Under the Depths: Dynamical Systems and Control Laboratory
By Rachel Hegeman
Hidden in the depths of the basement of Krieger hall on Homewood campus, there is a large room containing a 50,000 gallon tank of water. You may ask, what lurks there in the deep? Could it be sharks? The kraken? You would be wrong on both accounts. It is a machine called the JHUROV, and it roams the depths of the tank, scouring its surfaces, looking for a way out… all the while tracking very precisely where it is.
The caretakers of the JHUROV are members of the Dynamical Systems and Control Laboratory (DSCL). DSCL researches and develops innovative and cost-effective ways to solve the problem of underwater vehicle localization and navigation. That is, in a situation where a robot is sent to the ocean floor to take biological samples from hydrothermal vents, the lab looks to answer the questions “Where is the robot right now?’ and “How do we get it to where it needs to go?” so that at the end of the day the biological samples as well as the robot make it back to the lab alive and well. The JHUROV and its tank is a test platform for sensors, localization techniques, and control algorithms, before they’re sent out to be used in real bodies of water. However, the JHUROV is outdated, so the lab is currently doing the development for a new JHUROV. Progress has been made on the power and propulsion system, the pressure housing design, and sensor outfit, but many subsystems of the vehicle are still unfinished.
DSCL regularly has positions for undergraduate and masters students interested in robotics research. These are available as paid positions or, where appropriate, for credit as independent research. Each position typically involves assisting in a broad range of research tasks including design, fabrication, instrumentation, systems engineering, robotics operations, data collection, and human subject testing. Each position will normally focus on a specific aspect of research happening in the lab. The positions cover a spectrum of skills ranging from software systems development to mechanical design. At present DSCL has three new open positions related to the development of the new JHUROV. The positions would involve activity during the academic terms, and could also involve activity during intersession and the summer. Applications will be considered immediately, and will be accepted until the position is filled.
- Software Engineer
We seek a student to assist in the development of software to interface with a variety of sensors and control units relevant to underwater navigation in order to make them compatible within a ROS (Robotic Operating System) framework, and integrated within a system that facilitates the navigation and control of an underwater vehicle.
Relevant Skills and Knowledge
- Familiarity using and maintaining a Linux system
- Familiarity with CMake
- Proficiency with ROS
- Mechanical Systems Engineer
We seek a student to assist in the design and manufacturing of the mechanical systems of a new underwater vehicle. This work would include improving upon current pressure housing designs & overall vehicle designs as well as coordinating the manufacturing of parts and performing simple assembly/manufacturing tasks as needed.
Relevant Skills and Knowledge
- Proficiency in CAD
- Basic mechanical fabrication and machining skills
- Knowledge of basic electronics and instrumentation
- Proficiency in Solidworks
- Knowledge of heat transfer, fluid dynamics
- Electrical Systems Engineer
We seek a student to assist in the design and manufacturing of various electrical systems of a new underwater vehicle. The work would include improving upon current power distribution circuit designs and integrating various sensors and actuators into the vehicle system.
Relevant Skills and Knowledge
- Knowledge of analog, digital electronics theory and applications
- Experience using schematic/circuit design software
- Embedded microprocessor programming
- Multilayer board fabrication/manufacturing skills, e.g. through hole, SMD
- Competent with oscilloscope and benchtop power supply
- Proficiency in Kicad
- Knowledge of power electronics
Applicants should provide a single PDF including the information/documents in the list below in an e-mail to email@example.com with the subject line “Laboratory Position in Software Development” or “Laboratory Position in Mechanical Systems Design and Fabrication”, corresponding to the applicable position. Be aware that there is 4MB email size limit on this email address, and that concise applications will be looked on favorably.
- Brief cover letter with statement of purpose
- Transcript (unofficial is fine)
- For the mechanical systems engineer position only:
- CAD sample which the applicant believes illustrates his or her abilities
- (Optional) portfolio of representative fabrication project(s) that the applicant has done, along with a descriptionof his or her contribution to the project
- For the software engineer position only:
- Link to repository (or, if not public, zip containing source code and readme describing project) of a C/C++ project which the applicant believes illustrates his or her abilities.
- (Optional) link to other code projects to which the applicant has contributed, along with a descriptionof his or her contribution to the project
- For the electrical systems engineer position only:
- Electronics CAD sample which the applicant believes illustrates his or her abilities
- (Optional) portfolio of representative circuit design sample(s) that the applicant has worked on, along with a descriptionof his or her contribution to the project
Johns Hopkins University is committed to building a diverse environment; women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Johns Hopkins University is an EEO/AA employer.