Quarterly Webinar Series


2020 Series

Mobile Manipulating Drones

Present:  June 17, 2020, 11:00 AM Central Time
Speaker: Dr. Paul Oh, University of Nevada, Las Vegas



In the past few years, robotic limbs have been attached to rotorcraft drones to perform aerial manipulation.  Unlike simple object pick-and-place, such mobile-manipulating drones are dexterous to perform tasks like valve-turning, hatch-opening, and tool-handling.  This is a paradigm shift where such drones actively interact with their environment rather than just passively surveil.  Aerial manipulation is challenging because such interaction yields reaction forces and torques that destabilize the drone.  This talk will provide an overview of aerial manipulation and showcase examples that could serve in infrastructure inspection, maintenance, and repair.


Dr. Paul Oh is the Lincy Professor of Unmanned Aerial Systems in the Mechanical Engineering Department for the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering.  He is establishing an unmanned autonomous systems laboratory at UNLV, complete with a fleet of drones and several humanoid robots. 

From 2000 to 2014, he served as a Mechanical Engineering Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia and founded and directed the Drones and Autonomous Systems Laboratory (DASL). 

Oh is the former program director for robotics at the National Science Foundation where he managed a portfolio that suppored almost all academic non-military robotics research in American universities.  He has been a fellow of Boeing, and worked with the Office of Naval Research and NASA Caltech/Jet Propulsion Lab.


March 2020


Present:  March 12, 2020, 11:00 AM Central Time
Speaker: Dr. Jinying Zhu, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Elastic wave-based non-destructive testing (NDT) methods are commonly used for evaluation of civil engineering infrastructure, including bridges, dams and buildings. However, most of these methods require coupling (direct contact) between sensors and the test surface, which significantly restricts the testing speed and consistency, especially for large scale concrete structures in civil engineering. The air-coupled sensing technology was developed by Dr. Jinying Zhu as a solution for rapid scanning of concrete infrastructure. In this webinar, Dr. Zhu will review the development of air-coupled sensing technique for civil engineering applications, including fundamental theory and field application of air-coupled sensing on concrete structures. She will also present a recently developed automated acoustic scanning system for quick bridge deck evaluation and imaging.


Dr. Jinying Zhu is an associate professor in Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She received her Ph.D. degree in civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. Her research interests include NDT for concrete, wave propagation, cement material characterization using ultrasonic waves, and innovative sensing techniques. Dr. Zhu is a recipient of the ASNT Fellowship Award in 2012, and four times winner of ACI-James Instruments Award. She is an associate editor of Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation.