Amir Yazdani

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah (2021)
M.S.  Mechanical Engineering, AmirKabir University of Technology
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology

Lab: MEB 2215

Current Research: 
1. Improvement of Human Safety and In Human-and-Robot Interaction

Due to recent developments in collaborative robots, industries are more intended to use them in collaboration with human workers. In this project, we tried to improve human safety while interacting with collaborative robots by implementing safety measures into planning and control algorithms of these robots.  The goals of this research project are:

  1. Study human motion in a shared autonomy workplace interacting with a collaborative robot.
    • To have better understanding on human body motion in collaboration tasks, a motion capture system connected to ROS is used which provides online human postures and also records those motions for later studies
    • Develop a reinforcement learning algorithm to find the cost function of human motion and use it to predict the human motion
  2. Develop an algorithm for real-time optimal motion planning and failure-tolerant control of robots which maintains safety measures and improves productivity at the same time.
    • The novel algorithm is based on convex optimization and MPC and ensures the collision avoidance and safety measures between human and robot and simultaneously improves productivity by completing the task without stopping or lowering the speed and follow the global optimal path. In addition, the algorithm reduces harmful velocity and force jumps caused by the actuator failure in the robot.
    • Use the prediction of human motion to improve the performance of motion planner algorithm

2. Estimation and Ergonomic Analysis of Human Posture in Tele-Manipulation Tasks

In this project, we focused on improvement of ergonomics in tele-manipulation task in which human has physical interaction with tele-operation robots and it is where evidences show high rate of musculoskeletal injuries. The goals of this projects include:

  1. Posture estimation of human doing a tele-manipulation task
    • Posture of human while having physical interaction with a tele-operation robot is estimated by only using the trajectory of the robot without any vision system. The problem modeled as a partially-observed Hidden Markovian Model (HMM) and solved via a filtering approach.
  2. Online ergonomic analysis of human posture in tele-manipulation
    • Develop an online ergonomics analysis algorithm that is based on current ergonomics study methods (such as RULA–Rapid Upper-Limb Assessment) .
    • Use OpenSim software with improved cost functions to score a posture
  3. Smart re-mastering of the tele-manipulation robot to maintain human posture in an ergonomic manifold while doing different tele-manipulation tasks
    • Model the problem as a POMDP problem

Research Interests:  Human-Centered Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Probabilistic Robotics, Robot Learning and Perception, Telemanipulation, HRI/HRC, Safety, and Ergonomics
Personal Interests:  Fly fishing, Hiking, and Mountain Biking

Dorothy Taylor

PhD Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah (Expected graduation 2022)

MS Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University (1997)

BS Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University (1994)

Phone: 801-581-8135
Lab: MEB 2215

Current Research:
Past Research: Key Indicators of Successful Interdisciplinary Product Development Teams
Research Area of interest: Home health monitoring technologies, Assistive Technology and Devices, Biomechanics

Personal Statement: When I am not researching and studying, I enjoy teaching undergraduate engineering students all about the design process as it’s applied to product development. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, 8 children, 2 son-in-laws and 1 grandson! We enjoy creating and trying new things, hiking, camping and traveling coast to coast.

Katrina Cernucan

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah (2025)
B.S. Biomedical Engineering, University of Utah (2022)

A.S. General Studies, Weber State University (2017)

Lab: MEB 2215

Current Research: Biomechanics, Gait Analysis, Ergonomics, Balance, Falls

Personal Statement: Outside of research, I read and write about the implications of themes present in fantasy/sci-fi media, particularly with regards to potential allegories (intentional or not) to real-world issues. I actively participate in STEM outreach, mentorship, and student leadership activities. I also draw squirrels and willfully listen to 3-hour long video essays on video game design.”

Jamie Herridge

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah (2024)
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, St. Cloud State University (2020)

Lab: MEB 2215

Current Research: Biomechanics of Human Motion, Effects of Shoe Design on Running Biomechanics, Roles of Materials, Failure, and Tribology on Prosthetics, and Design of Experiments

Personal Statement: When I am not studying, I enjoy trail running, Nordic skiing, and biking. I also enjoy playing with my border collies and reading good stories.

Nicholas Gomez

Ph.D.  Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah (2022)
M.S., Health Sciences, California State University-Dominguez Hills (2015)
B.S., Bioengineering, University of California-San Diego (2013)
Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist

Lab: MEB 2215

Current Research:

I am new to the E&S Program and presently evaluating specific research options.

Research Interests:  Functional Evaluation of Persons Living with Amputation

Sarvenaz Chaeibakhsh

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah (2022)
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Tennessee-Knoxville (2016)
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, KN Toosi University of Technology (2013)

Lab: MEB 2215

Current Research: Machine Learning and Rehabilitation

Research Area of interest: As a member of the E&S and ARM lab, her Ph.D. thesis is focused on two main projects: optimizing hospital room configurations with respect to patients’ risk of fall, and using machine learning methods to estimate 3D ground reaction forces from pressure insoles output data.

Past Activities:  Junior robotic teams’ supervisor and recognized in several domestic and international robotics competitions

Personal Statement:  Away from work, I enjoy hanging out with friends, traveling, and dancing