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!
Check out podcast episode 6 of The Mason Mechanical Engineer which includes conversations with RobotX team members!
The latest episode of The Mason Mechanical Engineer podcast is out, featuring a conversation with Pilgyu Kang and Patrick Vora talking about quantum science, engineering, and computing. Check it out on your podcast platform of choice or at: https://anchor.fm/mason-meche/episodes/You-are-not-an-atom-e1cs41f.
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!
My department has launched a podcast! The first few episodes are out, with the latest including interviews with a very inspirational Mason alum Jazzmin Robinson as well as NAWCAD’s Director of Engineering Education and Research Partnerships Theresa Shafer. Search for the “Mason Mechanical Engineer” on your preferred podcast platform or click here.
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!
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:
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.
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.
Alton Luder is the newest member of the research team joining us to continue the fine work Pankaj Kumar did related to coupling SPH and OpenFOAM simulations. Alton comes to us as a fellow Michigan alum (Go Blue!).
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Check out David Allen discussing Europa exploration online here.
Former post-doc Pankaj wrote in to say that his family has “been blessed with a baby boy.” Congratulations Pankaj!
I recently checked in with alum, Dr. Qing Yang who defended his PhD degree in December 2011 in the field of SPH simulation of fluid-structure interaction problems. He is now working as a naval architect in Kvaerner Field Development, a Norwegian oil service company specialized in EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) of offshore platforms. His main job is to analyze the hydrodynamic load on the offshore platform and its mooring systems and the dynamic response of offshore platforms. He also notes he is now engaged: congratulations Qing!
Pankaj Kumar recently finished up a 2 year post-doc with us and is off working as a research scientist in Singapore! We miss him, but are proud to tout the ground-breaking research he did in merging meshfree and meshed CFD approaches. To read more, click on the ‘Kumar‘ tag on this site.