Name: Homayoon Kazerooni
Present position: Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Human Engineering Lab, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Degrees: M.A.Sc and Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Area of research: Control theory and application, robotics, bio-mechatronics.
Latest advance: Dr. George Anwar of Integrated Motions, Inc., and I have developed a standard platform for data acquisition/control of multivariable systems that is modular, robust, and simple to use.
Underlying technology: A high-speed communication line between the sensors and a set of I/O modules, which simply collect the sensory data, preprocess it if necessary, and create packets of information with destination/source addresses with added overhead bits for error detection/recovery.
How it works: All I/O modules connect to the high-speed serial communication bus, which also supports processors—but they do not have any I/O. Instead, the processors collect information from the modules in just the same way as various computers collect data from devices over a LAN. The control algorithms for large-scale systems will be written in the processors and will send information to the I/O modules using the same protocol employed by them.
Impact on design engineers? With this platform, only one cable (control bus) goes around the structures. All sensors connect to the bus via I/O modules, minimizing the number of cables between remote locations. High sensor signal integrity is preserved, and design engineers will have flexibility in adding sensors and actuators to the bus.
Target applications: Large-scale systems with very wide bandwidth, such as big manufacturing facilities, large active antennas, and nuclear power plants.
Biggest challenge: Raising funds to develop a low-cost technology.
Why control systems? I'm a control freak.