News & Events

73 News items, Awards, Events or Talks found.



Learn about the MERL Seminar Series.



  •  AWARD    Honorable Mention Award at NeurIPS 23 Instruction Workshop
    Date: December 15, 2023
    Awarded to: Lingfeng Sun, Devesh K. Jha, Chiori Hori, Siddharth Jain, Radu Corcodel, Xinghao Zhu, Masayoshi Tomizuka and Diego Romeres
    MERL Contacts: Radu Corcodel; Chiori Hori; Siddarth Jain; Devesh K. Jha; Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL Researchers received an "Honorable Mention award" at the Workshop on Instruction Tuning and Instruction Following at the NeurIPS 2023 conference in New Orleans. The workshop was on the topic of instruction tuning and Instruction following for Large Language Models (LLMs). MERL researchers presented their work on interactive planning using LLMs for partially observable robotic tasks during the oral presentation session at the workshop.
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  •  NEWS    Invited talk given by Diego Romeres at Bentley University
    Date: November 1, 2023
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • Principal Research Scientist and Team Leader Diego Romeres gave an invited talk with title 'Applications of Machine Learning to Robotics' in the Machine Learning graduate course at Bentley University. The presentation focused mainly on Reinforcement Learning research applied to robotics. The audience consisted mostly of Master’s in Business Analytics (MSBA) students and students in the MBA w/ Business Analytics Concentration program.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Shaoshuai Mou presents talk titled Inverse Optimal Control for Autonomous Systems
    Date & Time: Tuesday, October 10, 2023; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Shaoshuai Mou, Purdue University
    MERL Host: Yebin Wang
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Robotics
    Abstract
    • Inverse Optimal Control (IOC) aims to achieve an objective function corresponding to a certain task from an expert robot driven by optimal control, which has become a powerful tool in many applications in robotics. We will present our recent solutions to IOC based on incomplete observations of systems' trajectories, which enables an autonomous system to “sense-and-adapt", i.e., incrementally improving the learning of objective functions as new data arrives. This also leads to a distributed algorithm to solve IOC in multi-agent systems, in which each agent can only access part of the overall trajectory of an optimal control system and cannot solve IOC by itself. This is perhaps the first distributed method to IOC. Applications of IOC into human prediction will also be given.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Komei Sugiura presents talk titled The Confluence of Vision, Language, and Robotics
    Date & Time: Thursday, September 28, 2023; 12:00 PM
    Speaker: Komei Sugiura, Keio University
    MERL Host: Chiori Hori
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, Speech & Audio
    Abstract
    • Recent advances in multimodal models that fuse vision and language are revolutionizing robotics. In this lecture, I will begin by introducing recent multimodal foundational models and their applications in robotics. The second topic of this talk will address our recent work on multimodal language processing in robotics. The shortage of home care workers has become a pressing societal issue, and the use of domestic service robots (DSRs) to assist individuals with disabilities is seen as a possible solution. I will present our work on DSRs that are capable of open-vocabulary mobile manipulation, referring expression comprehension and segmentation models for everyday objects, and future captioning methods for cooking videos and DSRs.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Zac Manchester presents talk titled Composable Optimization for Robotic Simulation, Planning, and Control
    Date & Time: Wednesday, September 27, 2023; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Zac Manchester, Carnegie Mellon University
    MERL Host: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Optimization, Robotics
    Abstract
    • Contact interactions are pervasive in key real-world robotic tasks like manipulation and walking. However, the non-smooth dynamics associated with impacts and friction remain challenging to model, and motion planning and control algorithms that can fluently and efficiently reason about contact remain elusive. In this talk, I will share recent work from my research group that takes an “optimization-first” approach to these challenges: collision detection, physics, motion planning, and control are all posed as constrained optimization problems. We then build a set of algorithmic and numerical tools that allow us to flexibly compose these optimization sub-problems to solve complex robotics problems involving discontinuous, unplanned, and uncertain contact mechanics.
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  •  AWARD    Joint University of Padua-MERL team wins Challenge 'AI Olympics With RealAIGym'
    Date: August 25, 2023
    Awarded to: Alberto Dalla Libera, Niccolo' Turcato, Giulio Giacomuzzo, Ruggero Carli, Diego Romeres
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • A joint team consisting of members of University of Padua and MERL ranked 1st in the IJCAI2023 Challenge "Al Olympics With RealAlGym: Is Al Ready for Athletic Intelligence in the Real World?". The team was composed by MERL researcher Diego Romeres and a team from University Padua (UniPD) consisting of Alberto Dalla Libera, Ph.D., Ph.D. Candidates: Niccolò Turcato, Giulio Giacomuzzo and Prof. Ruggero Carli from University of Padua.

      The International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) is a premier gathering for AI researchers and organizes several competitions. This year the competition CC7 "AI Olympics With RealAIGym: Is AI Ready for Athletic Intelligence in the Real World?" consisted of two stages: simulation and real-robot experiments on two under-actuated robotic systems. The two robotics systems were treated as separate tracks and one final winner was selected for each track based on specific performance criteria in the control tasks.

      The UniPD-MERL team competed and won in both tracks. The team's system made strong use of a Model-based Reinforcement Learning algorithm called (MC-PILCO) that we recently published in the journal IEEE Transaction on Robotics.
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  •  NEWS    MERL presents 9 papers at 2023 IFAC World Congress
    Date: July 9, 2023 - July 14, 2023
    MERL Contacts: Karl Berntorp; Scott A. Bortoff; Ankush Chakrabarty; Stefano Di Cairano; Christopher R. Laughman; Diego Romeres; Abraham P. Vinod
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researchers presented 9 papers and organized 2 invited/workshop sessions at the 2023 IFAC World Congress held in Yokohama, JP.

      MERL's contributions covered topics including decision-making for autonomous vehicles, statistical and learning-based estimation for GNSS and energy systems, impedance control for delta robots, learning for system identification of rigid body dynamics and time-varying systems, and meta-learning for deep state-space modeling using data from similar systems. The invited session (MERL co-organizer: Ankush Chakrabarty) was on the topic of “Estimation and observer design: theory and applications” and the workshop (MERL co-organizer: Karl Berntorp) was on “Gaussian Process Learning for Systems and Control”.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers present 3 papers on Dexterous Manipulation at RSS 23.
    Date: July 11, 2023
    Where: Daegu, Korea
    MERL Contacts: Siddarth Jain; Devesh K. Jha; Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researchers presented 3 papers at the 19th edition of Robotics:Science and Systems Conference in Daegu, Korea. RSS is the flagship conference of the RSS foundation and is run as a single track conference presenting a limited number of high-quality papers. This year the main conference had a total of 112 papers presented. MERL researchers presented 2 papers in the main conference on planning and perception for dexterous manipulation. Another paper was presented in a workshop of learning for dexterous manipulation. More details can be found here https://roboticsconference.org.
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  •  NEWS    Abraham Vinod gave an invited talk at the University of California Santa Cruz
    Date: June 8, 2023
    Where: Zoom
    MERL Contact: Abraham P. Vinod
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Abraham Vinod gave an invited talk at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the University of California Santa Cruz, titled "Motion Planning under Constraints and Uncertainty using Data and Reachability". His presentation covered recent work on fast and safe motion planners that can allow for coordination among agents, mitigate uncertainty arising from sensing limitations and simplified models, and tolerate the possibility of failures.
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  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty co-organized three sessions at the ACC2023, and was nominated for Best Energy Systems Paper.
    Date: June 30, 2023 - June 2, 2023
    Where: San Diego, CA
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty (researcher, Multiphysical Systems Team) co-organized and spoke at 3 sessions at the 2023 American Control Conference in San Diego, CA. These include: (1) A tutorial session (w/ Stefano Di Cairano) on "Physics Informed Machine Learning for Modeling and Control": an effort with contributions from multiple academic institutes and US research labs; (2) An invited session on "Energy Efficiency in Smart Buildings and Cities" in which his paper (w/ Chris Laughman) on "Local Search Region Constrained Bayesian Optimization for Performance Optimization of Vapor Compression Systems" was nominated for Best Energy Systems Paper Award; and, (3) A special session on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to improve recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in STEM research.
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  •  AWARD    MERL Researchers Win Best Workshop Poster Award at the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    Date: June 2, 2023
    Awarded to: Yuki Shirai, Devesh Jha, Arvind Raghunathan and Dennis Hong
    MERL Contacts: Devesh K. Jha; Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL's paper titled: "Closed-Loop Tactile Controller for Tool Manipulation" Won the Best Poster Award in the workshop on "Embracing contacts : Making robots physically interact with our world". First author and MERL intern, Yuki Shirai, was presented with the award at a ceremony held at ICRA in London. MERL researchers Devesh Jha, Principal Research Scientist, and Arvind Raghunathan, Senior Principal Research Scientist and Senior Team Leader as well as Prof. Dennis Hong of University of California, Los Angeles are also coauthors.

      The paper presents a technique to manipulate an object using a tool in a closed-loop fashion using vision-based tactile sensors. More information about the workshop and the various speakers can be found here https://sites.google.com/view/icra2023embracingcontacts/home.
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  •  NEWS    MERL Researchers Organize Two MiniSymposia and Five Invited Talks at the 2023 SIAM Conference on Optimization
    Date: May 31, 2023 - June 3, 2023
    Where: 2023 SIAM Conference on Optimization
    MERL Contacts: Devesh K. Jha; Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan, Senior Team Leader and Senior Principal Research Scientist in Optimization & Intelligent Robotics team, will organize two minisymposia at the 2023 SIAM Conference on Optimization to be held in Seattle from May 31 to June 3. The two minisymposia titled "Optimization in Control – Algorithms, Applications, and Software" and "New Algorithmic Techniques for Global Optimization" will feature twelve invited speakers from academia and national labs.

      Additionally, Arvind together with Devesh Jha, Principal Research Scientist in Optimization & Intelligent Robotics Team, and collaborators will present five invited talks covering the topics of algorithms for convex programs, multilinear programs, mixed-integer nonlinear programs, and robotics.

      See:
      https://meetings.siam.org/sess/dsp_programsess.cfm?SESSIONCODE=76268
      https://meetings.siam.org/sess/dsp_programsess.cfm?SESSIONCODE=76269
      https://meetings.siam.org/sess/dsp_programsess.cfm?SESSIONCODE=76270
      https://meetings.siam.org/sess/dsp_programsess.cfm?SESSIONCODE=76256
      https://meetings.siam.org/sess/dsp_programsess.cfm?SESSIONCODE=75897
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  •  NEWS    MERL Researchers Present Thirteen Papers at the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    Date: May 29, 2023 - June 2, 2023
    Where: 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    MERL Contacts: Anoop Cherian; Radu Corcodel; Siddarth Jain; Devesh K. Jha; Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Tim K. Marks; Daniel N. Nikovski; Arvind Raghunathan; Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researchers will present thirteen papers, including eight main conference papers and five workshop papers, at the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) to be held in London, UK from May 29 to June 2. ICRA is one of the largest and most prestigious conferences in the robotics community. The papers cover a broad set of topics in Robotics including estimation, manipulation, vision-based object recognition and segmentation, tactile estimation and tool manipulation, robotic food handling, robot skill learning, and model-based reinforcement learning.

      In addition to the paper presentations, MERL robotics researchers will also host an exhibition booth and look forward to discussing our research with visitors.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Dr. Michael Muehlebach presents talk titled Learning and Dynamical Systems
    Date & Time: Tuesday, April 11, 2023; 11:00 AM
    Speaker: Michael Muehlebach, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Abstract
    • The talk will be divided into two parts. The first part of the talk introduces a class of first-order methods for constrained optimization that are based on an analogy to non-smooth dynamical systems. The key underlying idea is to express constraints in terms of velocities instead of positions, which has the algorithmic consequence that optimizations over feasible sets at each iteration are replaced with optimizations over local, sparse convex approximations. This results is a simplified suite of algorithms and an expanded range of possible applications in machine learning. In the second part of my talk, I will present a robot learning algorithm for trajectory tracking. The method incorporates prior knowledge about the system dynamics and by optimizing over feedforward actions, the risk of instability during deployment is mitigated. The algorithm will be evaluated on a ping-pong playing robot that is actuated by soft pneumatic muscles.
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  •  TALK    Prof. Kevin Lynch presents talk titled Autonomous and Human-Collaborative Robotic Manipulation
    Date & Time: Tuesday, February 28, 2023; 12:00 PM
    Speaker: Prof. Kevin Lynch, Northwestern University
    MERL Host: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Machine Learning, Robotics
    Abstract
    • Research at the Center for Robotics and Biosystems at Northwestern University includes bio-inspiration, neuromechanics, human-machine systems, and swarm robotics, among other topics. In this talk I will focus on our work on manipulation, including autonomous in-hand robotic manipulation and safe, intuitive human-collaborative manipulation among one or more humans and a team of mobile manipulators.
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  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen Appointed IPC Vice-Chair for the 8th IFAC Conference on NMPC 2024
    Date: August 27, 2024 - August 30, 2024
    Where: Kyoto, Japan
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Rien Quirynen has been appointed as Vice-Chair from Industry of the International Program Committee of the 8th IFAC Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control, which will be held in Kyoto, Japan, in August 2024.

      IFAC NMPC is the main symposium focused on model predictive control, theory, methods and applications, includes contributions on control, optimization, and machine learning research, and is held every 3 years.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Stefanie Tellex presents talk titled Towards Complex Language in Partially Observed Environments
    Date & Time: Tuesday, February 14, 2023; 12:00 PM
    Speaker: Stefanie Tellex, Brown University
    MERL Host: Daniel N. Nikovski
    Research Area: Robotics
    Abstract
    • Robots can act as a force multiplier for people, whether a robot assisting an astronaut with a repair on the International Space station, a UAV taking flight over our cities, or an autonomous vehicle driving through our streets. Existing approaches use action-based representations that do not capture the goal-based meaning of a language expression and do not generalize to partially observed environments. The aim of my research program is to create autonomous robots that can understand complex goal-based commands and execute those commands in partially observed, dynamic environments. I will describe demonstrations of object-search in a POMDP setting with information about object locations provided by language, and mapping between English and Linear Temporal Logic, enabling a robot to understand complex natural language commands in city-scale environments. These advances represent steps towards robots that interpret complex natural language commands in partially observed environments using a decision theoretic framework.
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  •  EVENT    MERL's Virtual Open House 2022
    Date & Time: Monday, December 12, 2022; 1:00pm-5:30pm ET
    Location: Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL)/Virtual
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video
    Brief
    • Join MERL's virtual open house on December 12th, 2022! Featuring a keynote, live sessions, research area booths, and opportunities to interact with our research team. Discover who we are and what we do, and learn about internship and employment opportunities.
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  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen to give an invited talk at the University of California Santa Cruz
    Date: November 14, 2022
    Where: Zoom
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Rien Quirynen will give an invited talk at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of California Santa Cruz on "Real-time Motion Planning and Predictive Control by Mixed-integer Programming for Autonomous Vehicles". The talk will present recent work on a tailored branch-and-bound method for real-time motion planning and decision making on embedded processing units, and recent results for two applications related to automated driving and traffic control.
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  •  NEWS    Invited talk at The Penn State Seminar Series on Systems, Control, and Robotics.
    Date: October 20, 2022
    Where: University Park, PA
    MERL Contact: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Robotics
    Brief
    • Devesh Jha, a Principal Research Scientist in the Data Analytics Group at MERL, delivered an invited talk at The Penn State Seminar Series on Systems, Control and Robotics. This talk presented some of the recent work done at MERL in the areas of optimization and control for robotic manipulation in unstructured environment.
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  •  NEWS    Stefano Di Cairano to give a public lecture on status and challenges of automotive driving at IEEE CSS Day
    Date: October 24, 2022
    Where: Online, 10/24/2022 9:00am (Eastern time)
    MERL Contact: Stefano Di Cairano
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Dr. Stefano Di Cairano (Senior Team Leader at MERL) has been invited to give a public talk at the first IEEE CSS Day event on the status, challenges, and role of control in autonomous driving.

      The talk, titled "The Long Voyage Towards Autonomous Driving, with Control Systems as the Co-Pilot", will review some history of autonomous driving, some of the open challenges that control technology may help address, and the next steps towards full-autonomy. The talk is designed for a non-technical audience, to explain the role and impact of control in automated driving technology.
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  •  NEWS    MERL launches Postdoctoral Research Fellow program
    Date: September 21, 2022
    MERL Contacts: Philip V. Orlik; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) invites qualified postdoctoral candidates to apply for the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow. This position provides early career scientists the opportunity to work at a unique, academically-oriented industrial research laboratory. Successful candidates will be expected to define and pursue their own original research agenda, explore connections to established laboratory initiatives, and publish high impact articles in leading venues. Please refer to our web page for further details.
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  •  NEWS    Yebin Wang appointed as an Associate Editor for ICRA 2023.
    Date: September 15, 2022
    MERL Contact: Yebin Wang
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Robotics
    Brief
    • Yebin Wang, a Senior Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Electric Machines and Devices, is serving as an Associate Editor for the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2023.


      As the flagship conference of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, ICRA will bring together the world's top researchers and most important companies to share ideas and advances in our field.
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  •  AWARD    Marcus Greiff receives Outstanding Student Paper Award at CCTA 2022
    Date: August 25, 2022
    Awarded to: Marcus Greiff
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Robotics
    Brief
    • Marcus Greiff, a Visiting Research Scientist at MERL, was awarded one of three outstanding student paper awards at the IEEE CCTA 2022 conference for his paper titled "Quadrotor Control on SU(2)xR3 with SLAM Integration". The award was given for originality, clarity, and potential impact on practical applications of control. The work presents a complete UAV control system design, facilitating autonomous supermarket inventorying without the need for external motion capture systems. A video of the experiments is on YouTube, including both simulations and real-time examples.
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  •  NEWS    MERL work on 3D Printing in Orbit featured in IEEE Spectrum
    Date: June 3, 2022
    Where: IEEE Spectrum
    MERL Contacts: Avishai Weiss; William S. Yerazunis
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Communications, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL's research on on-orbit manufacturing was recently featured in an IEEE Spectrum article. The article, titled How Satellites Will 3D Print Their Own Antennas in Space gives an overview of MERL's efforts towards developing a system that construct spacecraft parts in their natural environment-- that is, in space. The technology, called OOM for On-Orbit Manufacturing, provides a way to manufacture not just antenna dishes, but general freeform sturctures on orbit and in a vacuum, using an solar-hardened resin based approach. This technology includes both a special high performance liquid resin, as well as a 3D freeform printer capable of building objects far larger than the as-launched satellite.

      An important aspect of the special resin is that all components have extremely low vapor pressures and do not boil away even in a vacuum. When exposed to solar ultraviolet, the resin hardens by polymerization crosslinking, forming a tough, rigid solid in a few seconds of exposure. No separate UV source is needed, making the entire process very energy efficient. Additionally, the crosslinking resin is heat resistant, and is unaffected to at least 400 degrees C. The 3D printer needed to print the resin is unlike common liquid-resin SLA printers- there is no vat of liquid resin, instead a shielded nozzle delivers the liquid resin directly to where the resin is needed. The result is the ability to construct large and very large structures, not just parabolic dishes, but also solar panel supports and structural trusswork, while in orbit. The system could even construct parts that were unanticipated during mission design and launch.

      MERL's On-Orbit Manufacturing Technology had previously been featured in a Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Press Release and was recently on display at a recent press exhibition in Tokyo, Japan.

      IEEE Spectrum is the flagship magazine and website of the IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and the applied sciences. IEEE Spectrum has a circulation of over 400,000 engineers worldwide, making it one of the leading science and engineering magazines.
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