The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes Nicole Abaid, an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering, for studying swarming behavior in animals to gain insights that can be applied to machines.
Abaid was recently named as one of the Popular Science Brilliant Ten for 2014 for her study of how bats and other animals swarm. The research is intended to gain insights on improving the control of multi-agent systems, such as underwater robotic vehicle teams, that rely on sonar.
The ability of bats to fly in a swarm without the danger of collision is seen as key in building underwater vehicles and other robotics systems that can operate similarly.
Abaid is working on an algorithm of this behavior using echolocation for sensing which is being validated against data collected from wild bats swarms at the Shandong University-Virginia Tech International Laboratory, located in China.
The goal is to improve the control of multi-agent systems, such as underwater robotic vehicle teams that rely on sonar.
Among her previous honors and awards, Abaid received Best Student Paper award at the 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, worked for three years under a National Science Foundation GK-12 fellows program to apply mechatronics to promote science, and was a J. M. Rubin Foundation Scholar and a Whitaker Scholar.
Abaid earned a bachelor’s degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree from University of Kansas, both in mathematics, and a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University.