Resources: Software & Hardware & Robots

The MARS lab employs the latest hardware and software tools thus providing excellent platforms to pursue advanced research in the fields of manufacturing, medical, micro - automation, haptics, human-robot interaction, and robotic systems.
A list of available resources with a short explanation is provided below. If you are interested use these resources or to collaborate with the MARS lab please contact Dr. Shiakolas (817 272 5715 or through email at
These resources, where appropriate, are also used for educational activities in order to expose the students to industrial strength tools and research activities undertaken in the lab.

Software Resources Hardware Resources Robotic Manufacturing Cells

Software Resources

The computer systems in the lab operating in the Windows platform. In addition to the stand alone computers, the lab has access to the departmental and university computing facilties via network connections. In addition to the standard suite of office software the lab has access to the following software tools.

LabVIEW: LabVIEW by National Instruments is the software of choice for hardware interface, automation and control of devices. LabVIEW is a graphical programming development environment for data acquisition, hardware in the loop (HIL), hardware control, data analysis, and data visualization and presentation. LabVIEW is used both for educational and research activities.

Creo, Solidworks, CATIA: These are parametric, feature-based solid modeling software tools. They are used for part and assembly design and model creation, and for the production of engineering drawings. In addition to 3D modeling, these tools are used for dynamic motion analysis, manufacturing cell analysis and verification of offline robot programs.

ANSYS: This is a general prupose finite element analysis software package. It is used as needed for both educational and research activities.

MATLAB, SCILAB, Mathematica: These are integrated technical computing environments that combine numeric computation capabilties with advanced graphics and visualization.

Slic3r, Repetier: These are integrated environments used for our additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, research.

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Hardware Resources

The hardware resources of the lab include research based testbeds and industrial strentgh devices. A number of research testbeds is availalbe, note that this research testbeds are modified according to the research needs. In addition, industrial strength hardware is available. The lab resources are used both for research and educational activities. Here is a list of available hardware resources Dimension 3D printer, XYZ micro-router, 5-DOF MicroNano robot, FARO arm, Falcon haptic joystick, National Instruments, RollingBot, Magnetic levitation, Motorized 3-axis microscope, Inverted microscope, Agilent high speed oscilloscope.

XYZ micro-router

3DBioAM Printer

microkinetics 3dprinter

Subtractive Manufacturing: This is an XYZ motion micro-router system using three stepper motors. The motion is digitally controlled. A DC motor running up to 10,000 rpm is externally controlled for micromachining purposes through subtractive material removal.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) Transformation: We have modified this hardware into a 3DBioAM environment. The new device is used for research in AM for biomedical implants or bio-prosthesis and for general additive manufacturing.
We use Slic3r and Repetier software tools. The device is controlled from a Rumba board using industry standard G-codes and custom developed electonic circuits.

Dimension SST-760 3D printer


The Dimension SST 760 rapid prototyping 3D printer is based on FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology. It has the ability to make monolithic working assemblies due to the availability of the soluble material. Once a model is printed, the model is placed in a heated vat for support material removal.

Magnetic Levitation System

The magnetic levitation (maglev) system is developed by students in the MARS lab for real time controls research and educational activities. This system is controlled either using LabVIEW - myRIO or MATLAB - xPC Target setups.

The LabVIEW environment provides the ability to easily create more GUI features for research and educational activities.

The non-linear and dynamically changing system parameters make this an ideal environment for research in magnetic systems where non-contact manipulation is required. Possible areas of application of this technology are magnetic bearings, magnetically controlled surgical tools, micro-systems, haptics, etc.

Custom 5-axis (XYZRP)
meso - micro robot

This is a custom build 5-axis servo based robot similar to a 5-axis CNC machine. It is not used as a CNC machine but as a robotic device.

Research in calibration and positioning correction has been performed on this device as it has the capability to be outfitted with a number of laser based position measuring sensors. It has excellent repeatability capabilities and is programmed within LabVIEW. It is used for research in Human Robot Interaction, Haptics and Calibration.

National Instruments Devices


The lab has been using National Instruments software (LabVIEW) and hardware components for a number of years. A number NI data acquisition and motion control cards are available for research and educational activities.

NI devices include myRIO, cRIO (compact RIO), myDAQ, sbRIO (single board RIO), USB 6008/6009, PCI 6221.

Custom 2-axis rolling robot

This is an house developed two axis rolling robot. This robot has been employed for research in human robot interaction modalities, single and multiple obstacle avoidance, and is currently employed for semi-static or fully dynamically changing obstacles.The programming environment is within LabVIEW and the communication between the control computer and robot is through Bluetooth.

Falcon 3-axis haptic joystick

This is the Novint Falcon gaming joystick. We are using it in research for human robot interaction and haptics. It is a 3-axis joystick with three actuators to exert the desired haptic force. It is programmed within the LabVIEW environment using Mauro S. Sette's LabVIEW drivers.


This is a 6 degree of freedom FARO CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine) for contact reverse engineering purposes or other processes such as robotic calibration.

Active Compliance Force Device

This is an active compliance force device by PushCorp. The device could be attached on a robot or used standalone.

Motorized 3-axis microscope


This is a fully motorized 3-axis microscope capable of automatically switching between two viewing lenses. We are currently working to port ontrol and programming in a LabVIEW environment.

Agilent 500 MHz oscilloscope

Agilent This is an high speed oscilloscope model DSO6052A operating at 500 MHz.
Specifications from the Agilent webpage:
500 MHz Bandwidth
2 analog channels
4 GSa/s sample rate
Standard 8 Mpts MegaZoom III deep memory

Ultrasonic Non Destructive
Testing unit

nde_02 This is a motorized (XYZ) ultrasonic, NTE, non-destructive testing unit by Physical Acoustics Corporation ( model Ultrapac II..

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Robotic Manufacturing Cells

Research and Educational Activities
Adept Robots Manufacturing Cells


The lab has three advanced robotic manufacturing cells that include industrial robots along with a vision system and conveyors with encoder for coordinated robot/conveyor motion.

The industrial robots are an articulated Adept Viper S650, a SCARA Adept iCobra 600 and a cartesian (XYZ) Adept Python smart modules. More information about the Adept robots can be found at the Adept web page. for Viper S650, for iCobra 600 and for Python linear modules.

The robots are outfitted with industry standard quick-connect disconnect devices that allow for ease of exchange of end of arm tools. The lab has a number of pneumatic end-effectors (2 and 3 actuators for parallel and angular motion) that could be outfitted with fingers to match part geometry for part manipulation.

IBM SCARA 7535 Robot Cell


This cell consists of an IBM 7535 robot and a conveyor system. This robot is exclusively used for teaching and demonstration purposes. This is a "safe" robot if one does not get in the workspace, so it is the first robot that students have to program. The educational projects are simple pick and place operations in a pattern but mainly address safety issues associated with robots.

The IBM 7535 robot is a four degree-of-freedom SCARA type robot with an on/off pneumatic Z-axis. The programming language is AML. The robot is outfitted with a pneumatic gripper.

Robotics educational information for the educational activities that utilize the MARS lab resources can be found at the Courses section.

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