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.

Faculty

Patrick James Codd

Patrick James Codd

Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Research Interests: Minimally invasive neurosurgical device development and neurosurgical robotics.

Mary "Missy" Cummings

Mary "Missy" Cummings

Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-systems engineering, public policy implications of unmanned vehicles, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

Earl H. Dowell

Earl H. Dowell

William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Research Interests: Aeroelasticity, the study of the dynamic interaction between an aerodynamic flow and an elastic structure, such as aircraft wings in high speed flight, long span bridges and tall buildings responding to wind loadings, or airflow through the mouth and lungs. Dr. Dowell has also conducted research in...

Silvia Ferrari

Silvia Ferrari

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Design and analysis of methods and algorithms for learning and computational intelligence. Theory and approximation properties of network models, such as neural and probabilistic networks, for the purpose of enhancing their learning abilities and improving reliability. Approximate dynamic...

Henri P. Gavin

Henri P. Gavin

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, seismic hazard mitigation for building contents, nonlinear dynamics, system identification, optimal control with application to systems with controllable damping.

Kris Hauser

Kris Hauser

Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Interests: Robot motion planning and control, semiautonomous robots, and integrating perception and planning. Past applications of this research have included automated vehicle collision avoidance, robotic manipulation, robot-assisted medicine, and legged locomotion.

Laurens E. Howle

Laurens E. Howle

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Hydroelastic modeling of deformable structures, transport in thermal and chemical systems, experimental and computational fluid dynamics, nonlinear and complex systems, heat and mass transport in biological systems, stability of fluid motions, machine learning, data mining, econophysics, reduced...

Jason Jerald

Jason Jerald

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Josiah D. Knight

Josiah D. Knight

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and dynamics

Regis Kopper

Regis Kopper

Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: 3D user interfaces, novel interaction techniques and immersive display systems.

Brian Mann

Brian Mann

Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Nonlinear dynamics and vibration utilizing analytical, numerical, and experimental techniques. Fundamental investigations of phenomenon and application areas where dynamical systems theory plays an important role.

no image available

Jamie Snape

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sci

Lawrence N. Virgin

Lawrence N. Virgin

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Study of the behavior of nonlinear dynamical systems, including the investigation of the fundamental nature of nonlinear systems based on a mathematical description of their underlying equations of motion and the application of recent results from nonlinear dynamical systems theory to problems of...

Benjamin Yellen

Benjamin Yellen

Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Our group currently has two main research activities. Project #1. Development of single cell random access memory. The goal of this project is to develop an automated system for reading and writing single cells (e.g., immune cells, yeast cells, etc.) to arbitrary sites on a micro fabricated chip...

Michail Zavlanos

Michail Zavlanos

Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: A range of topics in the emerging discipline of networked dynamical systems, which studies systems of physical agents interacting via a communication medium in search of joint control principles that determine network behavior. Focus on robotic and sensor networks, with applications in formation...