Carlos Castro

Carlos Castro

Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering

Current Project Availability

Updated on 8/15/2023
Looking for curious, hard-working, motivated students to engineer cool stuff.
Projects will involve a combination of analytical and/or experimental approaches with the goal of designing, building, and testing. 
Funding, hardware, resources available.
Teams will consist of ~3-5 students.
If interested, please complete form: CLICK HERE
May require CPP login
Project availability subject to change. 

 1. Continued Development of a Biomechatronic Foot

Emulate dexterity of a human foot. Build off previous team's design. Applications to legged locomotion and robotics.

  • The aim of this project is to create a dexterous mechatronic foot modeled after the physiology of primates and the human foot. Applications of this project are directed towards legged locomotion systems found in robotics and powered prosthesis.

    Conventional humanoid robotics utilize the “flat foot” model, where there are no supporting arches and minimal range of motion within the foot. But as seen in everyday animal biology, the foot collectively uses both passive and active (powered) structures to create a remarkably mobile and stable system. The Biomechatronic Foot aims to replicate the dynamics and range of motion of a human foot by means of having both passive and active (powered) mechanical structures. The complexity of biology will be reduced to the primary and dominating mechanical degrees of freedom while allowing the necessary motion of the forefoot, heel, and ankle.

    The current Biomechatronic Foot prototype mimics the functionality and silhouette of a biological human foot. The design is divided into four main sections: the tibia, the ankle, the midfoot and the forefoot. The Foot has three dexterous toes with five active joints along with passive structures. Sensors are included to test and monitor the stability of the foot. Servos and linear actuators allow the Foot to achieve complex flexion and extension of the toes as well as flexion, extension, and roll of the ankle.  Continued development of the Foot will involve improving the mechanical dexterity, investigating more robust actuators for the toes and ankle, investigating passive means of reducing impact loading, increasing the quality and number of sensors placed throughout the foot, incorporating effective control systems, among other improvements.

2. Human Thermal Regulation

Heat exchanger systems for regulating body temperature. Applications to Life Support Systems.

  • The aim of this project is to develop a system that uses heat exchanger(s) contoured to a specific location on the body to regulate body temperature. The heat exhanger itself is the novelty of the project. It can be 3D printed with a high thermal conductive filament (Ice9), molded in a silicone-based material, and/or garment fitted. Applications of this system are directed towards everyday work usage such as farm and construction workers as well as Life Support Systems for space applications.

    The normal human body core temperature is approximately 98 °F (37 °C). Any slight increase to the core body temperature can lead to significant damage. Hypothermia occurs when the body core temperature decreases to 95 °F (35 °C). Heat exhaustion occurs when the body core temperature approaches 101 °F (38 °C) and heat stroke occurs at 104 °F (40 °C). When the external working environment is at extreme conditions (temperature, humidity) the body has a difficult time maintaining the desired and stable core temperature. This project aims to develop a compact and portable system to help maintain human core temperature as well as subcutaneous temperature. The novelty of this system will be that of a heat exchanger that will contour to strategic locations on the human body. Significant portions of this project will investigate heat exchanger design, materials, and internal structures as it applies to the contours required by the human body.

3. Control of Free-Falling Bodies

Actively and/or passively control the dynamics of a free-falling body. Applications to stuntronic robots, atmospheric-entry systems, satellite attitude control.

Project partially sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation

Undergraduate: depending on the scope of the project, will need to register for ME 4160

  • The aim of this project is to investigate and develop a system to actively and/or passively control the orientation (stability) of a free-falling body. The primary aim of the project is to investigate the dynamics associate with such motion. Active control will be done by either (or a combination of) active control surfaces, gyroscopic stability such as reaction wheels or control moment gyroscopes, or simply by controlling the extension and retraction of body segments. Passive control will be done by either (or a combination of) inherent stability of the body, or quasi-static control surfaces. Future applications of this project are directed towards: stuntronics for aerial robotic entertainment; space applications such as atmospheric collection systems to study planetary atmospheres and to study atmospheric-entry vehicle/capsule designs, and satellite attitude control.

If interested, please complete form: CLICK HERE
May require CPP login