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Meet this month’s #UWdiscovers photo contest winner

This February, faculty and staff across our campuses shared their discoveries as part of the UW’s employee photo contest.

This month’s winning photo comes from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. Xu Chen, an assistant professor in the department, is leading his team to build collaborative robots and artificial intelligence to solve Rubik’s cubes.

The team is applying their knowledge from the build to tackle a $1.2 million robotic inspection project in collaboration with the University of Connecticut and GKN Aerospace. Most of the project work is done at the Mechatronics, Automation, and Control Systems (MACS) Lab. The lab investigates theories and practices  to seek better understanding and engineering of the interplay between data, systems and control in machines and automation processes.

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The project is also one of the six newly-selected projects from the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing’s (ARM) fourth Technology Project call that took place in 2019. According to ARM’s website, the project’s purpose is to build an advisor robotic platform that will provide comprehensive parts inspection of complex metallic components and high-fidelity recommendations for defect identification and characterization.

The project draws on different subfields such as imaging, sensor fusion and robot controls.  In the future, this work may have the potential to impact automotive, agriculture and consumer goods markets.

With their engaging collaboration, the UW’s Department of Mechanical Engineering continues to make important discoveries with a true impact.