Cyber-physical systems that create a seamless interaction between virtual and physical environments using AR (Augmented Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools are still in their infancy, but they have tremendous potential in multiple fields, including engineering.
Mahmoodreza Forootan is one of the few scientists in the field of mechanical engineering creating innovative solutions and techniques using AR and AI technology.
Mahmoodreza was a promising engineer student earning award after award and continually outperforming most of his peers. It was during his Ph.D. research that he first implemented AR technology into his work.
He explains: “… [I] focused on the development of a digital twin comprising both a physical three-axis milling machine and its virtual counterpart implemented in the Unity game engine.”
This approach allowed for the visualization of the manufacturing process, which in turn allowed users to observe the milling operations in real-time. Furthermore, he introduced a novel and innovative geometric approach for the calculation of forces in real-time, which enhanced the accuracy of force analysis.
Mahmoodreza also implemented a cutting-edge AI methodology to update the force system dynamically, which improved the precision and efficiency of the milling process.
On the significance of this innovative approach, Mahmoodreza explains:
The implications of this research extend beyond the confines of academia. The developed digital twin system holds great potential for integration into future manufacturing systems and milling machines, particularly when combined with augmented reality technology. By leveraging augmented reality, operators can seamlessly merge the virtual and physical realms, enhancing their understanding of the manufacturing process and enabling more precise control over milling operations.
After graduating, he had the opportunity to apply his Ph.D. research in his role as the lead Engineer at a prominent locomotive company.
It was there that he led a team to design, create, and test a BFC locomotive brake. Due to the project’s complexity, he had to overcome a unique set of challenges. The fabrication stages alone involved a wide range of manufacturing techniques, including milling, forming, welding, grinding, casting, and forging.
He overcame these challenges through careful planning, ensuring there was open communication between team members, implementing quality control and compliance measures, and a lot of problem solving.
During the testing phase, he worked on creating a comprehensive testing and validation process and designed a state-of-the-art test bench specifically for his project. On that note, he comments: “The fusion of my mechatronic background from my Ph.D. research with real-world applications proved instrumental in creating these test benches.”
One of the lessons he has learned throughout his engineering journey is on the importance of embracing challenges.
Mahmoodreza explains: “Challenges are inevitable in any pursuit, but they offer invaluable opportunities for growth.” He goes on to advise fellow engineers to: “Embrace them with a positive mindset, viewing them as stepping stones toward personal and professional development. Each challenge provides a chance to learn, adapt, and become stronger.”
For the future, he plans on becoming a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of a prominent company with a focus on mechatronics, automation, robotics, or electric vehicles (EVs).
Mahmoodreza Forootan is one of the few mechanical engineers focused on embracing and implementing AI and AR technologies in the field. His work has already had a positive impact in the field and will continue to revolutionize the way engineers work.