School of Engineering

 

Research Groups

Aerospace Systems Research Institute (ASRI)

Overview: 
The Aerospace Systems Research Institute (ASRI) is located within the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Discipline of Mechanical Engineering. ASReG was formed in 2009 by Jean Pitot and Michael Brooks. We are a small but focused group with graduate students currently enrolled in the Masters and Doctoral research programmes. We conduct applied research in rocket propulsion and associated technologies such as thermal management and launch systems.

Mission: 
To develop aerospace technologies related to rockets, space vehicles, and human skills in aerospace engineering.

Mechatronics & Robotics Research Group (MR2G)

Overview: 
MR2G is a research group based in the School of Mechanical Engineering on the Howard Campus UKZN. The group has a dedicated laboratory on the premises including access to the mechanical engineering workshop. Further facilities include 3D printers, CNC lathes, Serial Robots, Parallel Kinematic Robots, Festo Miniature Manufacturing Plant and a driving simulator.

Mission:    
To establish a ‘State of the Art’ research and education environment for the development of Mechatronics and Robotics Technologies. To educate students in the field of Computer Integrated Manufacturing. To collaborate with local and international academic institutions while incorporating South African industry partnerships.

Stopforth Mechatronics, Robotics & Research Lab

Overview: 
The Stopforth Mechatronics, Robotics and Research Lab, is a multi-disciplinary research environment, allowing for world class, and world first research activities to happen. International and national collaboration has been critical in the development of research that can be applied, to solve and understand world problems. The Search and Rescue Division, and the Bio-Engineering Unit is housed within the lab. 

Mission: 
To research, design and develop solutions for applications and world problems, with the collaboration of international and national academic, industry and commercial organizations and companies.

Bio-Engineering Unit

Overview: 
The Bio-Engineering Unit applies its engineering capabilities for biomedical research and technology development. By integrating expertise in electronics, artificial intelligence, micromachining and material technologies with biological and medical sciences, the Bio-Engineering Unit is uniquely positioned to conduct multi-disciplinary biomedical research. The different requirements that are needed for these devices are investigated which involve video transmission, communication and control for each device’s unique capabilities. The types of devices that are being researched are medical practitioner’s aiding devices; disabled people’s support devices and bio-mechatronics devices.

Mission:  
Research is being done on the design and development of robots and devices that will assist people and surgeons

Search and Rescue Division

Overview: 
The Search and Rescue Division perform research, design and development of unmanned vehicles to assist in emergency and disaster situations. Search and rescue robots assist with the location of victims and determining of dangerous environments, which aids the rescuers entering the site. Many of these vehicles are appropriate for inspection robots.

Research is being conducted on the design and development of land, water and aerial unmanned vehicles. These researched vehicles will be used for scenarios of building, mines, sea, air and landslides rescues, searches and investigations. Further development will allow for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimize the results of the above mentioned scenarios. AI allows for the detection of danger and victims with the use of communication, gas, and image analysis of the unstable environments. 

Mission:  
Research is being done on the design and development of robots and devices that will save lives, and assist people in dangerous environments.