Dynamics, Controls and Human Machine Interaction

The time evolution (dynamics) and control of natural and designed systems is fundamental to all engineering and science. In recent decades much of the attention has been directed toward nonlinear systems, autonomous, uninhabited, or remotely controlled systems robotics and the interface between humans and machines. Duke has one of the leading research groups in these developments.

Dynamics, controls and human machine interaction research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science centers on several areas including:

  • Modeling and control of complex dynamical systems
  • Control of structure-borne noise
  • Fluid-structure interaction (aeroelasticity)
  • Noise and vibration suppression
  • Nonlinear dynamics and chaos
  • Robotics

Examples of research projects include active control and closed-loop identification of aeroelastic instabilities in a variety of transportation vehicles; active control of sound transmission, optimal collocated and multivariable hybrid active-passive vibration control design; approximate dynamic programming; reconfigurable control of morphing aircraft; on-line learning in neural and Baysian networks; sensor planning for integrated surveillance systems; intelligent systems for criminal profiling; sensor modeling, data acquisition and management, data fusion in the context of swarm robotics; and coordination and control of multiple robots in flight and on the ground.

Opportunities for Graduate Study

The departments offers an M.S./Ph.D. study track in mechanical engineering with a core in mechanics, dynamics and controls that encompasses acoustics, control, dynamics, intelligent systems, and robotic control and automation.

The department also offers a program of study towards the Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) in Mechanical Engineering. This 30-credit degree program includes course work towards departmental requirements, an area of specialization, business and management fundamentals, and an internship or applied research experience. Students have the flexibility to specialize on topics of dynamics, acoustics, intelligent systems, and robotic control and automation relevant to preparation for an applied engineering career.