Summer Spotlight: Huy Pham

Huy Pham

Year: Third-year
Major: Mechanical Engineering

This summer Pham did research right here at Case Western Reserve University! See what he shared about the experience.

Explain the details of your research.

The primary goal of this project is to fabricate a 3D robotic model of rat fore-limbs to test a synthetic nervous system (SNS) that controls rat locomotion. As the platform for testing the SNS, the physical model plays an important role in this project because the more similar the robot’s kinematics are to the real rat’s locomotion, the more closely the SNS may resemble the real rat’s nervous system. Therefore, the specific goal is to design the linkages and transmission mechanisms and choose the appropriate actuators to create a robot that is able to achieve movements inspired by the living rat’s front legs such as flexion, extension, abduction and adduction.

How did you find this opportunity?

I have been given this opportunity by my professor, Dr. Roger Quinn.

What has your experience been like so far?

I find immense joy in every single day spent in the lab. The challenging nature of the work ignites my creativity and passion, driving me to explore new possibilities. Throughout the past months, I have acquired valuable skills and knowledge. What excites me the most is witnessing substantial progress in the project.

What're you most looking forward to?

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing a fully functional robot walking in the lab. Currently, our focus has been on completing the hardware, and with dedication, we aim to develop a synthetic nervous system that will make our rat robot stand out as the best ratbot in the world!

What's your best piece of advice for students who might be looking for a similar opportunity?

Never hesitate to reach out to your professors to ask about research opportunities. Even volunteering in the lab can open doors to gaining valuable experience and acquiring a range of useful skill sets.

How did CWRU and CSE prepare you?

The Mechanical Engineering Department's courses have provided me with a robust foundation of both fundamental and advanced knowledge and skill sets, instilling in me the confidence to tackle any engineering challenges I may encounter. Additionally, the department's seminar series has been invaluable in offering me valuable insights and research skills ets that further enhance my capabilities.