Smart Microsystems

Xiaobo Tan | |


The research in the Smart Microsystems Lab falls in the general areas of robotics, control, and smart materials, and it features tight integration of theory and experiments. A major research thrust is underwater robotics, where we focus on the entire life cycle of design, development, modeling, control, and experimentation of bio-inspired underwater robots. These fish-like robots are equipped with various sensors and used for various environmental sensing applications, such as monitoring harmful algal blooms and tracking invasive species in lakes. The second area of interest is smart materials, an example of which is electroactive polymers, also known as artificial muscles. We explore the fabrication, modeling, control, and robotic applications of these materials. For example, we collaborate with fish biologists and engineers in the development of electroactive polymer hair sensors for bio-inspired flow sensing and control in underwater robots. Another research area is the modeling and control of systems with hysteresis, which is largely motivated by the ubiquitous hysteresis behavior observed in smart materials, such as piezoelectrics, shape memory alloys, and vanadium dioxides. These materials find vast applications in robotics, manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace industries.