Morehead State University Using VR, AR to Enhance Manufacturing Environments

As Kentucky NSF EPSCoR research continues to push the boundaries of advanced manufacturing, it is essential that humans and machines speak the same language. Through software algorithms and machine learning, as well as powerful augmented and virtual reality scenarios, the engineering labs at Morehead State University are working to test, train, and enrich the manufacturing workforce.

Led by Drs. Kouroush Jenab and Jorge Ortega-Moody, the Morehead State team is working on two projects for Kentucky’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Enhanced Robotics and Structures. The first is developing algorithms for predictive maintenance – making software that control the robotics smarter and more flexible in tough conditions. The second is employing augmented and virtual reality for physical and virtual test beds, used for training the advanced manufacturing workforce. In the end, they hope to create smarter, safer, and more cost-effective manufacturing environments.

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Dr. Jenab and Ortega-Moody’s lab consists of ten post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds, each with their own project and skill sets that benefit the common goals. Students learn mechanical design, electrical design, and programming in their courses. Broadening participation and enhancing diversity, a goal of Kentucky NSF EPSCoR, benefits research and student development, something Dr. Moody sees on a daily basis.

“Something that helps us a lot is the diversity that we have we have (in our group)…it’s not the same to see the same problem from (just) one angle—different students came from different universities in different parts of the world…having a team multi-disciplinary and multicultural team makes a difference.”

These student projects would not be possible without strong mentor relationships formed with Dr. Moody and Dr. Jenab along the way. Andres Salinas-Hernandez, a master’s student at MSU, is grateful for their guidance: “(Dr. Moody and Dr. Jenab) helped me during my master’s by demanding myself a lot more than what I was used to. Coming from a different country and coming from a different educational system and each kind of took me under his wing.”

As the MSU team pushes forward in research and education, they are grateful for the experiences provided by Kentucky NSF EPSCoR, and hopeful that their research will make a difference in Kentucky and beyond.

I would like to thank everybody involved in these organizations and helping us to promote our research and promote our teaching,” says Dr. Jenab.