1980 1990 2000 2010
Emerging of PCs Information superhighway Healthcare and human-center robotics
[Background]     [1985-1995]    [1996 - 2005]    [2006 - 2010]     [2011- Present]

Actuators & Sensors

Machine Vision

Robotics & Automation

Thermal-fluid Systems

Magnetic Systems

Compliant Systems



In 1979 Dr. Lee conducted radiation research as an undergraduate assistant at the SUNY-Buffalo, where he modeled and simulated the nongray particulate radiation in an isothermal cylindrical medium. At MIT, he designed high-performance fluidic amplifiers and fluid signal transmission systems and investigated analytically and experimentally the effects of temperature changes on fluid power control systems for flight backup control applications. Dr. Lee began at Georgia Tech in 1985 as an Assistant Professor.

Research at Georgia Tech

Since 1985, Dr. Lee's interest in dexterous actuators and sensors for high-precision motion control systems and manufacturing automation has led to some of the first detailed studies on the creation, modeling and control of a three degrees-of-freedom (3-DOF) ball-joint-like variable-reluctance spherical motor (VRSM). His early work established the essential basis for modeling and control strategy of a multi-DOF direct motor and yet, it permits a spectrum of design configurations to be analyzed for motion control applications. He then conducted some basic research on machine vision to provide a means for developing noncontact direct sensing of roll, yaw, and pitch motion in a single joint. This effort led to the development of a flexible integrated vision system (FIVS) for real-time multi-DOF motion control systems which has found several unique manufacturing automation applications.

Rapid advances in computers and computing science/technology in the mid-1990s have provided engineers with indispensable tools to solve open problems associated with multi-physics modeling, real-time integration of simulation methods with measurement systems, model validation and verification, and visualization. At AIMRL, numerical simulation techniques have been widely employed to analyze and optimize designs where trial-and-error experimental approaches are costly or impractical.  Motivated by the needs for deriving practical, physical-based models that capture the essential characteristics of the dynamic systems where trial-and-error experimental approaches are costly or impractical, our second focus has been directed towards developing methods for modeling, design, analysis and control of multivariable distributed-parameter systems. Research findings have been successfully applied to the design of modern commercial draw towers for drawing optical fibers (which are essential the hardware backbones of the rapidly growing information superhighway) from large-diameter preforms at high-speed. Most recently, developments of meshless methods in a harmonic formulation have contributed to a better understanding for designs of MI sensors capable of detecting very weak micromagnetic fields. Another excellent example, where numerical dynamic simulations play an important role to reduce the number of live products and design configurations to be tested, is the applications of robotics, automation and mechatronics in poultry processing applications such as the automated transferring of broilers from conveyors to shackle at production speed; a research project requires pooling together expertise’s/resources from different disciplines (the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the GTRI at Georgia Tech, the Department of Poultry Science at the UGA, the Russell Agricultural Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the equipment industries).

Advances in internet technologies greatly felicitate collaboration and encourage researchers to pool together expertise’s/resources to solve common problems. In collaboration with colleagues in Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), Nanyang Technological University and Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (KIMM), his research team at Georgia Tech has recently developed several novel designs of cost-effective spherical motors for precision motion controlled systems and for micro-factory applications. More recently, several initiatives extending basic research on magnetics and flexonics to new applications have been developed with colleagues of the State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power and Mechatronics at Zhejiang University and the State Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacturing Equipment & Technology at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. These efforts have led to several novel methods for reconstructing magnetic fields from measured boundary conditions, and designs of bio-inspired water locomotion and robotic exoskeletons.

New Initiatives:

More recently, Dr. Lee develops several new initiatives taking advantages of his prior research findings on machine vision, micro-magnetics and flexible structure designs to address emerging scientific and engineering problems, which require pooling together interdisciplinary expertise and resources beyond a single unit.  Some of his research projects include (but not limited to):

  • Mechatronics for Structural Health Monitoring

  • Bio-Inspired Flying and Climbing Mobile Sensor Network for Structural Identification and Damage Detection

  • Mobility Skill Acquisition and Learning through Alternative and Multimodal Perception for Visually Impaired People

Professor Kok-Meng Lee
George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA 30332-0405
Tel: (404)894-7402. Fax: (404)894-9342. Email: