Day: October 14, 2013

Stepping Out in Style: Michigan Tech Researchers Developing an Artificial Leg with a Natural Gait

Walking is tricky business, as any toddler knows. And while most artificial feet and limbs do a pretty good job restoring mobility to people who have lost a leg, they have a ways to go before they equal the intricacy of a natural gait. As a result, over half of all amputees take a fall every year, compared to about one-third of people over 65.

In cooperation with a Mayo Clinic scientist, researchers at Michigan Technological University are taking a giant step toward solving the problem. They are making a bionic foot that could make an amputee’s walk in the park feel, well, like a walk in the park.

The secret lies in the ankle. Mo Rastgaar, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering–engineering mechanics, and PhD student Evandro Ficanha are working on a microprocessor-controlled ankle-foot prosthesis that comes close to achieving the innate range of motion of this highly complex joint.

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Bioinspired Nanoengineering of Multifunctional Surfaces

The Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Professor Chang-Hwan Choi Stevens Institute of Technology, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Room 112, ME-EM Bldg.

Title: Bioinspired Nanoengineering of Multifunctional Surfaces

Nature such as plants, insects, and marine animals uses three-dimensional (3D) micro/nano-textured surfaces with tailored surface wettability and mechanical pliability in their components (e.g., leaves, wings, eyes, legs, and skins) for multifunctional purposes such as self-cleaning, low-friction, antifouling, anti-icing, and anti-reflection. As scientific quests and engineering applications reach down to such a nanometer scale inspired by the nature, there is a strong need to fabricate 3D nanostructures with good regularity and controllability of their pattern, size, and shape. In many applications, furthermore, the nanostructures are not useful unless they cover a relatively large area and the manufacturing cost is within an acceptable range. The first part of this presentation will introduce effective 3D nano-patterning and fabrication techniques to create well-regulated nanostructures over a relatively large substrate area of various types of substrate materials. Such large-area 3D nanostructures with tailored structural dimensions and geometries can open new application possibilities in many areas. The rest of the talk will present a few examples of novel applications using the 3D nanostructures, including hydrodynamic drag reduction, anti-biofouling, anti-icing, and anti-corrosion.

Future potential applications of the 3D nanostructures to the other areas will also be discussed briefly, including self-assembly of nanomaterials and nanofluidic energy harvesting.

Dr. Chang-Hwan Choi is currently working as an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He acquired his BS (1995) and MS (1997) in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Seoul National University in Korea. He also earned his MS in Fluids, Thermal, and Chemical Processes from Brown University in 2002. Dr. Choi received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2006, specializing in MEMS/Nanotechnology and minoring in Fluid Mechanics and Biomedical Engineering. He has two-year (1996, 2000) work experience at Korea Aerospace Research Institute and three-year (1997-1999) teaching experience at Chandrakasem Rajabhat University in Thailand. His current research activities include large-area nanopatterning and 3D nanofabrication, fluid physics and heat transfer at nanoscale interfaces, microfluidic self-assembly of nanomaterials, nanofluidic energy harvesting, and cell-material interactions, funded by various federal agencies in US (NSF, DARPA, ONR, ARMY, and DOE) and industries. He has recently been named as a recipient of the 2010 Young Investigator Program (YIP) award by the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) for his efforts in the development of 3D nanostructures for hydrodynamically efficient anti-corrosion surfaces and highlighted in Nature (