Research Projects Supported by MEXT Through Special Subsidies for Private Universities and Institutions: Special Funds for the Creation of Strategic Research Infrastructure

Research Center for Smart & Tough Machines

About

Established : 2013
Director: Professor Tatsuo Narikiyo

Research Outline

This research project is aimed at developing key technologies for smart and tough machines operated in harsh and/or unknown environments for the contribution to safe society. The adaptability and robustness of the system will be achieved by using the sensors and actuators developed by nano-materials science and integrating with information technology. To this end, research efforts are focused on the following interdisciplinary research areas: (1) information technology for perception and navigation in unknown environments; (2) control and machining technologies for machine systems operated in harsh and/or unknown environments; (3) nano-materials technology for sensing and actuating devices used in harsh and/or unknown environments.

Research Themes

This project is to develop smart and tough machines, which can be efficiently operated in harsh and/or unknown environments. The highly adaptive performance of smart and tough machines will be achieved by using the sensors and actuators developed by nano-materials science and integrating with modern information technology.

1.Development of information technology for perception and navigation in harsh and/or unknown environments

2.Development of control and machining technologies for machine systems operated in harsh and/or unknown environments

3.Development of nano-materials technology for sensing and actuating devices used in harsh and/or unknown environments

Equipments

・Motion/State Observation System Based on Visual and Tactile Sensing
・Evaluation System of Motor drive System for Difficulty Environment
・3D-Scanning Electron Microscope
・Twin-type Nano-manipulator

Activities

<Research Outline>

toughmachines_pic01.gif
1.Development of information technology for perception and navigation in harsh and/or unknown environments

(1) Robust Machine Learning that utilizes external information
Under a severe environment, we need to make a decision based on incomplete information. We are going to investigate robust Machine Learning technologies that make use of a large amount of unlabeled data and background knowledge.

toughmachines_pic02.gif

Machine learning with incomplete information

Encoding and decoding via DFT/IDFT


(2) Data transmission and recovery systems as applications of Gröbner bases
Applying commutative ring theory, L1-norm minimization, and compressed sensing, we develop the systems that can transmit and receive highly reliable information under bad environments such as deep space exploration. 
 
(3) Multi-sensor harsh environmental perception
The environmental perception is a key technology for autonomous systems. The use of multiple sensors is to ensure a robust and reliable performance for the smart machine operated in harsh environments. These sensors should facilitate both manual and autonomous operations. The sensing units need to provide the operator a complete view of the scene in the remotely manual operation mode. In autonomous operation, information extraction and knowledge generation from the observations are indispensable and critical. Thus, the processing of sensor data is a paramount stage to the success of the smart machine. 
This research is to investigate the potential of using multiple sensors on a smart machine to tackle the operational challenges in harsh environments. The algorithms to process and integrate multi-modal sensor data will be developed and tested on that platform. A real-time implementation of a robust sensory perception of the harsh environment is the objective of this work.
 
toughmachines_pic03.gif
Platform of sensor integration

 
2.Development of control and machining technologies for machine systems operated in harsh and/or unknown environments

(1) Development of portable mechanical devices for lunar and planetary explorations, and/or micromanipulation
- Manipulators for minute operations
- Machining technologies for vacuum environment
- Actuators for ultra-precision positioning
-Machining technologies for manufacture of machines working in harsh environment.

(2) Development of control technology for autonomous investigation and machining in harsh and/or unknown environments
Integrating the machine learning into control theory, we develop investigation robots and machining technologies operated in harsh and/or unknown environments. 
toughmachines_pic04.jpg

Autonomous investigation and machining systems

Wire-sawing machine compatible with ultra-high vacuum


(3) Development of mechanical systems operating in environments with uncertainties(Development of optimum design methodology for mechanical systems operating in tough environments with uncertainties)
Research and development of structural optimization theories and systems for designing smart machines or structures operating in tough environments such as high or low temperature, high acceleration, or under extraordinary loadings.
toughmachines_pic05.gif

Homology design for high rigidity of frame structure

Design of smart & tough machines


(4)  Development of optimal design methods for smart & tough machines
- Optimal design & control of robust, adaptive and flexible mechanical systems
- Motion planning under imperfect and uncertain environment information
- Application of compliant mechanisms to smart & tough machines

(5)Development of firing and flame stabilization technology in harsh and/or unknown environments
- Specific ignition and flame propagate phenomenon for the liquid fuel jet in harsh and/or unknown environments
- Spontaneous combustion mechanism and development of the control technology of the solid fuel
- Ignition phenomenon along the hot metal surface which is deformed or changed in quality by an environmental change
- Ignition and flame stabilization phenomenon for the high-pressurized gas fuel

Ignition and stabilization of 80MPa hydrogen (Shlieren photo)



 
3.Development of nano-materials technology for sensing and actuating devices used in harsh and/or unknown environments 
 
(1) Characterization and fabrication of nanomaterials in vacuum using 3D-scanning electron microscope with state-of-art manipulator
We develop smart and tough materials using novel nano-probe technology.

(2) Development of nano-materials technology and materials processing for severe environment
We develop surface modification of actuator materials and processing of cutting / grinding tools, which can be used has in a severe environment.
 
toughmachines_pic06.jpg

Nanoscale measurement system (left) and fabrication of nano-trenches in graphite surface (right)

SPS equipment which invents grinding tools


(3) Research on motor drive system realized in difficulty environment and high frequency environment
High efficiency motor drive system, which works in difficulty environment and the high frequency environment, is researched in producing it experimentally and in evaluating it.
 
(4) Development of micro-sensor and actuator for supporting operations in severe environments
Micro-sensors (e.g., un-cooled infrared detector working in dark, breathing sensor for monitoring worker’s condition) and micro-actuators (which are proof against vacuum or high-temperature) are studied for supporting operations in severe environments.

toughmachines_pic07.jpgのサムネイル画像

Electrical motor for difficulty environment and high frequency environment

Photo of linear array of infrared micro-detectors


(5) Development of nanostructure-based ultrasensitive photodetectors Sensitive photodetectors that work in harsh environment are being developed 
by employing engineered nanostructures. Both discrete detectors and arrayed   
sensors, covering visible and infrared spectral range, will be investigated.

toughmachines_pic08.jpg

High sensitivity photodetector with nanoparticles and nano-wires

Structure of a high power transistor with high breakdown voltage


(6) Research and development of semiconductor devices with high performance and high functionality for smart & tough machines
We develop low power high sensitivity sensors utilizing quantum effects, and develop high voltage operation power transistors using wide band gap semiconductors.

 
[Laboratories]
・Computational Intelligence Laboratory
・Intelligent Information Processing Laboratory
・Information and Communication Engineering Laboratory
・Innovative Machine Laboratory
・Solid Mechanics Laboratory
・Control System Laboratory
・Design Engineering Laboratory
・Heat and Energy System Laboratory
・Surface Science Laboratory
・Materials Processing Laboratory
・Electromagnetic Energy System Laboratory
・Micro-Nano Mechatronics Laboratory
・Nano-Electronics Laboratory
・Advanced Electron Devices Laboratory
 

page up