Nishant Jalgaonkar passes RFE, Nov 2019

Nishant Jalgaonkar successfully cleared his Research Fundamentals Exam (RFE) and advanced into candidacy in his PhD program. He presented his research on the design and development of a novel ankle rehabilitation robot. The presentation included a thorough survey of the prior art in the field, preliminary results (including a mock up of the robot), early conclusions, and future work. The examiners provided valueable insights and shared constructive feedback.


Revanth Damerla wins NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Summer 2019

Revanth has won a 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship as a part his research at PSDL. This award "recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines". Revanth will use this award to continue making strides in his research on mechanism design, prosthetics, and applications of machine learning in design.


FlexDex Needle-Driver wins 2019 Edison Award

FlexDex (Needle-Driver) and its distribution partner Olympus (3D ENDOEYE) have won the 2019 Edison Award (Silver) in the Surgery Robotics category.


Nishant Jalgaonkar joins PSDL, May 2019

Nishant Jalgaonkar joins the PSDL team in May, 2019. Nishant received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering [B.Eng. (Hons)] from the National University of Singapore in 2014. After graduation, Nishant worked at the Yale-NUS College in Singapore, where he mentored freshman students, and helped setup and run the college's maker space. At the University of Michigan, he received his Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.E) specializing in Design in 2019. He is pursuing research in the field of Human Machine Interaction, and is working to build mechatronics and mechanism design expertise.


Siddharth Rath passes RFE, Nov 2018

Siddharth Rath cleared his Research Fundamental Exam (RFE) and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy. He presented his research on the occurrence of Complex Non Minimum Phase (CNMP) Zeros in the dynamics of spring mass systems and its correlation with the phenomenon of curve veering observed in symmetric/periodic elastic structures. The presentation included a thorough survey of the prior art in the field, preliminary results in the form of mathematical hypothesis that explain the presence of CNMP zeros in spring mass systems, early conclusions based on this hypothesis and plans for future work.


FlexDex Named 2018 Excellence in Surgical Products Award Winner

FlexDex Needle Driver, in conjunction with Olympus ENDOEYE, has been recognized with the Surgical Products' 2018 Excellence in Surgical Products (ESP) Award, as the winner in the OR Equipment and Accessories category.


Revanth Damerla joins PSDL, Jul 2018

Revanth joins the PSDL team in July of 2018 after completing his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2018. His interests lie in precision machine design and its applications to the broader area of mechatronic design. At PSDL, Revanth is working on mechanism synthesis tools/methods and upper limb prosthetics.


Prof. Awtar invited to present at the National Science Foundation, Apr 2018

In April 2018, Shorya Awtar was invited by the Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation, Directorate for Engineering to present his research and development over the last decade to their Engineering Advisory Committee. Out hundreds of PIs nation-wide funded by the Engineering Directorate, Shorya was the only PI invited to present to the committee in-person. He talk titled "Basic Research to Societal Impact” highlighted how NSF grants (basic research, I-Corps, SBIR) enabled new discoveries, disruptive technologies, tech transfer, and societal impact.


Prof. Awtar invited to represent FlexDex at the National Academies Science, Engineering, and Medicine, Nov 2017

On Nov 15, 2017, Shorya Awtar and FlexDex were invited by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to present at the National Convocation on Revitalizing the University-Industry-Government Partnership in Support of Research in Science, Engineering, and Medicine that included a Showcase of University Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Only eight out of all US universities that receive federal funding were selected to present at this event.


Prof. Awtar invited to meet with Congressional offices at the US Capitol Hill, Nov 2017

In Nov 2017, Shorya Awtar was invited by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU) to present at the University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase and the Capitol Hill Reception & Exhibition. These events was hosted by the Council on Government Affairs (CGA) and the Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) and was attended by members of the US Congress and their aides. The prupose was to highlight the importance of federal funding for basic and translational research that ultimately leads to breakthrough technology and addresses societal issues of national and global significance.


Siddharth Rath joins PSDL, Aug 2017

Siddharth Rath, aka Sid, joined the PSDL team in August 2017. Sid received his undergraduate degree (B.Tech) in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 2017. As an undergraduate, Sid worked on developing diagnostic and prognostic tools for industry grade CNC grinding machines using an array of sensors to estimate and keep track of the machine's health in real time. At PSDL he will be pursuing research in areas of Dynamics and Control. Specifically he will be working on control of flexible systems and its application in the design of high speed, high resolution, large range of motion flexure mechanism based motion stages.


Prof. Awtar elected ASME Fellow, Jul 2017

Shorya Awtar has been elected Fellow of the American Society Of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The ASME Committee of Past Presidents confers the Fellow grade of membership on worthy candidates to recognize their outstanding engineering achievements. Web Link. List of ASME Fellows


Leqing Cui defends Ph.D., May 2017

Leqing Cui defended his Ph.D. thesis titled "On the Complex Non-Minimum Phase Zeros in Flexure Mechanisms" on May 26, 2017. His doctoral thesis committee comprised Prof. Awtar (Chair), Prof. Kon-Well Wang, Prof. Chinedum Okwudire, and Prof. James Freudenberg. Leqing presented significant results in the field flexible system dynamics with specific application to flexure mechanisms. In particular, he investigated the genesis of complex non-minimum phase zeros in such systems and developed analytical tools to predict the absence or presence of these zeros. He confirmed his predictions via experimental measurements conducted on a carefully designed hardware setup comprising flexures, sensors, actuators, and data processing. He also demonstrated a correlation between the phenomena of complex non-minimum phase zeros and curve veering. Leqing has accepted a position with ASML and will be moving to their facility in Wilton, CT after graduation. Thesis Link


PSDL research wins two Best Paper awards by ASME Dynamic Systems and Controls Division, 2017

Ph.D. candidate Leqing Cui, Prof. Shorya Awtar, and Prof. Okwudire's paper, "Complex Non-minimum Phase Zeros In The Dynamics Of Double Parallelogram Flexure Module Based Flexure Mechanisms", has been selected as the winner of the 2017 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division (DSCD) Best Conference Paper on Mechatronics. This award is given to the best original paper in the area of mechatronics presented at any of the DSCD-sponsored conferences in 2016 including the IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), the American Control Conference (ACC), and the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC). Previously, the same paper won the Best Student Paper Award at the 2016 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC). This paper presents significant new contributions in the analytical prediction of the existence of complex non-minimum phase zeros in the dynamics of flexure mechanisms. Web Link.


Prof. Awtar wins the CoE Rexford Hall Innovation Award, Jan 2017

For the 2016-2017 year, the College of Engineering has chosen Shorya Awtar to receive the Rexford E. Hall Innovation Excellence Award. This award recognizes a breakthrough technology and its transformational potential in engineering practice or the market, the translation of a significant innovation from the university to market readiness by starting a company, and deploying a university innovation towards societal good. Prof. Awtar won this award for the invention and commercialization of FlexDex technology via his start-up FlexDex Surgical, for development of the HIPERNAP technology that is being deployed by the semiconductor industry, and for creation of several mechatronics exhibits for the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum. This award is intended to recognize entrepreneurial aspects of innovation that fall outside the scope of innovation in basic research, education, and service.


PSDL receives NSF Dynamics, Controls and System Diagnostics (DCSD) grant, Jul 2016

Our research lab received a grant (Award # 1634824) from the National Science Foundation, Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) to investigate the dynamics of flexure mechanisms in the presence of geometric non-linearities. The proposal titled "Non-Minimum Phase Zeros in the Dynamics of Flexure Mechanisms" was funded by the Dynamics, Controls and System Diagnostics (DCSD) program at NSF.

This project will investigate the various challenges in simultaneously achieving large displacement and dynamic performance in multi-axis flexure mechanisms. Large displacements result in geometric nonlinearities that vary with the displacement. It is not clear which nonlinearities are critical and which ones may be ignored. Multi-axis flexure mechanisms also commonly employ symmetric or periodic topologies to enhance quasi-static performance, which results in multiple closely spaced modes. Furthermore, unavoidable manufacturing tolerances lead to parametric uncertainty. Together, geometric nonlinearities that vary with displacement, closely spaced modes due to topological symmetry, and parametric uncertainty due to manufacturing tolerances give rise to complex non-minimum phase zeros in the frequency response of flexure mechanisms under certain conditions. These complex non-minimum phase zeros result in severe tradeoffs between large displacement and dynamic performance. When and why do these complex non-minimum phase zeros appear? Can these zeros be analytically predicted? Do they have a physical meaning? Is there a way to suppress them or overcome their detrimental effects via physical/control system design? All these questions are currently unanswered and represent a gap in the knowledge on flexure dynamics that will be addressed via this research project.


PSDL Start-up FlexDex Inc. receives SBIR Phase II Award and Series A Funding, 2014

In Nov 2014, FlexDex Inc., the start-up company founded by Professors Awtar and Geiger, received an SBIR Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation along with matching funds from the State of Michigan, and closed a Series A round of funding from private investors. With this funding, the company is developing its first product, an articulating needle-driver.


David Hiemstra Masters Thesis Defence, 2014

David Hiemstra successfully defended his M.S. thesis titled "Design of Moving Magnet Actuators (MMA) for Large-range Flexure-based Nanopositioning" on July 6, 2014. This work investigates the use of MMAs to simultaneously achieve large range, high speed, and high motion quality in flexure-based nanopositioning systems. This work impacts technologies such as scanning probe microscopy and lithography, industrial semiconductor wafer quality control processes, and other applications which rely on nanopositioning systems to provide controlled motion with nanoscale precision, resolution and accuracy. Various actuator types are compared to meet system-level requirements and the MMA is chosen as a promising potential candidate. Component and system level design challenges and associated tradeoffs in designing the MMA to meet nanopositioning performance are discussed and derived in this thesis. Thesis Link


Gaurav Parmar Doctoral Thesis Defence, 2014

Gaurav Parmar successfully defended his doctoral thesis titled "Dynamics and Control of Flexure-based Large Range Nanopositioning Systems" on Jan 16, 2014. The objective of this thesis was to demonstrate desktop-size, cost-effective, flexure-based, multi-axis nanopositioning capability over a motion range of several millimeters per axis.Increasing the motion range will overcome one of the main drawbacks of existing nanopositioning systems, thereby significantly improving the coverage area in nanometrology and nanomanufacturing applications. Professors Shorya Awtar (Chair), Heath Hofmann, Kira Barton, and Chinedum Okwudire served on Gaurav's doctoral thesis committee. Thesis Link


PSDL Start-up FlexDex LLC wins an SBIR Phase I Award, 2013

FlexDex LLC was created to develop and commericialize a platform technology for minimally invasive surgery based on research and innovations in the PSDL. In July 2013, the company was awarded an SBIR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation. FlexDex technology employs a novel forearm mounted tool configuration and an associated parallel-kinematic virtual center mechanism that makes the tool input joint coincident with the surgeon's wrist. This enables a highly natural control of the two wrist-like rotations of the end-effector, along with the translations and roll rotation. The resulting intuitive mapping between the surgeon's hand motions and the end-effector motions makes the tool a natural extension of the surgeon's hand inside the patient's body. While such motion transmission, in surgery as well as other applications, has long been possible via robotics, FlexDex provides comparable functionality via a simple, low-cost, mechanical design without using sensors, actuators, or computers.


Best Paper Award in Compliant Mechanisms, 37th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, 2013

The paper titled "Extensible-Link Kinematic Model for Determining Motion Characteristics of Compliant Mechanisms" was awarded the Compliant Mechanisms Award for a "significant contribution to the theory and application of compliant mechanisms" at the 37th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference at this year's ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC) held in Portland, OR. This paper authored by Justin Beroz, John Hart, and Shorya Awtar presents an analytical model for understanding the motion characteristics of arbitrary planar compliant mechanisms for high-accuracy motion applications. From the model, the authors present new insight into the fundamental sources of trajectory error in a compliant mechanism, such as a microgripper, and the limits with which it can be corrected.


Best Paper Award, 7th International Conference on Micro and Nano Systems, 2013

The paper "MEMS Based XY Stage with Large Displacement" authored by Mohammad Olfatnia, Leqing Cui, Pankaj Chopra, and Shorya Awtar was selected for the Best Conference Paper Award at the 7th International Conference on Micro and Nano Systems. This conference was part of the ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC) held in Portland, OR. This paper presents a novel parallel-kinematic micro XY stage that employs electrostatic comb-drive actuators guided by the Clamped Paired Double Parallelogram flexure to achieve a bi-directional displacement range greater than 225 ?m per motion axis, which is one the largest reported in the literature so far. Video Demonstration.


RD100 Award, 2013

High performance MEMS micro-actuator technology developed by PSDL researchers has won the 2013 RD100 Award. Every year, the editors of the R&D Magazine recognize the 100 most technologically significant products or inventions from the past year. Traditional electrostatic comb-drive actuators, although easy to fabricate and integrate within MEMS, suffer from limited stroke and force because of sideways snap-in instability. On the other hand, electromagnetic and piezoelectric actuators provide better actuation performance but are considerably more challenging to fabricate and integrate in MEMS devices. The actuators invented, developed, and demonstrated at PSDL overcome these long-standing tradeoffs between ease of fabrication and performance. Fundamentally new flexure mechanisms were used for actuator guidance to mitigate sideways instability in electrostatic comb-drive actuators, enabling 3 times greater single-directional stroke and 5 times greater bi-directional stroke, compared to the state of the art in comb-drive actuators while maintaing small actuation effort and ease of fabrication. These advances in micro-actuator technology serve as potential enablers in applications such as micro-switches for consumer products, optical switches in the networking industry, probe-based data storage, micro-scale energy harvesting, and video-rate AFM. The award will be presented at the 2013 R&D100 Awards ceremony to be held in Orlando, FL on November 7, 2013. Web Link. Video Demonstration.


NSF SBIR Phase I Award, HiperNap LLC, 2013

PSDL start-up HiperNap LLC has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant to develop and commercialize large range flexure-based nanopositioning technology created by PSDL engineers over the last several years. In Phase I, the company is focusing on developing novel moving magnetic actuators that simultaneously enables large range, high speed, and nanometric precision in nanopositioning systems. David Hiemstra, a PSDL graduate, is leading the R&D effort at HiperNap LLC as its Chief Technology Officer. Link


College of Engineering 1938E Award, Shorya Awtar, 2013

Prof. Shorya Awtar has been selected to receive the College of Engineering 1938E Award. Established by the Class of 1938 Engineers' Fund, this award is presented in recognition of an Assistant Professor who is an outstanding teacher in both elementary and advanced courses, an understanding counselor of students who seek guidance in their choice of career, a contributor to the educational growth of his/her College, and a teacher whose scholarly integrity pervades his/her service to the University and the profession of Engineering. Link


Distinguished Leadership Award, David Hiemstra, 2013

David Hiemstra has been awarded the The University of Michigan College of Engineering Distinguished Leadership Award. This honor is conferred upon undergraduate and graduate students of the College of Engineering who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the College, University, and community. Link


Shiladitya Sen Ph.D. Defense, 2012

Shiladitya successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis "The Beam Constraint Model: A closed-form parametric model of the constraint characteristics of generalized beam flexures" on September 24, 2012. Congratulations! Shiladitya is now working with Bruker in Santa Barbara CA.


SAE Ralph Teetor Educational Award, Shorya Awtar, 2012

Prof. Shorya Awtar has been selected to receive the 2012 Ralph R. Teetor Award by the Society of Automotive Engineers. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to engineering education by a young engineering educator. Established in 1963, this award is presented at the Awards Ceremony during the SAE World Congress. Link


William Mirsky Memorial Fellowship, David Hiemstra, 2012

David Hiemstra has been awarded the The University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering Department William Mirsky Memorial Fellowship. This honor is awarded to a Mechanical Engineering Master's student that has shown outstanding research and academic achievement. Link


Rackham Centennial Spring/Summer 2012 Fellowship, David Hiemstra, 2012

The award is designed to enable graduate students enrolled in a Rackham program to work on research, scholarly, or creative projects in collaboration with faculty mentors during the Spring/Summer 2012 term to advance progress towards the degree and their future impact as "Michigan Graduate Students in the World". As a Rackham Centennial Spring/Summer 2012 Fellow, David completed his M.S. Thesis, "Design of Moving Magnet Actuators for Flexure-based Nanopositioning Systems". Link


DAAD RISE Professional Fellowship, David Hiemstra, 2012

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) RISE program places excellent graduate students in the natural sciences and engineering in research and work internships with companies, universities and research institutes in Germany. As a DAAD RISE Professional Fellow, David gained additional experience in precision engineering at Kleindiek Nanotechnik, GmbH in Reutlingen, Germany. Link


Rackham International Student Fellowship, Siddharth Sood, 2011

Siddharth Sood has been awarded the Rackham International Student Fellowship for 2011/2012 based on his academic achievements. Link



ASME DSCD Best Conference Paper Award on Mechatronics, Shorya Awtar and Gaurav Parmar, 2011

The paper "Physical and Control System Design Challenges in Large Range Nanopositioning" presented by Shorya Awtar and Gaurav Parmar at the 5th IFAC Symposium on Mechatronic Systems, Cambridge MA, 2010 has been selected for the Best Conference Paper Award on Mechatronics by ASME's Dynamic Systems and Control Division (DSCD). This award recognizes the best paper presented and published in the proceedings of conferences sponsored by the ASME DSCD Mechatronics Technical Committee in 2010. These conferences included Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), American Controls Conference (ACC), Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC), and the IFAC Symposium on Mechatronics.

Freudenstein / General Motors Young Investigator Award, Shorya Awtar, 2011

Prof. Shorya Awtar has received the 2011 Freudenstein / General Motors Young Investigator Award established by the ASME's Design Engineering Division to encourage young investigators in accomplishing high quality research. This award recognizes the paper titled "An XYZ Parallel Kinematic Flexure Mechanism with Geometrically Decoupled Degrees of Freedom", co-authored by Shorya Awtar, John Ustick, and Shiladitya Sen. Link

ASME Student Mechanism Design Competition, John Ustick and Shiladitya Sen, 2011

John Ustick and Shiladitya Sen won the 2nd place at the Student Mechanism Design Competition (Graduate Level) held at the 2011 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Washington DC. They won this award for the design of a novel parallel-kinematic XYZ flexure mechanism for use in large-range nanopositioning. Link

American Society for Precision Engineering Scholarship, David Hiemstra, 2011

David Hiemstra was awarded an ASPE Scholarship by the Education Committee of the American Society for Precision Engineering for his contributions to a paper, "Design, Fabrication, and Testing of a Moving Magnet Actuator for Large Range Nanopositioning." David will present the paper at the ASPE 2011 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO in November.

ASME Leonardo da Vinci Award, Shorya Awtar, 2011

Shorya Awtar has received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Leonardo da Vinci Award for eminent achievement and important advances in the field of Machine Design. Link

Mechanical Engineering Department Achievement Award, Shorya Awtar, 2011

Shorya Awtar has recieved the Mechanical Department Achievement Award for outstanding contributions in research, teaching, and servcie.

NIST ARRA Graduate Research Fellowship, Gaurav Parmar, 2011

Gaurav Parmar has been selected for the National Institute for Standards and Technology's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (NIST-ARRA) Measurement Science and Engineering Fellowship. He will work with the Precision Engineering Division at NIST, under the supervision of Dr. John Kramar, to design and develop a Large-range Coordinate Measuring Machine with nanometric uncertainty (nano-CMM).

NIST ARRA Graduate Research Fellowship, Siddharth Sood, 2011

Siddharth Sood has been selected for the National Institute for Standards and Technology's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (NIST-ARRA) Measurement Science and Engineering Fellowship. He will work with the Intelligent Systems Division at NIST, under the supervision of Dr. Jason Gorman, to create and validate High-speed Scanning Probe Microscopy and Lithography.

SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, Shorya Awtar, 2010

Prof. Shorya Awtar has been selected for the 2011 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Since 1980, the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award has recognized manufacturing engineers, age 35 or younger, who have made exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry. Link

First Place, TIGO Spotlight, Benjamin Pascoe and Alejandro Pelaez, 2010

Professors Shorya Awtar and Damian Beil co-advised the student team - composed of Benjamin Pascoe and Alejandro Pelaez - that won the first place in the annual Spotlight competition organized by the Tauber Institute for Global Operations (TIGO), University of Michigan. This winning team worked on a project for General Motors to study the engineering challenges and commercial potential associated with aluminum-based Injection Mold Tooling. Link

Editor's Award for ME450 team's Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum Exhibit, 2010

In Winter 2010, an ME450 team led by Daniel Ponstein and supervised by Prof. Awtar designed and fabricated an Inverted Pendulum system exhibit for the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. This "Mechatronics" exhibit highlights multi-disciplinary engineering and the role of feedback controls in modern systems. It won an Editor's award for outstanding exhibitions at the Maker's Faire, an event held annually at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI. Link

First Place, ASME Student Mechanism Design Competition, IDETC 2010

The FlexDex student team from the Precision Systems Design Lab, led by Tristan Trutna and supervised by Prof. Awtar, won the first place in the Student Mechanism Design Competition (Graduate Level) at the 34th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, which was part of the ASME's International Design and Engineering Technical Conferences 2010. FlexDex is a low-cost minimally invasive surgical tool technology that provides enhanced dexterity and intuitive control.

FlexDex article in the ASME Journal of Medical Devices, most downloaded in Sept, Oct, Nov 2010


FlexDex invention selected for Celebrate Invention, 2009

The FlexDex invention was showcased at the annual Celebration Invention organized by the U-M Technology Transfer Office (TTO). It was selected as one of the six most promising invention disclosures - out of more than 350 - filed with the TTO in year 2008. FlexDex is a Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) technology platform that aims to provide enhanced dexterity, intuitive control, greater precision, and natural force feedback via a low-cost mechanical tool. Link

First Place, TIGO Spotlight, Jialing Li and Claudia Uehara, 2009

Professors Shorya Awtar and Hyun-Soo Ahn co-advised the student team - composed of Jialing Li and Claudia Uehara - that won the first place in the annual Spotlight competition organized by the Tauber Institute for Global Operations (TIGO), University of Michigan. This winning team worked with AMETEK to propose a new supply chain strategy, comprising in-sourcing as well as outsourcing, for Printed Circuit Board Assemblies. Link

NSF CAREER Award, Shorya Awtar, 2009

Prof. Shorya Awtar wins the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award for his research and educational proposal on Elastic Averaging: A Nature-inspired Methodology for Flexure Mechanism Design Link

R&D 100, XY HiPER-NaP, 2008

Prof. Awtar and Gaurav Parmar win the Research and Development magazine's R&D 100 Award for the XY High Precision Extended Range Nanopositioner. This award recognizes the 100 most innovative and significant technologies developed in any given year. Link