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Merrimack, Teradyne Team Up on Robotics Research Project

March 15, 2018
The automation-equipment supplier Teradyne Inc. has loaned Merrimack College and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Rickey Caldwell Jr. one of its most advanced robots on which students can hone their engineering and mathematical skills in real-world applications.

“It’s a great academic-industry partnership that will benefit students and staff here who can use it for research, said Caldwell, who teaches the senior-level Vibrations and Instrumentation class that is using the robot. “This, basically, is the way students can get the latest technology.”

Teradyne designed the robot about a year ago for testing complex semiconductor chips; it is just now going into production.

Caldwell said his class will be studying ways to enhance the speed and accuracy of machine components, which, when incorporated, would give Teradyne an advantage over competitors.

He added that the exercise is a great way for future mechanical engineers to learn the multidisciplinary skills required by modern automation systems: mechanical hardware, electrical controls, digital signal processing feedback loops and higher-level control software. Those students who take the time to master all these disciplines will have a leg up on their peers who only study computer science, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering, he said.

Students working on the robot can apply their lessons in such areas as differential equations, mechanical vibrations, numerical simulations and feedback theory.

Caldwell approached Teradyne officials when they visited campus last year and asked if they had any equipment his students could use for their capstone projects. It was then that they offered the robot.

Science and Engineering Dean Cynthia McGowan expressed her thanks to the North Reading-based company for their generosity toward and interest in her students.

“We are excited to partner with Teradyne to provide students with hands-on experience and research opportunities in robotics,” she said. 

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  • Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Rickey Caldwell Jr., center, is flanked by students who are working wit...
    Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Rickey Caldwell Jr., center, is flanked by students who are working with the Teradyne robot.

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