Union College faculty researchers have received an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program to acquire a versatile high speed, high precision 3D motion tracking system. Associate Professor of Computer Science John Rieffel is the lead Principal Investigator (PI) on the grant (NSF ID 1827495). The acquisition of the motion tracking system will enable fundamental research and education in biomechanics, dynamics and controls, robotics, neuroscience, and biology.
Through the acquisition, faculty researchers will gain a greater understanding of animal motions and communications to enable the design of robots with more versatile movement patterns that could become more effective partners with humans in activities ranging from disaster recovery to health care and manufacturing. It will also provide the basis for new treatments for joint injuries and strategies to mitigate damage from osteoarthritis.
Prof. Rieffel is joined by co-PIs Jennifer Currey (associate professor of electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering and co-director of bioengineering), Leo Fleishman (William D. Williams Professor of Biological Sciences), Scott Kirkton (associate professor of biology), and Nick Webb (assistant professor of computer science). Additional faculty engaged in research and educational activities utilizing the motion tracking system include Luke Dosiek (assistant professor of electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering) and William Keat (professor of mechanical engineering).
The 3D motion tracking system is set to be the centerpiece of a common space where student and faculty researchers can engage in interdisciplinary collaborations. This acquisition will integrate high speed, high precision motion tracking techniques into undergraduate STEM research and teaching, along with new tools, methods, and environments to foster the development of future researchers.