Category Archives: Research


Matt Roush of the Engineering Society of Detroit visited NAS Lab as part of his Tech Tour: 

Mahmoudian’s Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems Laboratory was established in 2011, when she got to Michigan Tech. It’s researching the use of robots for novel applications, such as restoring power to areas devastated by natural disasters. “We’re seeking solutions for the effective use of robots in complex environments like disaster relief, where it’s not easy to predict what’s going to happen,” she said. “We’re developing robots and software to bring down costs, increase endurance and increase efficiency.”

Included are unique underwater gliders that don’t have propellers. Instead, they’re propelled by water — tiny battery-power motors pull water in and push it out, and the “wings” on the glider make it rise and fall as it’s pushed through the water. The lab has received funds from the Office of Naval Research to develop a fleet of the underwater gliders for a variety of applications.

And it’s working on a fleet of land-based robots to help deploy a microgrid for cell towers or a field hospital after a disaster. Mahmoudian is also involved in Michigan Tech’s summer programs for middle school and high school students, who build simple gliders and test them in the lab.

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Developing Robot Teams Capable of Restoring Power Post-Disaster Reviewed Worldwide


The Nonlinear Autonomous System Laboratory was recently featured across the web in various languages for the work on developing robot teams capable of restoring power post-disaster. These featured news articles include:

Science World Report Interference Technology Science Daily Communications or the ACM gizmag
deutsche-mittelstands-nachrichten Inside Towers Kurzweil The Keweenaw Report Device Magizine
entorno inteligente TechiDec Business Standard Factor Baublatt
redOrbit Mashable egadets iHKN Ingenieur
DeMorgan Comupterwelt KO Phys Org Zee

Tech Tour Day Four: Just Another Incredible Saturday Of MTU Research


“My next stop was at Michigan Tech’s remarkable $25 million, 50,000-square-foot Great Lakes Research Center, with Guy A. Meadows, its director, and Nina Mahmoudian, an assistant professor and research scientist at the center….

That’s where Mahmoudian and a $300,000 submersible robot comes in. She’s director of the Nonlinear and Autonomous System Laboratory in the Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics department at Michigan Tech, where she develops algorithms to make the autonomous submersible vehicle smarter in dealing with problems like collision avoidance….”

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Iver 3 Charts New Waters


“The uses of Iver are not just limited to behavior of currents, however. Nina Mahmoudian, assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics and an expert on autonomous control of robots, is working with GLRC researchers to develop algorithms that will allow Iver to track long underwater features. “Those could be pipelines crossing the Great Lakes, or they could be underwater communication cables,” Meadows explained. “If we decided to develop offshore wind power systems in the Great Lakes, it could follow those power cables. Most importantly, it could check municipal water intakes.”

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Great Lakes Research Center: One Year Old and Growing


“To do this, Tech will use a the first of a new generation of autonomous underwater vehicle provided by Enbridge—a $400,000 research effort with a piece of high-tech equipment that the GLRC will get to keep after the project is done. Nina Mahmoudian, assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, and a graduate student working with her will develop pipeline inspection algorithms based on data collected by the autonomous underwater vehicle.”

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— SURFing for the Summer


“Through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) and the guidance of his mentor, Nina Mahmoudian, assistant professor of mechanical engineering–engineering mechanics, third-year mechanical engineering student Brian Page is working to develop two autonomous underwater gliders.  One is called a Glider for Underwater Problem-solving and Promotion of Interest in Engineering (GUPPIE). It’s about 18 inches long. The other is a Glider for Autonomous Littoral Underwater Research (GALUR) and measures about 3 feet in length….”

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Water glider prototype


“[Byrel Mitchell] wrote in to share some details on this water glider which he has been working on with his classmates at the Nonlinear Autonomous Systems lab of Michigan Technological University. As its name implies, it glides through the water rather than using propulsion systems typically found on underwater ROVs. The wings on either side of the body are fixed in place, converting changes in ballast to forward momentum…”

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