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Research Experiences

Research Experiences: Text

Efficient Propulsion of a Robotic Tuna

Princeton, NJ (Jun 2020 - Nov 2021)

Advisers: Dr. Liuyang Ding, Dr. Alexander Smits

This project in the Princeton Gas Dynamics and Fluid Dynamics Lab and organized by the Princeton Environmental Institute (now known as the High Meadows Environmental Institute) aims to learn more about the swimming methods and maneuvers of tuna, one of the most efficient long-range swimmers in the ocean. Under the guidance of Dr. Liuyang Ding and Dr. Alexander Smits, we studied the efficiency and properties of tuna's swimming methods as this could inspire the unsteady underwater propulsion technologies in man-made vehicles. 

When I was originally selected for this research project, the plan was for my research partner (Hayden Burt) and I to work on exploring the robot tuna's movements using a water channel experiment. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the research program became virtual. Instead of the plan above, my research partner and I recreated the entire water channel experimental set-up from the design process to the analysis of data from the computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation. Our study aims to look specifically at how the geometry of the tuna's tail fin could potentially affect the thrust, drag, power, and efficiency of the tuna's swimming.

The animation above shows a 3D visualization of the Q criterion of the robot tuna and its wake. The Q criterion is important in fluid mechanics as it is a measure of vorticity in a fluid.

As in-person school and research resumed in the fall of 2021, I was able to return to lab where I assisted in setting up the water channel and particle image velocimetry (PIV) equipment and conducting experiments measuring thrust and propulsion of a robotic tuna.

Skills: PTC Creo, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Component Assembly, ANSYS Workbench (Steady-state Thermal simulations, Fluent fluid flow simulations), CFD simulations, finite element analysis, fluid mechanics, fluid dynamics, laser safety

Research Experiences: Video

Formation and Dynamics of Bubbles in a Microfluidic T-junction Using a Diluted Particle Suspension as its Continuous Phase

Beijing, China (Jun 2019 - Jul 2019)

Adviser: Dr. Li Jiang

I spent the summer of 2019 in Tsinghua University and the University of Science and Technology Beijing working on microfluidics research under the tutelage of Professor Li Jiang. I developed polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) T-junction devices of varying geometries. After weeks of honing my microfluidics lab skills by creating several microfluidics devices, my research was focused on qualitative observations of bubbles in a diluted particle suspension and an experiment studying the dynamics of bubbles in a suspension. Towards the end of the summer, I discovered a surprising trend in my experiment that the lab continued to delve deeper into even after my time in the internship. 

My time in Beijing also proved to be a transformative experience, as I was fully immersed in a city where I had close to no background in the language (Mandarin Chinese). With the guidance of the kind graduate students in my lab and with some background in the Chinese Hokkien dialect, I was able to obtain an elementary level of proficiency in Mandarin. This allowed me to walk around Beijing alone and communicate clearly with locals using their language. 

Skills: microfluidics lab techniques, photolithography, lab equipment techniques (high-speed camera microscope, pressure control monitor, flammable gas tank cylinder), ImageJ, large-scale image processing and analysis, fluid mechanics

Research Experiences: Video

Optimizing Human Control of Small Robotic Swarms

Medford, MA  |  Quezon City, Philippines  (Jun 2017 - May 2018)

Advisers: Dr. Matthew Cain, Dr. Dawn Wendell

In 2017, I was accepted to the prestigious Research Science Institute high school summer program hosted by MIT. The highlight of this experience was the research program, where I interned at the Tufts University Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Cain and Dr. Dawn Wendell, I completed the entire research process in 6 weeks doing seminal research on small robotic swarms. My study focused on comparing and optimizing the interfaces through which a human operator could control swarms of robots.

The video shown above shows a recording of one of the many simulations I built where a human operator interacts with the interface built to control the robotic swarm. The operator uses the up, down, left, and right arrow keys to control the Alpha leader which is then followed by the other 8 members of the swarm robot "squad". After the six-week in-depth summer research program, I continued work on this project for another year. In the year I spent working on this project, I wrote two unpublished full-length (30 to 40 pages each) papers and gave a number of formal and informal presentations on my work. Through the program, I also attended lectures on the frontiers of Physics and Engineering as well as several guest lectures from distinguished scientists and professionals. 

Skills: C#, Unity, R, LaTex, human-robot interfaces, human-swarm interfaces, robotic theory, engineering dynamics, behavioral psychology, cognitive science, psychology study ethics and practices

Research Experiences: Video

3D Computational Model of Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production Using the GAMA Platform Quezon City, Philippines (Jul 2016 - Dec 2016)

Adviser: Dr. Roy Vincent L. Canseco

For 6 months at the University of the Philippines, I contributed towards developing an agent-based simulation of the photocatalytic hydrogen production process. Under the guidance of Dr. Roy Canseco, I worked with two teams to virtually replicate a parallel chemical engineering study on the chemical processes involved in photocatalytic hydrogen production.

This virtual model was created to quickly and easily manipulate the input and parameters to the hydrogen production process and see the outcomes of such input and parameters. This enables the quicker optimization of the photocatalytic hydrogen production process. An agent-based modeling approach was used to flexibly describe the characteristics and motions of the photons and molecules involved in the chemical processes. This project aims to determine a better-optimized procedure in producing hydrogen to exponentially increase the efficiency in industrial production of hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells. I prepared a full-length 30-page paper midway through my involvement in the project and delivered a few presentations on my work including a presentation of this project to a college-level class as a guest speaker.

The video shown shows the top view of the model. The pink spheres seen floating to the top of the cuboid represent the hydrogen gas molecules produced from the series of chemical reactions simulated by the model.

Skills: GAMA, Netlogo, agent-based modeling, photocatalytic chemical processes and properties

Research Experiences: Video
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