UofL student scores big with paper on tiny robots

July 16, 2018

By Baylee Pulliam

It might be about tiny robots, but Ruoshi Zhang’s paper is getting big attention.

The University of Louisville doctoral candidate just won best student paper at the IEEE Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS 2018), held in Nagoya, Japan in early July.

His paper, “Design, analysis and fabrication of sAFAM, a 4 DoF assembled microrobot,” focuses on research conducted at UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He’s studying how to build a better AFAM micro-robot — one small enough to manufacture nanotechnologies, or even manipulate cells to cure disease.

Zhang’s paper was chosen from among eight finalists, a list that included students from University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and University of California Berkeley, among others.
“Winning the conference is a great matter to me,” he said. “I didn’t realize this idea was worth any award when I came up with it; it was only a small modification to make AFAM (robot) better.”
The bottom line is that, in order to make tiny things, the workers themselves need to be tiny. It’s an idea Zhang became enamored with after he was introduced to the tiny bots by a fellow student.

“The small size, the mechanism, the intriguing design and exquisite structures took my heart,” he said.

As a doctoral student at UofL, Zhang works under Dr. Dan Popa at the Next Generation Systems robotics lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. There, Zhang was introduced to the AFAM, a micro-robot created by Dr. Popa and colleagues 10 years ago.

Zhang’s paper focuses on his research into how best to resolve issues with the AFAM, including its difficult assembly and failure rate. Popa said he was very proud of Zhang’s work and award.
“He worked hard on all aspects of the paper, conducted both simulation and experiments, and wrote down his results,” Popa said.  “I think it speaks well for the research dedication of our students and for the quality of engineering graduate programs here at Speed School.”

As for Zhang, he’s now working on a way to direct the bots using lasers. After he finishes his PhD at UofL, he’s planning to continue his research, either working with industry or at a university.
“This field is very active and there are new developments everyday,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”

Electrical & Computer Engineering Capstone Recap

April 27, 2018

 The capstone event for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was featured in the Henry Vogt Building this last Tuesday morning, showing off a number of student led initiatives. The projects on display were primarily visual in nature, with students delivering the poster presentations about how each operated. As with other such capstone projects, there was a limited budget employed for the majority of the presentations, creating a further obstacle for each student to operate within.

Projects varied from the personal to the interpersonal, often correlating the link between the engineering and business applications for the final product. A few projects, including a toilet seat weight scale and a 'friendly reminders' technology system for dementia patients, offered passive means of patient intervention to aid caregivers and the clients alike. The Redbird Robotics team were fortunate to use their year long drone building project as their final presentation, with each member explaining their roll in the process, from machine learning to the actual flight logistics and navigation features. 

The Heat flow sensor system team was primarily comprised of former LG&E interns, which provided some valuable insight as to how potential customers might employ their creation. Working with Dr. Shamus McNamara as a client, their project involved a crafted a device that could help quantify the savings relative to the installation of new insulation. The device uses outside and inside temperatures to calculate the most effective solution to heating and energy efficiency from an electrical perspective, accounting for total kilowatts consumed.

The complete list of projects including the developers and clients follows:

Power electronic system for assembled micro robots

  • Madison Beuchler
  • Jordan Klotz
  • Logan Ouellette
  • Justin Tran

Technology for those living with dementia – friendly reminders


  • David Bender
  • Mason Kratt
  • David Langner
  • Dan Nguyen

Cyber Physical system for the Phoenix house


  • Joseph Costello
  • Adam Dauenhauer
  • David Dunaway
  • Jacob Estes

3-Axis motorized gimbal with active tracking


  • Mark Doninger
  • Bradley Harbeson
  • Matthew Hutcheson
  • Anthony Loflin

Toilet seat weight scale

  • Brandon Adams
  • Caleb McIntosh
  • Gabriel Pantess
  • Erik Rieger

Solar powered automatic irrigation system


  • Kari Bertram
  • Andrew Garrett
  • Jason Kinn
  • Daniel Stadelman

Heat flow sensor system

  • Kyle Baldwin
  • Nicholas Brandel
  • Stanley Doerger
  • Cameron King

Vehicular wireless communications


  • Samuel Bibelhauser
  • Michael March
  • Tyler McLemore
  • Joseph Urda

Baby car seat monitor and alert system

Timothy Jones
Levi Mays
Kristian Meyer
Zachary Scott
Travis Velkly

Wireless sensing of athlete data 


  • Collie Crawford
  • Dylan Ford
  • Jacob Guhy
  • Hung Nguyen
  • Thomas Ryan

Redbird robotics

  • William Funke
  • Stephanie Hart
  • Alex Rickert
  • Ben Stringer

Amini serves as co-chair for conference on biomedical imaging

February 20, 2018

Dr. Amir AminiA prestigious international conference is being co-chaired by Amir Amini, Ph.D., J.B. Speed School of Engineering professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging, a scientific conference dedicated to mathematical, algorithmic, and computational aspects of biological and biomedical imaging, across all scales of observation, will be held in Washington, D.C., April 4-7, 2018, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. The conference features tutorials, and a scientific program composed of plenary talks, invited special sessions, challenges, as well as oral and poster presentations of peer-reviewed papers.

"The steering committee for ISBI which is made up of top international imaging scientists approached me some two years ago and asked me to lead this meeting," said Amini. "So I feel proud and consider this as testament to the quality work that is carried out at the medical imaging laboratory at the University of Louisville."

Click here to visit the symposium website for more information.