Robotics research project safely measures structural integrity

Globalink Research Intern is helping design versatile robot at the University of Regina

Engineering plays a critical role in keeping infrastructure safe, whether for workers on an oil rig or drivers crossing a bridge as part of their commute. Abhijit Chilukuri is putting his mechanical engineering degree to work making infrastructure even safer.

Abhijit is studying at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, in India and wanted to pursue an international internship to complement his schooling. He researched several internship options and decided to apply for the Globalink Research Internship after it was recommended by several senior classmates.

Abhijit’s application was accepted, and he’s now working on programming a rope-climbing robot at the University of Regina, under the supervision of Dr. Mehran Mehrandezh.

With its climbing capability, the robot can assess any symptoms of weakness on infrastructure like oil rigs,” Abhijit says. “Having the robot assess the structural integrity helps prevent potential catastrophe and of course, it’s safer and easier for a robot do to this task than a person.”

The robot’s primary application is measuring guywire diameters on offshore oil rigs, but Abhijit advised that its versatility means it can be used to test the safety of bridges, pipelines, and other infrastructure. “The robot will also be submersible, so it can even evaluate undersea infrastructure.” Robots like these draw significant interest from industry, and Abhijit hopes his research team can eventually file a patent for their design.

In addition to his research project, Abhijit is getting professional skills training through Mitacs Step. He especially enjoyed the Managing Project Timelines workshop. “It was so informative and the tips I learned are already so helpful for me.”

With a broadened skill set and Canadian research experience, Abhijit is excited for what his future holds: “This summer, I can’t wait to explore Regina and other parts of the province. And looking ahead, I want to continue my robotics research, hopefully in a graduate program in Canada.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan for their support of the Globalink research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Globalink program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, and Research Manitoba.

Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Brazil’s le Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, the China Scholarship Council, Campus France, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, and Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

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