethesda working with Bill Belknap, Judah Milgram, Brad Campbell, and others, and a sabbatical at CCD enabled by Tim Coats, Dave Pogorzelski, and my personal favorite CCD researcher, my husband Charlie Weil. And I want to thank ASNE. ASNE has provided me leadership opportunities from the start of my career; opportunities to directly support or even work side by side with Captains, Admirals, Program Officers, SESs, industry leaders, and full Professors. ASNE leadership and staff have worked hard to make opportunities for students and young professionals. At this ASNE Day we have seen an exciting student program, put together by a team of young professionals led by Justin Stepanchick, showcasing exceptional student research. Wednesday night, the first ever Student Opportunities Committee, with direct representation to ASNE Council, was elected. ASNE is a warm place for students and young professionals and that, above all else, is why I am so honored to be receiving this Rosenblatt award for young naval engineers from ASNE. Thank you.
What do Europa geeks do for spring break? Go to JPL of course! Shown here is the VT EUROPA team: Craig Woolsey, David Allen, Matt Jones, and me pictured outside the Space Flight Operations Facility with our gracious host, Ray Crum. It was a wonderful, educational, and far too short visit. I hope we will be teaming with JPL on this more down the road!
Van’s PhD research focuses on using particle based CFD to study a host of naval engineering problems with an emphasis on computational aspects to particle-based codes. He is the resident computer scientist on the research team. For more details on Van’s work, click on the tag ‘Jones‘ on this site.
The NIAC Europa project I’m working on with Profs Craig Woolsey and Bill Moore, graduate student David Allen, and undergraduate Matt Jones, has gotten some exciting press, including appearing in Time’s Techland website! To learn more about the project, visit http://www.unmanned.vt.edu/europa. This mission architecture image is adapted from a NASA JPL image of Europa’s ice crust and ocean.
Where are SCraMP v3.9 users? All over the world! If you haven’t tried it yet, the Small Craft Motion Program (SCraMP) is free in the iOS app store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scramp/id456343416?mt=8