The Robotics and Mechatronics Lab (RML) at Virginia Tech is a well established and rapidly expanding research center on VT's main campus located on the main level Randolph Hall at 460 Old Turner St., Blacksburg, VA. Currently, the lab accommodates 20 workstations for researchers with personal storage at each station. It also contains space where researchers can integrate systems and conduct experiments. Workstations are equipped with quad-core Dell/HP computers.


RML currently hosts 6 full-time Doctoral students and several Masters students. The graduate students also have access to full-time electrical and software support engineers and several undergraduate and local high school students that participate in research activities inside the lab throughout the year.


Computers and Software

RML has 15 quad-core workstations for general modeling, simulations, and day-to-day use. For more complicated simulations and analyses, the lab has a multi-purpose multi-core 64-bit computer station. The computers operate Linux and Windows platforms and are loaded with licensed software necessary for our research needs, including Matlab, Mathematica, C++ and C development environments, MathCAD, Maple, MSC ADAMS and related Toolkits, Abaqus, SolidWorks, ProEngineer, COMSOL, ANSYS, and LabView. Additional software is also available when needed from VT's College of Engineering license server. Furthermore, the lab is located on the same with the machine shop. In addition to the Design, Instructional and computer Labs, computational clusters for even more advanced simulations are available.


Major Equipment

RML has the necessary equipment and resources to carry out experimental work in robotics and mechatronics from preliminary mechanical, electrical and software design, to fabrication/assembly/integration, to full-scale implementation and testing. Available electrical equipment includes a variety of diagnostics and measurement equipment, including data acquisition systems, signal spectrum analyzers, camers, signal generators, power supplies, multi-meters and oscilloscopes. The lab also has an ElevenLab Printed Circuit Board (PCB) prototyping machine to fabricate circuit boards for the prototypes of the electromechanical components for experiments developed under various research projects. In terms of existing robotic systems, the laboratory currently houses several cable and rod-driven continuum robotic test platforms, a fully integrated hybrid-mobile robot system, seven Sensable OMNI PHANTOM haptic interfaces, one Novit Falcon haptic interface, two mobile robot hexapods instrumented for either teleopration or autonomous operation, and a T-Rex 700 RC helicompter.


Figure 1. Hybrid mobile robot: (a) open configuration, (b) closed configuration, demonstrating six (of many) modes of operation: (c) obstacle climbing/descending, (d) stair climbing, (e) trench crossing, (f) cylinder crossing, (g) simultaneous manipulation/climbing, (h) heavy object lifting.


Figure 2. (a) Rod-driven continuum robot, (b) cable-driven continuum robot, (c) docking module for modular robotics, (d) haptic glove for rehabilitation and controlling mobile robots (e) teleoperated and autonomous hexapods, (f) T-Rex 700 RC Helicopter and a sensor module for an unmanned aerial vehicle autonomous landing and take-off.





Machine Shop

RML and the Machine Shop are located on the same level. Tthe shop contains a variety of equipment for general and specialized machining, including computer numerical control (CNC) lathes, CNC milling machines, drill presses, a laser cutter and a rapid prototyper. The machine shop is also equipped with precision manufacturing equipment, including the AgieCharmilles Cut 20 Wire Cut Electric Discharge Machine (EDM) and the AgieCharmilles Drill 11 hole drill EDM. The machine shop is used for manufacturing experimental hardware for prototype work (as needed), and is available for research projects.


Vicon Motion Capture System

RML has access to VT's Motion Capture facility for testing and characterizing various integrated robotic systems.



Virginia Tech provides its faculty and students access to a wide cross-section of high-quality journals and conference proceedings, allowing the students to stay current on state-of-the-art advances. Any book or paper to which students do not have access may be easily ordered through the Interlibrary Loan service and digitally or physically delivered.



Copyright © 2018 Robotics and Mechatronics Laboratory (RML), 635 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061