Undergraduate research

System for manipulation of liquid droplets

Active: 
yes

Your task will be to build a system for manipulation of liquid droplets using EWOD (electrowetting on dielectric) digital microfluidics. Such system contains a matrix of electrodes covered by a dielectric layer that can be hydrophobic or hydrophilic based on applied voltage. The inspiration can be taken from existing and open system OpenDrop.

Contact person: 
Jiří Zemánek

Synchronization of oscillations using the magnetic field

Active: 
yes

This project aims to build an experimental system for maintaining and synchronization of oscillations. The system will consist of two or more balls on rails and coil underneath that will keep the ball oscillating and synchronized to prevent their collision. Instead of the rails, it is possible to use two pendulums suspended from the one point. 

Contact person: 
Jiří Zemánek

Flying ball in the hoop

Active: 
yes

Your task will be to recreate and improve system called Flying ball in the hoop that serves for education and research of optimal control. The primary motivation is to create the building instructions and documentation that enables others to build and use this system in their labs.

The model consists mainly of a ball and a hoop. The ball can freely rotate in the hoop, and the hoop is attached to a motor which allows us to exert a torque on the hoop. There is also a camera measuring the position of the ball. Everything is interfaced with Raspberry Pi, the brain of our laboratory model.

Contact person: 
Jiří Zemánek

Automatic AirHockey

Active: 
yes

This project aims to design a control system for the automatic AirHockey. The control system will run on RaspberryPi, and it will use a camera to detect the position of a puck and command stepper motors. The inspiration can be taken from the existing system. Hardware and electronics are ready. 

Contact person: 
Jiří Zemánek

Simulation of urban traffic in presence of high-priority vehicles

Active: 
yes

This student project is motivated by the needs of a larger industrial research project that the AA4CC group is running since January 2018 jointly with a small hi-tech Brno-located company focused on automation in public transportation. The focus of the proposed project is on numerical simulations of urban traffic using existing opensource simulation packages.

In particular, after getting familiar with the existing traffic simulation packages (SUMO, Veins, VSimRTI, ...) and selecting the most suitable one, the goals of the project are to analyze the possibilities to simulate higher-priority vehicles  (fire brigade vehicles, ambulances, police) and analyze the observable impact of presence of these vehicles on the other traffic in the city.

Later we will build on top of this competence when modeling the trafic after the introduction of the wireless V2I (=vehice-to-infrastructure) or V2X (=vehicle-to-everything) communication schemes. Will these relieve the traffic jams significantly? Will the communication-based control schemes be robust enought? Does mistuing of these present a threat to the traffic? These will be the questions for which we will want to find answers using the simulations.

A related desirable competence is to be able predict the time of arrival of the selected high-priority vehicle to a particular intersection. This is certainly dependent on the current traffic density and thus is highly random. Still, some prediction could be attemted using some popular (or perhaps even some less well-known) estimation and prediction schemes.

The student applying for this position should be interested in the topic of intelligent transportation.  He or she should be good at high-level programming and eager to learn the mathematics behing traffic modeling.

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák

Dynamic plotter

Active: 
yes

We are looking for a hardware platform suitable for presentation of trajectory optimization algorithms and your goal will be to build one. The platform will resemble a gantry crane or a pendulum on a cart with a variable length if you want. It will be attachable/detachable to a whiteboard and there will be a pen at the place where the hook normally is (or, at the end of the pendulum). The ultimate goal for the platform will be to draw a given curve on the whiteboard in the shortest possible time. Nevertheless, at first, we need you to build the platform for us. When we have the platform, you can also work on the control algorithms. If you like to build stuff this is an ideal project for you as you will have to design, make and assemble all the components (some inspiration can be taken from open-hardware designs of some 3D printers though).

Contact person: 
Martin Gurtner

Measuring position of micro-objects by machine learning algorithms

Active: 
yes

You will be developing algorithms for a sensor measuring positions of micro-objects in 3D. The sensor mainly consists of an image sensor capturing diffraction patterns encoding positions of some micro-objects. We have algorithms which can extract the positions from the diffraction patterns, but they are slow. We have some ideas how to make the algorithms faster by implementing them on a graphical card (GPU) and/or by approximating them by methods from machine learning. Your goal will be to explore these possibilities.

This topic will fit a student who is more into coding and applied mathematics as the work is more on the software side.

Contact person: 
Martin Gurtner

Acoustic levitation controlled by an array of ultrasonic transducers

Active: 
no

The goal of this project is to design and build a device for acoustic levitation. An array of ultrasonic transducers would be used to levitate a small polystyrene bead and possibly to steer it along a defined path. As an inspiration may serve the work of Asier Marzo et al. presented in a nice video and the related paper (accessible from university network or via https://dialog.cvut.cz/index.html), but also many more similar projects.

The motivation for this particular project comes from one of the research topics that is developed by the group - distributed non-contact manipulation. An array of separate actuators is used so that they jointly exert a desired force on an object of interest. This way the object can be moved to a set position or made to follow some defined trajectory. Currently, we use microelectrodes or coils as these actuators, which allow us to shape an electric, respectively magnetic fields in the manipulation area. Thus we can control also the related force fields (dielectrophoretic, resp. magnetic). For more information about these two projects, you may wish to look at their respective pages (dielectrophoresis, magnetic manipulation).

The field of acoustic levitation (acoustophoresis) might be another visually appealing physical principle of manipulation, which could serve us for development and demonstration of optimization based control algorithms for such distributed system.

The project involves:

  • mathematical modeling - create a control-oriented model of the system
  • control design - optimization based control
  • electronic design - creating a driving circuitry (possibility to use existing prototyping boards like Arduino, etc.)
  • mechanical design - making a frame enabling assembly of the transducer array
  • experiments with the assembled setup (hopefully show the levitation of the bead)

In order to get some deeper idea about the project, have a look at the above mentioned paper and a tutorial (by the same author) at Instructables.com, which describes the construction of a simple acoustic levitator. These are, however, not the only available resources. Inspiration may be gained from many more similar projects (e.g. JOLED: A Mid-air Display based on Electrostatic Rotation of Levitated Janus Objects).

The collaboration should take place mainly during summer by means of a paid student internship, but it could start already during the preceding semester in the form of familiarization with the topic by studying existing published solutions, identifying key problems and planning the course of work. There is also a possibility (in a case of successful collaboration) to continue on the project during the next academic year in a form of individual project or formal final undergraduate (thesis) project.

Only enthusiastic students, who feel that they would enjoy working on such a project, are encouraged to apply for the position since this shows up as a basic prerequisite for successful collaboration. In case of any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact person: 
Tomáš Michálek

Development and maintenance of slot car platooning platform

Active: 
no

A skillful and enthusiastic undergraduate student is wanted who woud join our AA4CC team in further development and maintenance of the "Slot Car Platooning" project. Good programming skills (both low-level programming in C and some higher-level Java programming) and some very basic experience in practical electronics are expected.

To get some idea about the project, check out the video at https://youtu.be/TBFM7v2_VAk?list=LLJVnzEJGGwpkOWxogmbhlIw and have a look at the paper downloadable at http://aa4cc.dce.fel.cvut.cz/content/vehicular-platooning-experiments-us....

The motivation behind the project is to investigate and demonstrate experimentally some dynamic phenomena encountered in distributed control of multivehicle systems. For example, we have investigated theoretically that the creation of trafic jams is related to propagation of traveling waves along the platoon and this can be mittigated by designing some "wave absorbers" (see the recently defended doctoral thesis by Dan Martinec https://support.dce.felk.cvut.cz/mediawiki/images/9/9d/Diz_2016_martinec...). These phenomena could be demonstrated in a visually attractive way using the described slot car platoon.  

The development of the slot car platooning experimental platform is already quite advanced, it has been running for a few years now. The onboard electronics now seems fixed (there are two computer-based controllers onboard each slot car: low-level controller based on MCU ARM STM32F401RBT and high-level controller based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module) but it might need occassional fixes. The software has also reached a mature stage but further development is planned (towards greater user comfort, using more sensors, ...). Moreover, a long-term maintainence of the code base is needed too.

The collaboration of the interested student with the AA4CC team should start right away - during the spring 2017. The goal of the spring collaboration will be to learn the key information about the project and gradually take over the duties from the current maintainer (to be graduated in July 2017). In case of successful engagement of the student in the project, the partication of the student at 2017 IFAC World Congress in Toulouse (https://www.ifac2017.org/), France, where the slot car platooning platform will be demonstrated, will be arranged.

The collaboration then could continue during the summer by means of paid summer internship.

And the summer work could then continue during the next academic year in the form of a formal final undergraduate (thesis) project.

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák

Experimental platform for distributed temperature control along a slender metal rod

Active: 
no

The main objective of this project is to design, build and program an experimental platform for distributed control of a temperature profile of a slender metal rod. The one-meter long aluminium rod will be equipped with some twenty heaters (transistors) and temperature sensors (Dallas DS18B20). These will be used to close feedback control loops to track a prescribed temperature profile.

A straightforward (albeit not necessarily optimal) approach to the work is just to upgrade one already existing platform using new hardware (see the list of student projects below).

The electronics for the system is required in a modular form. Each I/O module (of several modules) will serve a few sensors and actuators. One version of the electronics is currently being developed and is nearly ready for production. The student can jump in and have his or her imprint in the last minute. Alternatively, he or she can adopt the design and take care of production.

All the I/O modules will be connected to a single Raspberry Pi 3 (RPi) computer through a digital interface (such as I2C). RPi computer will be connected to an operator's PC running MATLAB. The role of RPi will be to gather the sensor measurements, deliver them to PC and execute control commands received from PC. The communication between the RPi and PC will be over WiFi or Ethernet. Programming of RPi should be done in C and Java programming languages.

The project is offered as a topic for bachelor thesis and master thesis with additional extension to control.

Related student projects in the past:

1.) Chris Rapson. Spatially distributed control: heat conduction in a rod. MSc diploma thesis, CVUT in Prague, 2008. [Online]
2.) Václav Klemš. Laboratorní model pro výzkum prostorově distribuovaného řízení. Bakalářská práce, ČVUT v Praze, 2008. [Online]
3.) Petr Cincibus. Programové vybavení pro experimentální platformu pro distribuované řízení teploty. Bakalářská práce, ČVUT v Praze, 2012. [Online]

Contact person: 
Štefan Knotek
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