Having trouble recovering from a knee injury or a stroke? Bothered by noise in an airplane? For these problems and many more, UC Merced mechanical engineering Professor Jian-Qiao Sun is working on research answers.
He’s worked on the development of smart devices for physical therapy, like a knee brace that can be programmed to the optimal amount of resistance, then adjust that resistance depending on muscle fatigue. Another smart knee brace can be used to evaluate and rehabilitate the gait of recovering stroke patients. These projects rely on modeling of human-machine interactions, nonlinear adaptive controls, sensor and actuator studies and signal processing.
Sun’s other areas of research expertise include energy-harvesting technologies; fault detection and optimization of HVAC systems for better energy efficiency in buildings; acoustic applications like sound-control panels for airplanes; evaluating the strength of structures subject to earthquake, ocean waves and wind loading excitations.
His research group has also applied their mechanical engineering knowledge to problems from micro flying insect robots to drive-by-wire agricultural machinery.
Before joining the faculty at UC Merced in July 2007, Sun was a professor at the University of Delaware. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his bachelor’s from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.